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  • Writer's pictureMel Katzenmeyer

The Leadership Series - Ep. 01 The difference between a leader and a manager

Updated: Jun 24

Are you a manager or a leader? Is there a difference? This important distinction is something that comes up regularly on episodes of the Frontline Industry Podcast and we explore the difference in this short clip.

More than semantics

Many use the terms "leader" and "manager" interchangeably, but they represent fundamentally different roles and skill sets.

Leadership moves people to a vision

  • Focuses on inspiring and motivating teams

  • Provides a clear vision of what's possible

  • Generates enthusiasm and buy-in for organizational goals

Management ensures day to day execution

  • Concentrates on tactical execution

  • Ensures tasks are completed efficiently

  • Oversees operational details like schedules and procedures

A good manager doesn't equal a good leader

Often times people in organizations get elevated and promoted because they know how to do the job and do it well but that doesn't always translate into leadership. A good manager knows how to teach associates the task but may fall short when in motivating them to do the task.

Management skills are important, true leadership requires a different set of abilities focused on people and vision.

Why this matters for you

The distinction matters and has far reaching implications.

  1. True leadership drives and improves employee engagement

  2. Effective leaders create buy-in that ultimately reduces employee turnover

  3. Better leaders often correlates with better business results

  4. Inspired teams working together generally provide excellent customer service.

It's time to invest in leadership development

Organizations must invest in developing leadership skills among their manager if they want to keep the top talent. This goes beyond basic managerial training to include:

  • Vision-setting

  • Communication

  • Emotional intelligence and people skills

  • Change management abilities

  • Strategic thinking

According to a recent Gallup study, companies with high-quality leadership development programs are 2.4 times more likely to hit their performance targets and 3.6 times more likely to build a strong leadership bench. Investing in leadership isn't just about improving current performance—it's about your organization's future success.

Developing leaders is an ongoing process. It requires consistent effort, resources, and a commitment to personal growth at all levels of your organization. The bottom line, "It starts and ends with the leader." By recognizing the unique value of leadership and fostering these skills within your organization, you set the stage for enhanced performance, satisfied employees, and long-term success.


The Frontline Industry Podcast is a show for leaders and aspiring leaders. Our aim is to bridge the gap between leadership theory and real-world application, equipping leaders at every level. We believe leadership isn't just about concepts, but about real people facing real challenges.

In each episode, we explore different aspects of leadership, bringing you insights and stories from across industries. Our guests share practical, actionable strategies that turn theory into practice. Whether you're a seasoned executive or a first-time manager, you'll find valuable takeaways to lead effectively in your organization.

Join us as we provide the tools and knowledge needed to excel in frontline leadership, one conversation at a time.

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