Are You Really A Leader – Or Merely A Manager?

by Jonathan Farrington

“There is a difference between leadership and management. Leadership is of the spirit; management is of the mind. Managers are necessary, but leaders are essential. We must find managers who are not only skilled organizers, but inspired and inspiring leaders.”

– Field Marshall Slim
You can buy someone’s physical presence, but you cannot buy loyalty, enthusiasm, or devotion. These you must earn. Successful organizations have leaders who focus on the future rather than cling to the past. Leaders bring out the best in people. They spend time developing people into leaders. Here are the qualities of a leader:


  • Leaders have a clear vision of what they are working towards. They don’t keep their vision a secret—they communicate it to their people.
  • Leaders are consistent. They keep their principles and values at all times.
  • Leaders can and will do what they expect of others. They are prepared to walk the talk.
  • Leaders are not threatened by competence. They enjoy promoting people and are quick to give credit to those who have earned it.
  • Leaders enjoy developing their people into leaders, not followers. They train people to take on more challenging tasks and responsibilities. They develop people’s confidence.
  • Leaders don’t betray trust. They can treat confidential information professionally.
  • Leaders are concerned about getting things done. They don’t get embroiled in political infighting, gossip, and backstabbing. They encourage those around them to do likewise.
  • Leaders confront issues as they arise. They do not procrastinate. If something needs fixing, they do it right away, even if it is uncomfortable. The longer things are left, the more difficult they become.
  • Leaders let people know how they are doing. They reward and recognize performance that is above expectations and they help people identify ways of improving poor performance.
  • Leaders are flexible. They welcome change. They do not stick to an old position simply because it is more comfortable.
  • Leaders are adaptable. They see change as an opportunity rather than a threat.
  • Leaders are human. They make mistakes. When they do so, they readily admit it.
  • Leaders reflect on and learn from their mistakes. They see errors as a chance to improve their skills.
  • Leaders enjoy a challenge. They are prepared to take risks and encourage others to do likewise. If they fail, they treat the exercise as a learning experience.
  • Leaders focus on the future, not the past. They anticipate trends and prepare for them. They develop a vision for their team and communicate it to them.
  • Leaders are open to new ideas. They demonstrate their receptiveness by supporting change.
  • Leaders treat staff as individuals. They give closer attention to those that need it and lots of space to those that deserve it.
  • Leaders encourage and reward co-operation within and between teams.

Team Leadership:

  • Leaders develop guidelines with their team. They constantly enlarge the guidelines as the team becomes willing to accept more responsibility.
  • Leaders change their role according to the demands of the team. For example, they become more of a coach or a facilitator.
  • Leaders listen to their team members.
  • Leaders involve people in finding new ways to achieve agreed-upon goals.
  • Leaders create the opportunity for group participation and recognize that only team members can make the choice to participate.

Without managers, the visions of leaders remain dreams. Leaders need managers to convert visions into realities. For continuous success, organizations need both managers and leaders; however, as most seem to be over-managed and under-led, they need to find ways of having both at the same time. Perhaps the best way to handle this paradox is for managers to aim to be managers when viewed from above, leaders when viewed from below, and to remember that the need for leadership grows as we move up the organization. This is only one of the challenges that can make working life fun.

In summary:

Characteristics of Management:

Not Emotional



Expects Less

Trusts Difficult


Knows the Answers

Tells How


Has Subordinates

Sees Details

Systems Centered

How and Why



Stands Apart


Characteristics of Leadership:

Passionate Visionary



Encourages More

Trusts Easy


Open to Suggestions

Shares Why

Points theWay

Has Followers

Seees Overall View


What and Why



Seeks Company


Managers – Doing the Job Right:

Good Soldier

Eyes on Bottom Line

Aims for Security


Accepts the Status Quo

Leaders – Doing the Job Right:

Own Person

Eyes on Horizon

Enjoys Change


Challenges the Status Quo

The moral right of the author, Jonathan Farrington, has been asserted. All rights reserved. This publication or any part thereof may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical including photocopying, recording, storage in an information retrieval system, or otherwise, unless this notification of copyright is retained.
About the author: Jonathan Farrington is a business coach, mentor, author, and consultant who has helped hundreds of companies and thousands of individuals around the world achieve their full potential and consequently, optimum performance levels in his capacity as Managing Partner of The jfa Group Jonathan formed jfa in 1995, with the primary objective to deliver unique leadership and sales team development programs to both the corporate and SME sectors. Since then, he has authored in excess of three hundred skills development programs, designed a range of unique and innovative process tools, and written extensively on organizational and sales team development.
Article Source:


Amtec Bitz Newsletters

Essential industry highlights & expert insights every month.

Latest Posts

View all posts