Team Lead vs Manager: The Key Differences

Table of Contents

When it comes to business, the terms “lead” and “manager” are often used interchangeably. But while they may appear similar on the surface, there are a few key differences between these two roles.

So, what is a lead? In short, a lead is someone who is responsible for a group or team of people. They typically oversee the day-to-day operations and work to ensure everyone is on track to meet deadlines and achieve objectives.

A manager, on the other hand, is someone who is responsible for overseeing a department or division within a company. They may have leads reporting to them, and their primary focus is usually on developing strategies and initiatives to help their team reach its goals.

So, what’s the difference between a lead and a manager? Let’s take a closer look:

Key Difference Between Team Lead and the Manager


A lead typically has more hands-on responsibilities than a manager. For example, they’re often tasked with performing performance reviews, assigning tasks, and tracking progress.


A lead usually has a more narrow focus than a manager. They’re typically concerned with things like meeting deadlines and ensuring that their team is functioning smoothly on a day-to-day basis.


A manager’s goals are usually more long-term and strategic than a leader’s. While a lead may be focused on meeting immediate deadlines, a manager is often thinking about ways to improve the overall performance of their team or department in the future.


Both leads and managers need to have strong people skills. But while leads need to be good at motivating and inspiring their team, managers must also be adept at developing and implementing strategies.

Relationships and communication:

The relationship between a lead and their team is typically more direct than the relationship between a manager and their team. And while both leads and managers need to be able to communicate effectively, they may need to do more “hand-holding” when guiding their team members.

Role of team leader and manager in an organisation

Team LeadManager
The role of a team leader is to guide and direct the team towards completing the task at hand. They are responsible for ensuring that the team works cohesively and efficiently and that all tasks are completed in a timely manner.A manager is responsible for overseeing the entire operation of the organisation. They are responsible for ensuring that all departments function effectively and meet goals. Managers also play a role in personnel management, budgeting, and strategy development.
The team leader is responsible for executing the task while the manager appoints the team leader and gives them direction.The manager seeks credit for their work, while the team leader is philanthropic and puts their team’s success first.
The team leader inspires the team to achieve results while the manager directs them.The manager focuses on results and growth, while the team leader builds a following and drives change.
A team lead is typically responsible for guiding and directing a team towards completing specific tasks.The manager is responsible for overseeing the entire operation of an organisation.
Managers typically have more authority than team leads.Team leads typically have authority over their own team.
Key Differences Between The Team Lead and The Manager

In conclusion, the team leader and manager have different organisational roles. The team leader is responsible for executing tasks and inspiring the team, while the manager is responsible for appointing the team leader, giving them direction and seeking credit for their work. Both positions are important for the success of an organisation.

If you’re looking for a more hands-on role with direct responsibility for a team of people, then a lead position may be a good fit. But suppose you’re interested in developing long-term strategies and initiatives to help improve the performance of your team or department. In that case, a management position may better suit your skills and interests.

Still not sure which role is right for you? Why not explore both options and see where your career takes you?