Tough Interview Questions: To You, What’s The Difference Between a Manager and a Leader? |

Listen to the full episode here:

EP 893 I offer the standard answer as well as the advanced answer to the question.

Read Full Transcript

So today's question is "To you, what's the difference between a leader and a manager?"

So, you know I did a Google search just to get their definition. They even have this boxed apart from the search results. The main difference between leaders and managers is that leaders have people follow them while managers have people who work for them. Then, they talk about a business owner in that they need to be a leader and a manager.

Now I am going to take that a little bit further and talk in terms of hello a manager it is someone who controls activities that requires people to conform to certain behaviors. A leader is someone who inspires individuals to follow them so that a leader is someone who may set the vision. The manager is going to be the individual who's staring at every bit of minutae that they do. . . That's really a micromanager.

They're are going to be watching their activities to make sure there's conformity. The leader may say, "You know, this is the result I want to get to. This is where I want to go. This is where we, as an organization, need to get to," and then draw out from people how they think the group can get there or how they think the organization can there. And by doing this, inspire faith, fidelity, belief that this is a person that can be trusted because they are motivated to help.

So, again, to me the leadership quality, yes, involves following but there's a way to follow. It's not by dictating (although, at certain points, you may have to manage). But, the leadership quality involves a desire to follow this person because you trust them and believe in them. When you're asked this or in interview, generally, this is asked of managerial or executive candidates, not the staff individuals.

And you know they're looking for examples of leadership here. They may also want to see that she could manage the process too. But here you need to be prepared with leadership examples that tell your story, that affirm how people joined with you. and went to hell and beyond to get to them.

So I hope you follow this advice. Emphasize leadership skills though don't neglect the the management part because at the end of the day, organizations may like to hire visionaries and I will use Steve Jobs as an example. The man was and incredible visionary. He also, at the end of the day, delivered on what the vision was. It involved managing process.

So, again, I think in terms of both. Don't neglect one for the other; then you'll tend to lose.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1200 episodes, “Job Search Radio,” “and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice” and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

Are you interested in 1:1 coaching, interview coaching, advice about networking more effectively, how to negotiate your offer or leadership coaching? Connect with me on LinkedIn. Then message me to schedule an initial complimentary session.

If you have questions for me, call me through the Magnifi app for iOS (video) or (phone) offers great advice for job hunters—videos, my books and guides to job hunting, podcasts, articles, PLUS a community for you to ask questions of PLUS the ability to ask me questions where I function as your ally with no conflict of interest answering your questions.  

Connect with me on LinkedIn. Like me on Facebook.

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Join and attend my classes on Skillshare. Become a premium member and get 2 months free.

You can order a copy of “Diagnosing Your Job Search Problems” for Kindle on Amazon and receive free Kindle versions of “No BS Resume Advice” and “Interview Preparation.” If you are starting your search, order, “Get Ready for the Job Jungle.”

Don’t forget to give the show 5 stars and a good review in iTunes

If you want to know how to win more interviews, order “Winning Interviews.” You’ll learn how to win phone interviews, in-person interviews, the best question to ask on any interview and more.

Would you like to talk through a salary negotiation or potential negotiation you’re involved with? Order and schedule time with me.

Do you have questions or would like advice about networking or any aspect of your search. Order and schedule time with me.

Would you like me to critique your resume. Order a critique from me

For more about LinkedIn, order “Stacked: Double Your Job Interviews, Leverage Recruiters and Unlock LinkedIn.”

Jeff’s Kindle book, “You Can Fix Stupid: No BS Hiring Advice,” is available on Amazon.


About the author

Leave a Comment, Thought, Opinion. Speak like you're speaking with someone you love.

%d bloggers like this: