December 6, 2023

7 Essential Skills: Leaders vs. Managers

The words “strategy” and “tactics” tend to conjure up thoughts of warfare, sports, or perhaps even visions of an intense game of chess during Queen’s Gambit. All these things have a common goal of winning or defeating the opponent. The terms were developed by Sun Tzu in art of war, hence the thoughts of warfare. They are now used in many different situations, including leadership and management. There is a lot of information out there about what makes a good strategic leader and what makes a good tactical leader. Both are essential for a successful organization.

When it comes to driving styles, what are the differences? Is it better to be a strategic leader or a tactical leader? Is the tactical leader a leader or a manager? The truth is that one cannot exist without the other; there is justice in both. Finding the zone that maximizes the potential of both is key to a successful organization, and every organization needs both strategic and tactical leaders and managers. But these management skills do not come naturally, they come with a lot of practice integrated with management training. Before we get into training, let’s look at strategy and tactics and how they play a role in leadership and management.

Strategic leadership vs. Tactical leadership (management)

Strategic leaders focus on long-term goals. Their work is determined by the big picture and how they can stay on track to achieve those long-term goals. They look at the skills employees will need in the future, analyze the competition and see how what they do today will affect the future. A good strategic leader has a vision and a mission. They know where they want to go and what they need to do to get there. When you look at the big picture of a leader in general, there are some traits that stand out.

  • Passionate
    Great leaders not only have a clear goal, but they can also inspire and motivate others to achieve that goal.
  • Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
    Great leaders have the ability to manage and understand their own emotions, setting the tone for the organization. By mastering EQ, they can also improve their abilities in other leadership qualities.
  • Empathic
    A strong EQ also enables great leaders to empathize with others and understand their needs, emotions and thoughts.
  • Strong communicator
    They excel at active listening and can effectively convey their message in a way that is understood as intended, whether it is challenging or positive communication.
  • Open and creative
    Great leaders realize that there are multiple paths to achieving their goal and that their approach may not always be the best. They are receptive to the opinions and ideas of others, validating and integrating them to improve the organization and support the growth of their employees and team.

Tactical leaders or managers look at daily goals rather than the big picture. They focus more on the short-term, day-to-day activities that get the job done: project management, providing feedback and coaching, and organizing and leading meetings. They use a list and check things off. A good tactical manager can make sure things are done right to get the job done. There are also traits that stand out when looking at successful managers, some of which are similar.

  • Cooperation
    Effective managers work closely with their team members to ensure everyone is performing at their best. They should be able to identify and solve problems as they arise, while setting the tone for their team.
  • Effective communicator
    Managers must bridge the gap between employees and senior management, which requires strong communication skills to work with their team. They should prioritize the development of effective communication skills.
  • Reliable
    Managers must be trustworthy and approachable to their employees and team and ensure they can be relied on for guidance and support.
  • Strategic management
    Managers need to have a comprehensive understanding of their organization’s goals and values ​​in order to create the right culture and work environment for their team.

What is the difference between leaders and managers?

You may notice similarities between leaders and managers; there are also some significant differences. While a manager can be a great leader and a leader can be a great manager, not all managers are great leaders and vice versa. Let’s look at some of the differences that set them apart:


  • It has a clear mission and vision
  • They try to differentiate with innovation
  • Willingness to take calculated risks
  • Motivates and inspires others
  • Seen as a personality trait rather than just a job title
  • Results may not always be quantifiable or tangible


  • Breaks down the vision into achievable goals
  • Follows or emulates established best practices
  • Lower risk tolerance
  • He joins teams daily
  • The position is seen as a job title rather than a personality trait
  • The impact is easily quantifiable

Development of rising stars and new managers

you saw Ted Lasso? In case you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t experienced healthy likability yet Ted Lasso, here’s a quick overview. The premise of the show is that Ted Lasso is a college football coach who has been brought to England to coach the football team. He knows nothing about football, so he takes his friend, Coach Beard, along for the ride. The hilarity ensues. But this is not a review Ted Lasso, so let’s get back to the importance of managers and leaders. Ted knows nothing about football. He is not able to make many tactical decisions that affect the team, but he has an overall vision and knows where he wants to go. Ted needs a great manager to help him realize his vision. Before we look more at Ted, let’s look at some data to see why he wants someone with training. These statistics, taken from Lorman, show why manager training is essential to employee development programs:

  • 59% of managers who supervise 1-2 employees report having no training at all; 41% of managers who supervise 3-5 employees say the same.
  • Almost 50% of managers with more than 10 years of experience claim to have completed only 9 hours of training in total.
  • 43% of managers who have been in their role for less than a year said they had no training.

Back to Ted and his story in England. In his new role, Ted will have to rely on his tactical manager for many day-to-day operations. He can give up some of his traditional day-to-day tasks and focus on the big picture. He has a long-term strategy that involves working with the team to make individuals better, not necessarily always playing football, but as people. It helps develop relationships between the group and creates an overall team mentality. As a result, he builds a team that can win and compete at the highest level. His vision of the future allows him to see where he wants to go and where he wants his organization to go. He can also start developing a plan to get there. Ted is the strategic leader, the head coach. (Ironically, a coach in England is called a manager). What skills does he look for when choosing his assistant (manager)? According to Symonds Research, the following seven skills are essential for successful business. Training in these areas is worth providing to ensure that the organization’s managers have the right skills.

7 basic skills and types of training topics for managers and supervisors

  • Effective communication
    The ability to communicate clearly and concisely is essential to successful leadership and management.
  • Virtual and digital governance
    With multiple teams working remotely, great leaders must excel in virtual and digital workforce management.
  • Conflict solving
    Leaders must be skilled in handling difficult people and conflict resolution in order to maintain a positive and productive work environment.
  • Delegation
    Effective task delegation is critical to achieving goals and managing team resources.
  • Employee well-being
    Managers should prioritize the well-being and health of their employees, both physically and mentally.
  • Diversity and Inclusion
    Leaders must ensure that diversity and inclusion are central to their people management practices to create a welcoming and inclusive work environment.
  • Effective presentation
    The ability to deliver engaging and impactful presentations is essential for effective communication and leadership.

Ted found someone who mastered these skills: Coach Beard. Coach Beard is knowledgeable about football. He knows about formations and formations. He knows the tactical decisions that need to be made for each game and can serve as an advisor to Ted, so when they combine strategic leadership and tactical management, he hits the best. Beard checks off items on a list, can manage a team, deal with difficult people, present information to the team, and delegate tasks. Ted has a strategy that provides Beard with a list. They wouldn’t be successful on their own, but it’s the ability to use both of their management strengths that makes things work. Tactical and strategic. Leadership and management.

A great tactical manager is essential to any organization, just as Coach Beard is essential to the success of Ted Laso and his team. Coach Beard’s history isn’t talked about much; it can be assumed that he devoted a lot of time to learning football. He most likely participated in a training program that fit seamlessly into his day and prepared him for his role, working with Ted and helping to manage the team. Mastered the seven basic skills listed above. It can also be assumed that this training program was excellent: Beard demonstrated that he retained the knowledge he learned during the training and that it was valuable to both him and the organization when he put the training into practice. He begins to achieve his career goals while serving the organization and contributing to its success and ability to achieve its organizational goals. An excellent leader and an excellent manager work together.

Great management leads to employee engagement, or in the case of Ted and Coach Beard, player engagement. Employee engagement leads to profitability or wins. Manager performance accounts for at least 70% of the employee engagement score. The cost of investing in your managers and their growth will pay off as their employees grow and become more engaged. Just look at the data below from companies with highly engaged employees. This data was collected from an article by Brian Rollo on LinkedIn. Companies with highly engaged employees realize:

  • 41% reduction in absenteeism
  • 17% increase in productivity
  • 28% reduction in collisions (dollar amount of unaccounted for lost goods)
  • 40% reduction in quality defects
  • 70% reduction in employee safety incidents
  • 10% increase in customer metrics
  • 20% increase in sales.
  • 21% higher profitability

Further reading:

Ebook Publishing: Unpackaged Training and Technology

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