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Manager vs. Leader: Which are you?

Whats The Difference Between Managers And Leaders

It’s no secret that the workplace is changing. With Gen Y poised to make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2025, we’re seeing open office floor plans, flexible schedules, and open-ended vacation policies. Yes, the structure of the 9 to 5 has indeed evolved. What does this mean for the traditional workplace hierarchy? Well, that is changing too. As the traditional management hierarchy is dissolving, businesses are moving to more collaborative work cultures. Still, bosses that adopt a leadership role fair better with their employees.

According to Harvard Business Review, the number one reason employees quit their jobs is because of a poor quality relationship with their direct manager. This indicates that employees are looking for a meaningful relationship from their supervisors. This requires employers to adopt a more hands-on approach with their employees. Thus begs the question, what is the difference between a manager and a leader?


  •      Build and maintain processes
  •      Have a linear scope
  •      Maintain the status quo
  •      Concentrate on the systems and structure
  •      Execute tactical plans for their team to conform to


  •      Build and maintain relationships
  •      Have a nonlinear approach
  •      Challenge the status quo
  •      Concentrate on their people and collaborative efforts
  •      Create a vision and inspire their people to rally behind it

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Managers have people that work for them, while leaders have people that follow them. The major difference is motivation. An engaged and inspired employee will go to the ends of the earth for their employers while others will do the bare minimum. “What workers truly want is an intrinsic connection to their work and their company. That’s what drives performance, inspires discretionary effort, and improves wellbeing,” according to Gallup. Driving this new level of engagement calls for management to rethink their leadership styles.

The game is changing, and leaders succeed because of their ability to motivate. They understand that people are not universal and are not classifiable. The progression of the workplace is calling for a collaborative work environment and more authentic, effective leadership styles. So, be transparent with your vision of where the organization is going and how your people fit into the equation. This will help your employees become engaged as they feel that their employer cares about them.


Learn more about the impact of leadership on company cultures. Download our culture report.

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