There is a Difference Between a Leader vs Manager

Leader vs Manager! So what’s the difference? Is there a difference? After nearly forty years in a leadership and management role I feel confident that I can answer this age old question.

A simplistic way to answer the question is to say that you lead people and manage resources. Understand that sometimes people are resources and must be managed. On the other side of that same coin people need a reason to move in a direction and that is where leadership comes into play.

How we get the people to move in a direction more clearly defines a whether someone is a leader vs a manager.

Human nature plays a significant role in leadership. Most people get up and go to work every day not because they love their jobs but because they want what their jobs provide for them. What does their job provide? Of course, the basic elements to survive; food and shelter! If you remove the benefit that the job provides the person will not get up and go to work. Now of course this is a very basic way to look at it but the truth is we are all motivated to do what we do. Sometimes that motivating factor is obvious and other times not so much!

As another dramatic example see if you can figure out which person fills what role of leader vs manager.

A group of men are going on a hunting trip to Alaska and have contracted a private small airline to fly them to their remote location. As the men arrived at the airport they were directed to a hangar away from the main terminal. On their way over to the hangar they noticed a huge worn sign that read “Sky Diving Lessons!” Several of them commented and laughed stating “who in their right mind would ever jump out of a perfectly good airplane!”

Once they made their way over to the flight hangar they were quickly checked in and loaded onto the plane. They quickly took their seats, got strapped in and within no time the plane was in the air. After they reached cruise altitude several of them drifted off to sleep. Others got caught up in long interesting conversations.

About three hours into the flight the pilot came out of the cabin and instructed the flight crew to prepare the passengers to put on their parachutes. This created an immediate concern within the airplane. In fact one of the passengers screamed out I am not putting on a parachute and I sure am not jumping out of this plane. The pilot calming told the passenger that it was certainly their choice to not do as instructed but the plane was going to crash. It would be in their best interest to put on the parachute and listen to the instructions of the flight crew on how to work it. After hearing this, the passenger immediately asked the flight crew member where the damn parachutes are!

At that point the flight crew pasted out the parachutes and began giving instructions on how to put them on and operate them. Every passenger was listening extremely closely to every word coming from the mouth of the flight crew. One by one the flight crew checked the passenger’s parachutes and in an organized way instructed each to jump from the plane.

Based on this story who was the leader vs manager?

The pilot created the motivation (leader) for the passengers to listen to the flight crew (managers). protection!

Thank you and may God bless you!

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