An Executive vs a Manager

Recently I was talking to an entrepreneur and we got into a discussion about the difference between an executive and a manager. Many people claim to be an executive, especially in the startup world, but they aren’t as common as claimed. While executives and managers both manage teams, there are several differences with an executive.

Here are a few ways an executive is different from a manager:

  • Executives are more strategic and jump between long-term planning and short-term execution
  • Executives set the direction while managers run the day-to-day
  • Executives are more likely to push back and debate an idea
  • Executives often oversee multiple teams or departments while managers have one specific group

An executive is different from a manager. Entrepreneurs would do well to recognize the difference, especially as the business starts to grow and scale (it becomes more apparent with time!).

What else? What are some more thoughts on executives vs managers?

One thought on “An Executive vs a Manager

  1. Nice post. In pre-product/market fit startups, I’ve found that even if you are (or think you are) an executive, being an intense manager of metrics (e.g., discovery calls, trial results, feature results) is critical to success. I sure wish I learned that sooner 🙂

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