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  • Writer's pictureSusan & Renée

Are you a Manager or a Leader?

Updated: Sep 6, 2023

Do you know the difference between a manager and a leader?


Read the following descriptions of two employees and see if you can identify which one is the manager and which one is the leader.

Sally is the Director of Company Operations for AwesomeisUs business. She is in charge of helping the company reach its goals and achieves this in a number of ways. She is very clear on her job duties and prides herself on being an expert in all the positions in her department. She is highly organized and continually monitors her department’s metrics to see if they are hitting their goals. She has clear expectations for her subordinates and keeps close tabs on their performance to ensure that the department’s standards are being met. Employees recognize her authority and understand that she may promote or demote them according to their performance. When there are issues that require attention, she produces a detailed solution that she then instructs her staff to implement. She is skilled at figuring out how to accomplish a goal and making plans to achieve that goal. She always excels on her yearly evaluation and all agree that she is a key component to AwesomeisUs’s success. Thanks to her, the company runs smoothly and delivers high quality products to its customers.

Do you think Sally is a manager or a leader? Hold that thought…

How about this one?

Tanya is the Director of Company Operations for WeCanDoIt business. She is in charge of helping the company reach its goals and achieves this in a number of ways. She is very clear on her role in the company and takes it seriously. She hires people who are experts in the skills she needs them to perform. She regularly shares her vision for the department with her team and collaborates with them to set and achieve their goals. She is highly organized and continually monitors her department’s metrics to see if they are hitting their goals. She regularly checks in with her employees to be sure they have the support they need to be successful but she does not hover and allows them to be creative in how they approach their work. Many of the company’s employees, even those outside of her department, come to her for advice and guidance. When an issue arises, she takes time to understand why it happened and uses this information to improve operations. Often this involves collaborating with other department heads. WeCanDoIt employees admire and respect Tanya. They know that she truly cares about them as people and not just as workers. When faced with a challenge or the need to stay late, Tanya’s team members rise to the challenge and strive to perform in a way that will make her proud. Tanya is often heard giving credit for the department’s successes to her subordinates. All agree that Tanya is a key component of WeCanDoIt’s success. Thanks to her, the company runs smoothly, delivers high quality products to its customers, and consists of motivated and dedicated employees.

Do you think Tanya is a manager or a leader?

Tune in next week when we will answer this question and explain why this even matters. In the meantime, consider the following questions:

What are some of the concrete differences you notice between Sally and Tanya?

What are some of the differences that you feel between the way Sally and Tanya approach their work?

Whose style most resembles the way you work?


Who would you prefer to work for?


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