Leadership Vs Management: What are the Differences?
Leadership Vs Management

Leadership Vs Management: What are the Differences?

Last updated on 11th Jul 2020, Blog, General

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What is leadership? It’s the action of leading a group towards a common goal. People who lead have three common attributes:

  • They inspire others to share their vision.
  • They motivate others to act on that vision.
  • They encourage others and help them overcome obstacles in pursuit of that vision.

10 Leadership Skills

Here is a list of the skills that make up great leadership. We know that there are more, but these are some of the core values of a strong leader:

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    • Communication: The ability to disseminate information and listen actively.
    • Motivation: Getting people to want to do what you need them to do.
    • Delegation: Knowing that you can’t do everything and trusting others to help you carry the load by completing assigned tasks.
    • Positivity: Keeping a positive attitude, regardless of the situation, helps with morale.
    • Trustworthiness: People aren’t going to listen to you or do what you ask if you don’t first instill a sense of trust.
    • Creativity: There will always be problems that can’t be solved by rote; you must think creatively and be open to taking chances. Employ divergent thinking to find unique solutions.
    • Feedback: Leadership doesn’t take place in a vacuum. Listen to your team, stakeholders, advisors, mentors, etc., and take their opinions seriously.
    • Responsibility: You can’t expect people to follow you if you’re not taking responsibility for the bigger picture and your behavior.
    • Commitment: You also cannot expect to lead others if you are not committed to the project.
    • Flexibility: Things change, and rigidity can ruin a project, so you must be willing to adapt and not hold too tightly to anything.


    What is management? It’s the process of dealing with or controlling things or people. But the emphasis does tend to be on things rather than people.

    Managers are people who plan, organize, and coordinate. They are methodical and are always reassessing their process to make sure they’re progressing as planned. If not, they tweak to get back to their baseline assessment.

    Management consultant, educator, and author Peter F. Druker, who said, “What’s measured gets improved.” So, you can see a difference in that managers approach things more systematically, seeking metrics and tools to measure their progress and adapt their process accordingly.


    Leadership is a quality of influencing people so that the objectives are attained willingly and enthusiastically. It is not exactly the same as management, as leadership is one of the major elements of management. Management is a discipline of managing things in the best possible manner. It is the art or skill of getting the work done through and with others. It can be found in all the fields, like education, hospitality, sports, offices, etc.

    One of the major differences between leadership and management is for a formal and organized group of people only, whereas leadership is for both formal and informal groups. To further comprehend the two concepts, take a read of the given article.

    Top 10 Management Skills

    To further highlight the differences and the complementary nature of leadership and management, we list 10 of what is considered the most important skill for any manager to have.

    Related: How to Be a Good Manager

    • Interpersonal Skills: While managers aren’t exclusively dealing with people, they still must interface with them, and the better they do so, the smoother the management process.
    • Communications: Being able to manage is being able to communicate what you need to who needs to do it.
    • Motivation: The same is true for motivating people to follow your management leaders.
    • Organization: You must be organized. Management is made up of many parts, and they cannot be handled on the fly.
    • Delegation: No one can manage everything themselves, and if they try, they’re going to fail. So, share responsibilities and tasks with others.
    • Forward Planning: A manager is a planner who looks towards the future and how to set themselves up for it today.
    • Strategic Thinking: Part of that planning is thinking strategically about the project, the organization, and how to align them moving forward.
    • Problem Solving: Managers face issues daily, and they must think creatively to solve them.
    • Commercial Awareness: Managers are not working in a vacuum and need to have a keen sense of the business and commercial environment in which they operate.
    • Mentoring: In order to get things done, sometimes a manager must become a mentor, offering guidance or training where it’s needed.
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    Managers give directionsLeaders ask questions
    Managers have subordinatesLeaders have followers
    Managers use an authoritarian styleLeaders have a motivational style
    Managers tell people what to doLeaders show people what to do
    Managers have good ideasLeaders implement good ideas
    Managers react to change Leaders create change
    Managers try to be heroesLeaders make heroes of everyone around them
    Managers exercise power over peopleLeaders develop power with people


    • Focus on people
    • Risk tolerant
    • Innovative
    • Visionary
    • Emphasize product/service, not financial results
    • Think long-term
    • Rely on charm and influence
    • Can be dictatorial and authoritative
    • Work for winning, not for money


    • Focus on processes
    • Risk-averse
    • Formalistic
    • Objective
    • Emphasize the bottom line
    • Think short-term
    • Rely on authority and formal position
    • Are democratic and engaging
    • Work for rewards – money, fame, or ego.

    Comparison Chart

    MeaningLeadership is the skill of leading others by example.Management is an art of systematically organizing and coordinating things in an efficient way.
    Emphasis onInspiring PeopleManaging activities
    Focus onEncouraging changeBringing stability
    Formulation ofPrinciples and guidelinesPolicies and Procedures
    PerspectiveLeadership requires good foresightedness.Management has a short-range perspective.

    Differences in Responsibilities

    Management Leadership
    1.Implementing tactical actions 1.Creating new visions and aims
    2.Detailed budgeting 2.Establishing organizational financial targets
    3.Measuring and reporting performance 3.Deciding what needs measuring and reporting
    4.Applying rules and policies 4.Making new rules and policies
    5.Implementing disciplinary rules 5.Making disciplinary rules
    6. Organizing people and tasks within structures 6.Deciding structures, hierarchies and workgroups
    7.Recruiting people for jobs 7.Creating new job roles
    8.Checking and managing ethics and morals 8.Establishing ethical and moral positions
    9.Developing people 9.Developing the organization
    10.Problem-solving 10.Problem-anticipation
    11.Planning 11.Visualizing
    12.Improving productivity and efficiency 12.Conceiving new opportunities
    13.Motivating and encouraging others 13.Inspiring and empowering others
    14.Delegating and training 14.Planning and organizing succession, and…
      15.All management responsibilities, including all listed left, (which mostly and typically are delegated to others) ideally aid motivation and people-development

    Manager vs. Leader Personality

    A managerial culture emphasizes rationality and control. Whether his or her energies are directed toward goals, resources, organization structures, or people, a manager is a problem solver. The manager asks: “What problems have to be solved, and what are the best ways to achieve results so that people will continue to contribute to this organization?” From this perspective, leadership is simply a practical effort to direct affairs; and to fulfill his or her task, a manager requires that many people operate efficiently at different levels of status and responsibility. It takes neither genius nor heroism to be a manager, but rather persistence, tough-mindedness, hard work, intelligence, analytical ability, and perhaps most important, tolerance and goodwill.

    Another conception of leadership, however, attaches almost mystical beliefs to what a leader is and assumes that only great people are worthy of the drama of power and politics. Here leadership is a psychodrama in which a brilliant, lonely person must gain control of himself or herself as a precondition for controlling others. Such an expectation of leadership contrasts sharply with the mundane, practical, and yet important conception that leadership is really managing work that other people do.

    Three questions come to mind. Is this leadership mystique merely a holdover from our childhood—from a sense of dependency and a longing for good and heroic parents? Or is it true that no matter how competent managers are, their leadership stagnates because of their limitations in visualizing purposes and generating value at work? Driven by narrow purposes, without an imaginative capacity and the ability to communicate, do managers then perpetuate group conflicts instead of reforming them into broader desires and goals?

    If indeed problems demand greatness, then judging by past performance, the selection and development of leaders leave a great deal to chance. There are no known ways to train “great” leaders. Further, beyond what we leave to chance, there is a deeper issue in the relationship between the need for competent managers and the longing for great leaders.

    What it takes to ensure a supply of people who will assume practical responsibility may inhibit the development of great leaders. On the other hand, the presence of great leaders may undermine the development of managers who typically become very anxious in the relative disorder that leaders seem to generate.

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    It is easy enough to dismiss the dilemma of training managers, though we may need new leaders or leaders at the expense of managers, by saying that the need is for people who can be both. But just as a managerial culture differs from the entrepreneurial culture that develops when leaders appear in organizations, managers and leaders are very different kinds of people. They differ in motivation, personal history, and how they think and act.

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