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Manager vs. Leader


Hello current and future Leaders,


Or should I have said “Hello Manager”? As a former boss once said: “Everyone can be a Leader, leadership is not dependent on whether or not you have people reporting to you directly.”, and in the agile new work world we see great talented people assuming leadership roles without a particular organizational construct giving them formal permission to do so.


Now – what’s the difference? Which one am I? And: Can’t I be both?


Lots of questions, and here is my perspective:


To answer the easy question first: Can’t I be both? Absolutely, you can and you may be already – read on …


What’s the difference? Here’s an overview, albeit incomplete, pointing out some of the main factors distinguishing managers from leaders.



To answer the question “Which one am I?” – start by going through the list above and you are likely to find out that you may well be a mix of both or that you strongly lean towards one side or the other. In my trainings, participants regularly discover this about themselves.


John Kotter, Author and Harvard Business School professor, proposes that whilst the skillsets are different, in an executive role, leadership skills are at the forefront and management skills take more and more of a backseat.


Above I mentioned the agile new working world. The agile manifesto as one of its 12 principles states that “The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organising teams.” As more and more companies – and not just in software development – promote self-organizing teams in some form or another, many of the “managing” skills are being carried out by the teams themselves and managers are forced to assume more of a leader-manager role.


Wouldn’t you agree that it is more fun to inspire others than to control others?



Find my “Management Gold – Nuggets” useful? Then let me know and share with others.


If you find this inspiring and you would like to explore further, I am delighted to meet with you for a 30-minute-free-of-charge-info-session.