The Leader Distinctive

Are you an influencer?

Are you a manager?

Or are you a leader?

Leadership has become a very muddied word.  We interchange leader for a lot of different things and the confusion I see most commonly is between these three words:

Influencer, Manager & Leader.

We tend to use them interchangeably, but I don’t believe they are completely interchangeable.  Follow this train of thought…

A manager can be a leader.

An influencer can be a leader.

But a manager is not always a leader.

And an influencer is not always a leader.

Influencers are encouragers.   They make people feel inspired.  Influencers are usually popular and well-liked.

Managers keep people on task.  They make the tough decisions.  Managers are rarely popular or well-liked.

Both influencers and managers lead people to action for different reasons.

If you are just one or the other, you are not a leader.  A leader understands the combination of both and has the discernment to know when he needs to lean to one side or the other.  A leader is comfortable not always being popular but a leader also knows he won’t move people for long if he’s always making unpopular decisions.  True leaders lead because they know it is what is best for everyone even if everyone doesn’t like it all the time.  That’s the leadership distinctive.

Ok, share with us what you think…

You may also like


  • Michelle Sarabia January 11, 2012  

    Love this Jenni.  I think as society uses the word “leader” more and more that the word will become a lost attribute in people.  We need influencers, we need leaders and we need not just managers but world changers.

    • Anonymous January 11, 2012  

      Agreed Michelle!

    • turner_bethany January 12, 2012  

      Completely agree. Leader is quite the Buzz word right now.

    • Adam Ranck January 23, 2012  

      Very good point.

  • Aaron January 11, 2012  

    This is great & well-timed perspective for me personally. Thank you so much!

    • Anonymous January 11, 2012  

      Thanks Aaron!

  • Butterfliesworkshop January 11, 2012  

    This is good. Thank u!

    • Anonymous January 11, 2012  

      Thanks for reading!

  • turner_bethany January 12, 2012  

    This is a huge discussion in most communication classes. Most people think just because someone is in a management position means they are a leader. But you are correct. There can be such a difference between management and leadership. 

  • Laura Hartman January 12, 2012  

    Some influencers and leaders are born, but can they be developed? 

  • Pingback: End of the Week Links | January 13, 2012  
  • Adam Hann January 19, 2012  

    This is great stuff to think about. Thanks for sharing this.

  • Beleighve February 6, 2012  

    Interesting thoughts. I think influence is much more powerful than we realize if we know how to harness it. I just recently blogged about influence. I think that if more influencers were aware of their impact, they might turn into great leaders.