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Leader v Manager – Which one are you (or aspiring to be)?

on 5 July 2016


Posted by Kevin Senior
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Despite what you may think, leaders and managers are different beasts; they have distinctively different jobs, but equally important roles to play. The former makes sure the company succeeds by inspiring and well, leading, staff. The latter makes sure that the performance is kept at acceptable levels.

A company should ideally have both these roles, and preferably not by the same person. While there are some exceptional individuals that can fulfil the requirements, most executives fall in one category or the other.

The leader is the one who sees the need for an online collaboration tool, but it is the manager who implements it, customises it and gets the staff to use it.


When there is a person in the company who is the driving force for innovation, development and future thinking, he/she has the qualities of a leader.

It can be the entrepreneur with a great and far-reaching vision, the boss who inspires and leads workers instead of commanding them, or just someone who goes above and beyond what’s expected in their development of the company. The leader does not follow; he/she creates a new path instead of doing things the routine way.

Inspiration is a powerful thing when leading, without it you have a hard time getting people on board with your vision. Rewarding staff for their hard work, sharing the successes of the company in a tangible way (such as through bonuses or equity) is the mark of a leader.

While most staff are dealing with day-to-day matters, the leader is already looking several months or even years into the future. Seeing which route to take for the most success is not easy, and requires both great knowledge and intuition.


Where the leader does the right things, the manager does the things right. He or she is the one who makes sure goals are met, deadlines kept and resources optimised.

Administering the workplace, making sure there is enough staff and that everyone has what they need to be able to perform, is the function of the manager. Keeping an eye on the bottom line, managers are more present in the now, dealing with immediate problems instead of future ones.

Where the leader inspires staff, the manager develops them, moulding the workers into an efficient machine that can run without interference. Utilising the strength of each team, the manager gets the job done to reach the targets set by the company. And if there is need for additional skills the manager is sure to develop those skills in current staff, or integrate additional people to cover the gap.

Systems and processes are things the manager has to master, but not the leader, who maintains a broader, longer-term vision of what the company needs. For the manager, the how and when is more important than the why and what; why something is done is irrelevant, as long as it’s done in the best way. If the manager needs a new online collaboration tool, he/she brings the idea to the leader who evaluates if this is something that can be profitable in the long term.

Glasscubes is user-friendly collaboration software for teams. Connect everyone that you work with in an online workspace which improves the way you share files, manage projects and communicate with each other.

For more information, contact us by calling +44 (0)20 3274 2310 or email us at



About this author: Kevin Senior

Managing Director at Glasscubes. With over 30 years experience working with businesses of all sizes and industries, Kevin brings success to fast growing companies advising on best practices and growth lead technology solutions.