Are you a Manager or a Leader?

What would your team say – are you a Manager or a Leader?

What’s the difference between management and leadership?
How would you say they differ in terms of:

  • Power
  • Focus
  • Risk profile?

This is an age-old question, and one that I have been asked many times, and one that I believe can be answered in several different ways. The main difference between a manager and a leader is how they motivate the people around them.

Do you have to be one or the other? Most of us fulfill both roles, moving from manager to leader when we realize we have to win the hearts and minds of those we want to follow us.


  • Managers have subordinates As a line manager you command a certain amount of respect from those who report to you, and you tell them what to do. They do what they are instructed (usually!), because they receive their salary for doing so.
  • Manager’s focus As a manager you get paid to make things happen, usually to budget and to deadlines. The actual tasks are usually delegated.
  • Managers and risk As a manager you are expected to follow the company’s policies and procedures, without making any substantial changes. Generally this is comfortable for you, as it gives a structure to your role.
  • Leaders have followers When you are a leader you don’t have direct reports (although you may still have them in your management role). When you want to lead, you are seeking followers, who follow you because they choose to, not because they are paid to.
  • Leader’s focus Telling people what to do does not inspire them to follow you. You need to find out what drives them and show how following you will satisfy their needs. This could be a need for recognition, status, reward, a feeling of ‘giving back’ – as leader you need to know what it is. As a leader you always give credit where it’s due, and avoid blaming others when things go wrong.As a leader you will certainly demonstrate charisma, but this doesn’t mean you have to be friends with everyone, or even be liked by them. Some of the most effective leaders are often seen as ‘loners’.
  • Leaders and risk As a leader you expect to face issues and problems, which need to be overcome. You are happy to take measured risks, and follow ‘the path less trodden’, to achieve your vision. People admire your courage – it’s important this is not seen by others as ‘bravado’.

In facilities management, a manager:

  • Understands the contract requirements and business plan
  • Is confident, a good listener, asks questions, is innovative
  • Makes decisions according to the rules
  • Customer- and service-focused – gets results by managing tasks
  • Meets deadlines, and is focused on short-term results
  • Is generally reactive
  • Ensures staff understand their responsibilities
  • Provides clear guidance to staff – tells them what to do
  • Communicates effectively with teams
  • Provides regular constructive feedback
  • Encourages staff to improve their performance
  • Addresses performance issues
  • Encourages staff to offer ideas to improve performance

In facilities management, a leader:

  • Is consistent in their own style, yet welcomes change and challenges the status quo
  • Comes up with new, often radical, ideas
  • Breaks the rules
  • Generate new ideas and build a vision
  • Focuses on long terms results
  • Exploits their own strengths, and those of others
  • Is aware of their own, and others’ weaknesses
  • Pushes people to do and be the best they can
  • Speaks in positive terms

So, where do you stand? For a no obligation 30 minute telephone session to identify your leadership strengths and how you can be even more effective, contact Liz Kentish, The FM Coach on Tel: 01778 561326 / 07717 870777 or email:

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