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Leader VS. Manager – What’s The Difference?

Written by: Rikka Brandon
Published on: Dec 4, 2017

Manager or Leader picture

Leader VS. Manager – What’s The Difference?

You could probably find a good, heavily researched answer on Wikipedia. But, you're on “Rikkapedia” so, I’m going to give you the Rikka answer.

Leader VS. Manager – What's The Difference?


For me, the difference is that a manager believes deeply that people do what you inspect, not what you expect.  A leader, on the other hand, expects people to do what they’re expecting them to do.

And that is the fundamental difference.


Managers are great at the following: Setting goals, setting tasks, holding people to expectations, holding people to task goals, and doing all the ongoing day-to-day supervision of that person and monitoring their performance in their job.

Leaders inspire people to follow them.  Leaders are outstanding at setting their goals and sharing their vision for people to follow.

Truly successful people are able to blend both together to inspire results and hold people accountable.  So, most people are a bit of both, but chances are good you see more of yourself in one of the other.

But if you’re looking for a distinction, that’s how I distinguish them.  How about you?  How do you determine if someone is a manager or a leader?

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Rikka Brandon is the author of the best-selling book Hire Power: Everything Entrepreneurs Need To Know To Hire Awesome People. She’s the creator of the Hire Power Program, an online program designed to help small businesses build a rock-solid recruiting strategy and stop settling when they hire. She’s the Founder of and  Building Gurus. Rikka is the go-to girl for growth-minded entrepreneurs and forward-thinking business leaders and is considered as the USA’s Top Hiring Expert for Small Businesses.