The Hotel Guy – Leaders, Managers or Other

by Alan Campbell, Featured Contributor

The Difference

WELL HERE I AM discussing what some people feel that there is a big difference between, those who manages and those that lead. I have read countless articles on this subject, and as well as my own opinion. I will tell you that there is a big gap from manager to leader. Of course this assumption is based on the idea that you will become a leader. Not everyone in any industry is qualified to become a leader. It does take a special type of person to lead a company.

Hotel HospitalityNotwithstanding the CEO of Macdonald’s fast food chain has been replaced, I don’t claim to know the reason why, but maybe he just was not a leader that people would follow. If that being the case and I don’t know if it was, but policies and changes did not work out. Are leaders born? Are they made? What designates a leader? Could you look at ten executives and pick out the leader? What qualities are needed? There are more questions than answers.

When I give a talk on hotel management, I always tell the participants that “I have never managed a hotel in all of my 40 years in business” They are surprised at the statement, simple when I take over a property I steer it where it will generate the most profit, and provide the best service to the customer. I will lead the property in the right direction. Administrative personnel manage the day to day activities. Now that that is out of the way let’s look at some differences between the two words. These definitions are not original they have been used by other writers of hospitality related issues. I am borrowing a few to denote the difference in management/ leader style.

Managers: they organize things, plan daily duties, direct the employees, and maintain control.

Leaders: They focus more on the people, they motivate, inspire, build, and shape the future of the company.

Notice that the word organize is absent from the leaders page. It does not mean that they are not organized, it just means that it is not part of their function. When you read an interview in a lodging magazine, notice the questions asked of a GM as opposed to a CEO. You will notice that they are completely different. That may be the best definition and or difference between the two jobs. Manager’s focus is on the property, while leaders are focused on global entities. A hospitality professor once said “if you plan on getting in to the hotel business become a leader” Reason was that leaders succeed, Managers move things from basket A to basket B. Your choice.

Take this article with a grain of salt people, just ramblings from the Hotel Guy.


Alan Campbell
Alan Campbell
ALAN is a highly accomplished, results oriented Hotelier with many years of experience in developing and delivering strategies and implementing solid organizational cultures that addresses the needs of the customer, colleagues, owners, community and industry. He has been in Las Vegas for over 30 years and has worked for the major strip hotels. Alan has spent some time in California, Los Angeles where he worked for the Radisson and Sheraton hotels. He considers the hospitality industry the best job in the world – it is the only place that both king’s and Paupers will visit you. Alan is also a featured contributor for, the “Global Hotelier’s Community.”

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