Need a perfect paper? Place your first order and save 5% with this code:   SAVE5NOW

Job Responsibilities of a Leader vs. Manager

Leadership and management are terms that most people often use interchangeably. Although both concepts are complementary, they are not the same. Indeed, there exists a significant difference between leading and managing. However, both play an integral role in the growth and productivity of a company. Recognizing the difference in these approaches to team management contributes significantly to enabling business organizations to take advantage of both styles while understanding the potential consequence. While leaders have followers and a group of people looking up to them, managers have people who perform the assigned tasks. A successful company requires strong and resilient leaders and managers to guide and inspire their teams toward attaining the firm’s vision. Leaders focus on helping employees understand, believe in their vision, and work to achieve the stipulated goals. Managers aim to administer tasks and ensure that a company’s daily operations run smoothly.

Definition for Leaders and Managers

A leader is someone who is driven by the right motivation to make a positive impact on the people around them. Hence, they focus on inspiring, managing, and supporting their teams to work creatively and confidently toward the stipulated organizational goals. Leaders empower their followers to embrace their unique leadership traits while motivating them to maintain lasting progress and zeal toward attaining their goals. These individuals can see how they can improve things and rally people toward a better vision. Leadership extends beyond motivation to other aspects, such as empathy and connecting with people to help them achieve success (Kock et al., 2018). Again, leaders work towards actualizing their vision while putting people first. Leaders take the initiative and invest great efforts in positively impacting the lives of those around them and accomplish the organization’s vision, influencing many people to start following them.

Managers are responsible for leading a team of workers to meet organizational goals and achieve performance metrics. Thus, management revolves around helping a team perform pre-planned tasks daily. Hence, these individual conducts a wide range of responsibilities such as scheduling, organizing, delegating, and monitoring. Managers portray leadership traits if they adequately perform various roles such as communication, inspiring, guiding, and motivating workers to improve their productivity and performance. Unfortunately, not every manager is a leader. Since this role focuses on attaining a company’s goals, they may only consider incorporating the leadership aspects if they are fulfilling the responsibilities outlined in their job description. The title also comes with authority to promote, reward, hire, or even fire workers depending on their performance and behavior.

Arguments For and Against Distinguishing Leaders from Managers

Arguments for differentiating these two roles rely on the notion that being endorsed into a role that involves supervising people does not automatically make them leaders. There exists a clear distinction between these two roles. Some differences are that leaders focus on creating a vision while managers create performance goals, meaning they are task-oriented (Azad et al., 2017). Leaders inspire and engage their followers to help turn their vision into a reality. Besides thinking beyond what ordinary people do, they activate their teams to be part of something bigger. Management entails setting, measuring, and attaining goals. Hence, managers strive to control situations to achieve or exceed these objectives. Besides, leaders serve as change agents while managers maintain the status quo. Leadership involves embracing change, understanding, and accepting that the phenomenon often creates waves. Managers work with what is present and focus on refining schemes and processes to better them. Overall, leaders help their followers improve personally and professionally and achieve their goals, but management primarily entails giving directions to help a team attain a given performance standard.

Some arguments against distinguishing leaders and managers are that both professionals focus on improving organizational outcomes. In other words, the two positions are pivotal in enhancing performance and productivity. Workers need managers to conduct daily operations, while leaders take on risks and build senior employees. Another view is that managers can assume leaders’ roles and vice versa, making their responsibilities similar. As a result, both may contribute significantly to unlocking the real potential of their subordinates and getting tasks done.

Comparing and Contrasting Leadership Traits

With change being a constant in the current corporate world, good leadership has evolved to integrate various traits that can help businesses adapt to the transformation. Specifically, the rise of technological advancement and remote working options, especially in the contemporary era, has played a crucial role in shaping the leadership style and the traits that leaders should have, altering their way of doing things globally. Just a few years ago, autocratic leadership was the norm. Remote working was an abstract idea, and leaders made critical decisions with little or no input from their employees. Some of the most effective leadership traits developed and evolved over the past few decades include empathy, flexibility, adaptability, and willingness to listen.

Empathy has evolved from being nice to have to an imperative trait for effective leadership. In other words, it has been a critical skill for leaders but is taking on a new level of meaning and priority recently. Empathetic leaders have become vital assets to organizations. Apart from effectively building and maintaining a relationship with the diverse workforce, they allow teams to thrive in turbulent times. Like empathy, flexibility has also become a vital skill that enables leaders to respond to volatile and erratic circumstances. Flexibility enables leaders to adapt to change by reviewing their plans to integrate innovations and conquer new challenges. Adaptability is also a requirement since the change has become constant and inevitable, creating a need for leaders to be flexible to succeed (Torre & Sarti, 2020). As mentioned earlier, an autocracy was one of the most common leadership styles a few decades ago. Hence, leaders did not value listening or considering the views or opinions of their subjects. However, things have changed over time, whereby collaboration has become essential for organizational success. The collaborative style has necessitated increased willingness to listen among leaders to empathize with their employees, show care, create a work environment of trust, and foster unity, motivation, and commitment.

The Influence of Level of Responsibility on Managerial or Leadership Activities and Behaviors

Depending on the size and nature of a company, business roles range from the executive position to the operational level. The phenomenon plays a central role in determining the behaviors and activities of each employee within an organization. For example, leaders who occupy executive positions perform supervisory and administrative tasks. The three common types of managers are top, middle, and low levels (Bäck et al., 2019). Their activities differ in their daily responsibilities, the broader functions of the organization, and the type of employees they manage. The administrative or the top level comprises the board of directors and the CEO. They are the ultimate source of power and authority’s source and fulfill various roles, including overseeing the goals and policies of an organization. In other words, they control the entire organization. The middle-level management executes these plans and policies, serving as intermediaries between the top and low-level managers. The entry or low-level managers direct tasks and ensure that employees perform the assigned duties. Hence, some of their primary activities include supervising, coordinating, and delegating tasks directly to the workers. They are also responsible for communicating with middle management.

Guideline for Leaders and Managers

The guideline that may help define job responsibilities and set performance goals for these professionals include character and integrity, creating a vision, and keeping everyone focused on achieving the vision. These individuals should also mentor new leaders, be accountable, avoid conflicts and disputes, plan, communicate effectively, and adapt. Indeed, leaders and managers should maintain good character and integrity (Choi et al., 2020). Their words should match their actions and strive to foster a safe environment for everyone in the organization. Besides, they should have a vision and ensure that they help others towards achieving it. Another measure of a leader’s performance goal is their ability to mentor new leaders. A vision will only be complete if more people can lead at every project level. Moreover, leaders and managers should be accountable, open to ideas, and honest. They should also avoid engaging in unhealthy fights and conflicts with their colleagues. Instead, leaders should have character and integrity to respect everyone in the organization. Other elements that help define the job responsibilities of leaders and managers include the ability to communicate effectively, planning, and adaptability. These roles entail interacting and directing workers, creating a need to articulate communications to enhance clarity and understanding of the message. Adaptability involves being flexible to change, including the willingness to integrate tools and technology in the execution of tasks.

Innate Nature of Leadership vs. Management

Some people believe that the innate nature of leadership is innate, implying that leaders are born, not made. The proponents of this viewpoint indicate that genetics contributes significantly to what a person becomes physically and in their personality when they grow up. Hence, genes and environmental factors influence one’s traits which are essential in determining leadership potential. According to the Great Man theory, leaders are born rather than made (Benmira & Agboola, 2021). A person’s leadership qualities rely on one’s personality traits, some inherited. This scenario implies that leadership is unique, but one can copy managing skills. While leaders are willing to be themselves by portraying their inherent traits and applying them in their role, managers mimic competencies and behaviors and may learn from others. Thus, leadership is considered innate since some people may have various innate traits that give them high leadership potential. On the other hand, one may become a better manager through training or mimicking others.


Overall, management entails a set of procedures that keep a company functioning. Leadership requires the ability to influence a team toward attaining organizational objectives. While managers focus on productivity, leaders are interested in their subjects, who perform tasks and processes that lead to productivity. Both roles are highly crucial for the success of any business organization. However, being a manager seems like a job, while leadership is a role. The reason is that leaders guide and inspire, intriguing a positive change. As a result, managers should consider incorporating leadership skills in their profession by putting the interest of their followers before measuring individual success. The practice will contribute significantly to helping employees and organizations grow, eventually enhancing overall outcomes.


Azad, N., Anderson, H. G., Brooks, A., Garza, O., O’Neil, C., Stutz, M. M., & Sobotka, J. L. (2017). Leadership and management are the same. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education81(6).

Benmira, S., & Agboola, M. (2021). Evolution of leadership theory. BMJ Leader.

Bäck, A., Schwarz, U. V., Hasson, H., & Richter, A. (2019). Aligning perspectives? —Comparison of top and middle-level managers’ views on how the organization influences the implementation of evidence-based practice. The British Journal of Social Work50(4), 1126-1145.

Choi, Y., Yoon, D., & Kim, D. (2020). Leader behavioral integrity and employee in-role performance: The roles of coworker support and job autonomy. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health17(12), 4303.

Kock, N., Mayfield, M., Mayfield, J., Sexton, S., & De La Garza, L. M. (2018). Empathetic leadership: How leader emotional support and understanding influences follower performance. Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies26(2), 217–236.

Torre, T., & Sarti, D. (2020). The “Way” toward E-leadership: Some evidence from the Field. Frontiers in Psychology11.


Don't have time to write this essay on your own?
Use our essay writing service and save your time. We guarantee high quality, on-time delivery and 100% confidentiality. All our papers are written from scratch according to your instructions and are plagiarism free.
Place an order

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below:

Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Need a plagiarism free essay written by an educator?
Order it today

Popular Essay Topics