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15 Steps That Differentiate a Doer and a Leader in 2024

One look around the world, and you will see millions of doers. Some are working in multinational companies, some are working as freelancers, and some are simply moving between jobs. However, would it not be better if your eyes saw more leaders than doers? Wouldn’t the world become a much better, much more productive place? The answer is a hard yes. But what exactly is the doer vs leader debate? Let us find out here. 

What are the 10 Key Differences Between Doers vs Leaders?

1. Doers Complete Tasks; Leaders Initiate Tasks

The first thing that differentiates a doer and a leader is how they handle tasks. Most doers will be too busy completing the tasks they have been assigned. They will do them with utmost honesty, consistency, and focus. They will also keep a sharp lookout for deadlines. 

Leaders can take new initiatives, which is why they also self-assign many tasks. For example, if a leader wants to execute a new plan, they would also list down all the tasks that they need to complete as prerequisites for that plan. 

2. Doers Answer Questions; Leaders Ask Questions

To make a transition from a doer to a leader, one has to be comfortable with a confrontation with the bosses. This does not mean that you should try to be boastful and try to put your bosses down. This also does not mean that you need to be aggressive. 

People who want to emerge as great leaders often start by asking difficult questions. This can be at the end of meetings or through other channels of communication. People who ask questions also come into the limelight and are noticed by the people on the board. This helps pave their way to leadership positions in the future. 

3. Doers Make To-Do List; Leaders Don’t Need Reminders

One thing that is most common in all leaders is that they are always present in the moment. Rather than losing their focus and worrying about what is to come next, they do things pre-emptively, so they do not have to regret postponing tasks. 

Additionally, doers are too afraid to make errors and will hence always need a to-do list to keep them accountable to themselves. Leaders, on the other hand, enjoy some level of freedom and hence can be flexible with their timings and their tasks. Needless to say, doers procrastinate a lot, whereas leaders do not waste any time thinking about ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’.

Doer vs Leader

4. Doers Lack Organization Skills; Leaders Have Great Organizational Skills

Many people who don’t get the limelight and are always stuck in their position do not realize what is wrong with their strategy. The answer to this age-old question is quite simple: doers rarely have good organizational skills. They are not only very clumsy but are always forgetting things. 

On the other hand, leaders, especially the ones who take their positions seriously, know the importance of good organizational skills. From their wardrobe to their offices, from their files to their laptop screens, you will find great organization everywhere you look. 

5. Doers Procrastinate; Leaders Plan Ahead

It can be quite difficult to plan when you are always short on time. However, this shortage of time is not because doers are under undue pressure from their jobs. It is also not because of the toxic corporate culture that treats employees as machinery. In most instances, this is because doers don’t follow deadlines and procrastinate a lot. 

From thinking and worrying too much about the future, to never really taking the first step, all their time is spent on unnecessary thoughts. This makes them develop unhealthy thought patterns as well. Leaders make a conscious effort not to procrastinate, especially when they have to follow deadlines. 

6. Doers Do It All; Leaders Delegate Tasks

When you have a doer mentality, you may think that by doing all the tasks yourself, you will appear to be smarter and more hardworking in front of your boss. You need constant validation from upper management, which is why you do not want the focus to go away from you. 

Leaders have already received this validation through their new position or the new responsibility that is handed to them. This is why they feel no hesitation in delegating tasks. Take the example of PowerPoint presentations. They are very time-consuming and do not add to your learning experience. As a leader, you will be more than happy to ask one of your employees to make that presentation instead. This saves you both time and energy. 

7. Doers Want Credit; Leaders Share Credit

After working in an office or an organization for some time, you can instantly tell the people who will forever be employees and the ones who will rise in their ranks. Doers are so fixated on getting the credit that they appear as needy and selfish. Even when they do not deserve that credit, they will do their best to steal the limelight from others. 

On the other hand, leaders will always go out of their way to share credit with others. They do it even when they are solely responsible for an achievement. This not only helps them appear more humble, but also builds trust in leadership. 

Doer vs Leader

8. Doers Need Training; Leaders Train Others

Although it is important to always train and educate yourself, doers need this training more than others. They are rarely self-sufficient to handle tasks, which is why you will notice that they ask for help a lot. On the other hand, leaders or potential leaders will be seen motivating and guiding others. 

They also do not mind sharing their skill set or their wisdom as long as it helps the company achieve the bigger role. Additionally, leaders are much more open to advising because they are not insecure in their jobs and do not fear that others will replace them. 

9. Doers Attend Meetings; Leaders Avoid Multiple Meetings

This may come as a surprise to many because most people expect leaders to hold multiple meetings. Although meetings help bridge the gap between employees and act as an ice-breaking session for many, too many meetings can also waste everyone’s time. Rather than becoming productive sessions, they are simply done as a weekly or monthly requirement. 

Doers will call meetings any time the smallest problem arises. Rather than figuring out the solution themselves or having a one-on-one session with the other party, they will try to lure everyone into the drama. Leaders do the opposite; they avoid calling meetings unless they feel that the meeting is necessary. 

10. Doers Remain Stagnant; Leaders Move Forward

The road to the top is difficult; one filled with hurdles and problems. However, your job is to always look forward and not let little failures stop you from achieving your full potential. One of the biggest mistakes that doers do is they fail once and consider it the final straw in their game. 

Leaders think differently. They realize that failures are part and parcel of life and are unavoidable. Rather than fixating on these failures, they learn from their mistakes and try to do better next time. If they fail again, they reassess and reevaluate their strategy and find alternatives that can work better. 

What Can Doers Do to Become Leaders?

Doer vs Leader

Doers are people who can execute a plan or complete a task with consistency and commitment without adding much value to it. Leaders initiate new plans, communicate their ideas well, and think of the bigger picture. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg; there is a lot more to the story. Learn how to become a leader with these 15 steps.

  • Think about the bigger picture
  • Communicate what you think
  • Listen like a leader
  • Delegate responsibilities
  • Teach and learn simultaneously
  • Learn to say no
  • Don’t just answer questions; ask them
  • Empower others
  • Give feedback to others
  • Avoid too many meetings
  • Learn who to trust
  • Don’t be afraid to take risks
  • Master Advocacy
  • Be a role model to others
  • Replace I with We

1. Think about the Bigger Picture

When you have been a doer all your life, life can become stagnant at best. You get very used to your comfort zone and rarely think out of the box. In your transition toward a good leader, you need to come out of your shell and think about bigger things. 

You will have to broaden your vision and your perspective. If you need inspiration, read the stories about famous world leaders. 

2. Communicate What You Think

You can have the greatest ideas and the best vision possible. However, unless you have the confidence to put your thoughts into words, no one is going to take you seriously. The first thing you need to do is gather your thoughts. 

Take out a piece of pen and paper and write what you want to do. This can be a new venture, a new idea, or a new direction for the company. Next, make notes and try to create an elaborate plan. Once you have your thoughts organized, it will be easier for you to express them to others. 

3. Listen Like a Leader

Most leaders speak and speak until they bore themselves and their audience. However, speaking too much can make you come across as boastful and vain. And nobody likes a leader who is very full of themselves. This is why you need to create a habit of listening well. Try to communicate with people and try to listen to their problems, their ideas, and their thoughts on issues. 

This will help you learn from others. There is a reason why God has given us two years and one mouth; know the signs. 

Doer vs Leader

4. Delegate Responsibilities

For someone who has spent all their life doing everything on their own, it can be hard for them to delegate tasks to other people. These habits are retained even when these individuals become leaders within their organizations. 

At the end of the day, it becomes challenging because now the individual will have to lead as well as complete a plethora of tasks. This is why, to change from a doer to a leader, make sure you trust others with the tasks and believe them to be worthy of handling the responsibility. You never know how much people can surprise you. 

5. Teach and Learn Simultaneously

The process of learning never ends, even when you become a leader. People who get some level of power start thinking that they need to impart their wisdom to other people. Although leaders must become good mentors, it is also equally necessary for leaders to learn and self-educate. 

Try to add new skills to your experience. You can also learn a new language. All this adds to your statement and makes you stand out in the crowd. 

6. Learn to Say No

If there is one thing that leaders should know more than anything is to be assertive and to say no when it is necessary. As a doer, you may have become used to saying yes to everything you were asked to do. This includes handling tasks and added responsibilities. 

However, when you become a leader, you have to realize that you do not have unlimited resources at your hand. You will be accountable for your actions. This means you will have to think twice before allotting tasks or finances to certain departments. The trade-offs you do will make you a success or a failure in the office. 

7. Don’t Just Answer Questions, Ask Them

It can be tempting to become a leader in the beginning. You get power and suddenly all eyes are on you. However, rather than getting this power to go to your head, you can learn things like good communication that will help you retain your position. 

When you hold meetings with your employees, make sure you allow them to ask as many questions as possible. This makes your plans foolproof. Additionally, make sure you ask difficult questions from your task teams as well. This will help make them more accountable for their actions. 

8. Empower Others

When making comparisons between doers vs leaders, one thing that is common in the latter is the ability to empower others. Read the stories of any inspirational female business leaders, and you will realize that each one of them went out of their way to empower the most marginalized of women. 

You can do this through good mentorship and advice. You can also assign competitive tasks to your team members, so they know you trust them. Additionally, you can make sure to give your employees when they fail at something. This helps build stronger team bonds and increases trust in leadership.

9. Give Feedback to Others

When you give feedback to others, you may think you are doing a most selfless deed; in reality, giving feedback helps you more than it helps anyone else. For starters, to give feedback, you need to delve deeper into the task at hand. 

You have to know something from the inside out before you give your feedback. This helps increase your knowledge. Secondly, it helps empower your team members who are looking to you for good advice. When that feedback helps them fix their mistakes, they become grateful and more loyal toward you. 

10. Avoid Too Many Meetings

As a doer or as an employee, it may be difficult for you to avoid meetings. And truth be told, most offices fixate on meetings too much. However, if you have been given the position of team head or team lead, you can not hold too many meetings and instead focus more on trusting your team. 

If you want to clarify things, you can use online tools that help facilitate and speed up the process. These organizational tools help you keep in touch with your team members and communicate with them more effectively. 

11. Learn Who To Trust

On your road to leadership, you will face many hurdles. One of the biggest hurdles will be trusting others. As a doer, you may not have many people around who are willing to help you or motivate you. However, when you get prominence, and you show signs of an emerging leader, you will have more and more people trying to gain favor. 

Your job is to navigate through this new situation and keep your eyes open at all times. You should trust the ones who are not simply hyping you up; the friends who give good advice, and the friends who do not simply support you for selfish reasons. 

12. Don’t Be Afraid to Take Risks

If you never try, you will never know how much potential you have. One of the biggest things that separate a doer vs leader is the latter’s ability to trust their instincts and take the necessary risks. When an opportunity presents itself, you should know when to strike. However, this does not mean you should not trust data or the market. Make sure any risks you take are backed by some research and some prior understanding of the market you want to explore. 

13. Master Advocacy 

There are very few people who consider advocacy an important leadership trait. However, if you go look at all the prominent leaders out there, you will realize that all of them had mastered advocacy. Advocacy is the ability to make connections and get the support of other people who can help you fulfill your wishes. 

Once you have mastered advocacy, you will be able to build long-term connections with your peers, your heads, and even your clients. 

14. Be a Role Model to Others

Being a role model may sound like an easy task, but it takes a lot of courage and commitment. For starters, you have to inculcate the exceptional traits of leadership like honesty, integrity, and confidence that make you respectable among your peers. 

Next, you have to have an impeccable character and characteristics that do not waver according to the situation. Only the most stable and consistent people become role models to others. If you get under the influence of others or are unable to keep your morale high, you will not end up inspiring anyone. 

15. Replace I With We

As a doer, you may have been responsible for your tasks, your commitments, and your job. However, when making a transition to a leader, you become part of the bigger picture. Now, it is not only your job or your own life at stake. You will be responsible for a lot more. This includes the organization or the company you work in, the employees working under you, and the bosses over your head. 

Since you become part of a larger team, you have to ensure that everything you do benefits the entire team. There will be no scope for selfish or self-motivated decisions in your new role. 

Challenges in Changing From a Doer to a Leader

Doer vs Leader

1. Old Habits Die Hard

If you have been a doer all your life, it can be challenging to suddenly shift your ways. Changing old habits is difficult because you are set in your ways and find it difficult to do things a different way. 

Additionally, this requires a lot of courage and willingness to get out there and risk huge failures. 

2. Focusing on People More Than the Work

While reading the stories of famous world leaders in history, you may be compelled to think that these people focused more on people than their actual work. 

In reality, these people perfected their work and their vision to an extent that people got attracted to them naturally. So before doing anything else, make sure your work is impeccable. 

3. Always Looking For Motivation

People who think motivation is a prerequisite to success have it all wrong. Motivation comes occasionally, and that is okay. 

Motivation can not be a constant incentive for you to work harder because, on most days, you will feel no motivation, but you will still be required to move forward with your work and give it your all. So rather than fixating on motivation, find other incentives for yourselves. 

4. Insecurity About Your New Role

It can be intimidating to know that you have been allotted a senior position at a firm or a company. You may be tackled with disbelief, however, the sooner you accept the new role, the better it will be for you. 

People who are insecure about their new job or leadership position feel threatened by others and are unable to develop trust with others. So make sure you try to let go of this insecurity and take any challenge that comes your way head-on. 

Also read: Kick Start your journey with 5 new leader assimilation steps

Join Best Diplomats to Complete Your Transition From a Doer to a Leader

The world has no shortage of great, nay, extraordinary people, who can turn the tides. These people may look and appear ordinary, but they have something magical inside them. The magic lies in their courage, their passion, and their hidden skill set. All you need is for someone to tap into that potential and explore what is hidden. Luckily for you, Best Diplomats does exactly that. 

Join Best Diplomats to Complete Your Transition From a Doer to a Leader

By offering short training courses, Best Diplomats brings out your inner talent in front of the world and grooms you so that you stand out in the crowd. It teaches you public speaking, advocacy skills, and more importantly, the ability to interact and communicate with a diverse group of people. All in all, you leave the training feeling confident, witty, and ready to win over the world, thus completing your transition from a doer to a leader. 


Doers and leaders both are great in their capacity, however, most doers are unable to fulfill their full potential. They are either too afraid or scared to come out of their comfort zone, or they take past failures way too seriously.

Leaders have cracked the code to success and know how to turn luck to their side. Rather than sulking over what could have been, they focus on what is. This sets them apart from the crowd and makes them fighters. You can also make the transition from a doer to a leader by following a few simple steps mentioned above. 


Can You Be a Doer and a Leader?

There are some serious differences between doers and leaders. Doers can work consistently and have a good sense of commitment and loyalty towards the organization they are associated with. Leaders help inspire others and create new visions for the team. 
A person can have some attributes of both a doer and a leader, however, it would be almost impossible to be a doer and a leader at the same time. 

What Is the Role of the Doer?

Doers are important to organizations because they make up the majority of the workforce. Their job is vital to an organization because they manage the day-to-day functioning of the organization. 
Additionally, they are sometimes involved in menial and mundane tasks that would easily bore a leader. Most doers work at fixed hours and fixed salaries. 

Why Should Leaders Hire a Lot of Doers in Their Teams?

A common misconception about doers is that they are not essential, as they don’t normally come up with new ideas. However, most companies want employees who can follow instructions well and have the ability to submit work on time. 
Additionally, doers can collaborate with other team members and create a hospitable environment for everyone. 

Oleksandra Mamchii

Working as a academic lead at Best Diplomats.

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