Leader or Manager—Which One Are You?

Leadership is quite different from management. A good leader may not be a good manager and vice versa. Take the quiz below to find out how well your own leadership skills are developed. Each question has two choices. Even though you may feel that both choices express your viewpoint, please select the one that is best characterizes what you presently think and do.

_____ 1. My management style would best be described as:

a. taking charge by effectively directing the activities of my sales associates.

b. attaining predetermined objectives through the voluntary cooperation of my sales staff.

_____ 2. It is more important for me to:

a. do things right.

b. do the right thing.

_____ 3. When a sales associate comes to me with a problem, I:

a. do my best to come up with a solution.

b. encourage the sales associate to try to find their own solution.

_____ 4. As a manager:

a. I try to create an environment where people motivate themselves.

b. it is my duty to motivate my sales and support staff.

_____ 5. I believe leadership:

a. is an art based upon person-to-person relationships.

b. is a science that be broken into a series of components that can be mastered.

_____ 6. I have come to the conclusion that leadership is:

a. the most critical “at the top”.

b. needed at every level of the company.

_____ 7. In my opinion, it is more important to:

a. achieve company set goals.

b. to constantly try to move to a new, higher plateau.

_____8. I believe it is more important for me to focus upon:

a. innovation and growth.

b. getting the job done.

_____9. I see myself primarily as:

a. a facilitator of human potential.

b. a source of solid information and good advice.

_____10. My role within my company is to focus on:

a. the company’s values, commitment, and aspirations.

b. the company’s organization, human skills, and technology.

_____11. In my office, my job is to:

a. “pull” others along by my example.

b. “push” others to achieve their goals.

_____ 12. I know that I’m doing a good job when:

a. everything is my office is harmonious.

b. I can deal with conflict effectively.


On items 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, and 11, give yourself 5 points for each “A” answer.

On items 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, and 12, give yourself 5 points for each “B” answer.


45-60: You have very strong leadership skills and are probably perceived as a “people person”. You encourage your agents to take responsibility for themselves, and help them along by encouraging them to make their own decisions. You challenge your staff to “move to the next level”. You value input from your entire staff and are willing to listen suggestions as well as complaints. Your office is probably one where the “Y” management theory applies, i.e., the focus is on the “team” rather than you as the leader or coach. If you work for a “top-down” organization, you may have difficulties with senior management who have a different notion of what your management style should be.

35-40: While you have a predominance of leadership characteristics, you still see yourself on some occasions as the primary expert in your office. There are times when you may prefer to “just solve the problem” as opposed to letting the parties come to their own solution. You may feel that your agents’ success or failure directs primarily upon you because you perceive the agents as your personal responsibility. Nevertheless, the “team” is probably quite important to you and you would feel quite uncomfortable in an organization that was strictly “top-down”.

15-30: You view your role more as a manager rather than a leader. Your focus on problem solving and being a source of information and motivation can be quite effective for those individuals who need someone else to motivate them. You like to set goals and then achieve them. You also believe achieving company set goals is quite important. When there is a problem, you believe that it can be analyzed and then solved, usually with your assistance. You probably prefer that your agents come to you with their problems, but this tends to make them quite dependent upon you. You may spend so much time “putting out fires,” that you often do not get to other important tasks that you need to complete.

0-10: You believe in the “X” theory of management, i.e. the traditional “top-down” organization. You believe it is your responsibility to solve your agents’ problems, make sure that company policies are followed, motivate your agents to be successful, and “push” your agents into achieving their goals. Unfortunately, this creates an environment where your staff may become extremely dependent upon you. Also, if you do not come up with the “correct” solution for a problem, your staff will blame you instead of taking responsibility. Also, the “weight” of always “pushing” your agents to achieve their goals or follow company policy may be getting you down. If you are working for a company that believes in a “Y” organization (i.e. the leader works sides by side with the other members of the team), you may have difficulty.

Need help? Our Top 10 Lists for Managers have lots of suggestions for improving your managerial style and building your team. For individual help, contact one of the coaches on our coach referral list.

Copyright 1999-2019, Bernice L Ross. All rights reserved. No reproduction, distribution, or transmission of copyrighted materials on this site is permitted without written permission.