What Is The Difference Between Leadership and Management?


Leadership is deciding whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall or not, while management is climbing that ladder efficiently. People often use leadership and management interchangeably. It can be said that there is considerable overlap between the two terms due to the nature of the work involved. Leadership, in a nutshell, is the creation of vision which guides the change. Basically, leadership drives strategy and initiates momentum which can motivate people to work together for common goals. Management is simply the process of controlling, directing or organizing resources.

Leadership is responsible for bestowing positivity and focus on an organization. Leaders ensure people around them understand the mission, vision and embrace the same. While management is simply working with others to accomplish the set tasks and goals. Successful entrepreneurs need to be both, a strong leader and a holistic manager. You need an amalgamation of both to get people on board to follow you through your path to success. Leadership is your key to make people believe in yourself. They can only work with you if they understand your vision. Managing is more about administrating. The scope of management is limited to successful day-to-day operations. 

Definition of Leadership:

The skill of leading masses and inspiring them towards a particular goal or objective is called leadership. The skill is an interpersonal process which ensures professional goals are met enthusiastically and willingly. Leadership is not a lesson to be taught, rather it’s a quality which only a few people possess. People exhibiting this quality are termed as leaders. Leadership styles involve a good vision of thinking across different verticals. 

From an organizational point of view, leaders are at different levels as well. The founder of a company is a leader who has successfully made people follow him towards the bigger picture. To achieve that goal, there can be several different teams working. Leaders are at team levels also. Not just individuals, a company as a whole can also attain leadership by working collectively to defeat the competitor. Leadership can be measured in terms of brand, cost, market share etc. 

Definition of Management:

As mentioned earlier, management executes the vision set by leadership. The primary role of management or managers is to break down the superior goal into a roadmap and achieve it with a team of passionate individuals. Ability to execute day to day tasks, review resources, processes, establish work rules, operating procedures are all major components of management. Moreover, management is not just limited to human resources. It can also be extended to Money, Material, Machine and Methods. 

Where leadership is a virtue of guiding people by encouraging them, management makes sure everything runs smoothly. It’s the quality of ruling. Leadership is always proactive, but at times management can be reactive. Leadership is all about the change, management, on the other hand, ensures stability in an organization. To sum up, if leadership is doing the right things, management is doing things right. There are certain areas where the focus of management and leadership appear to diverge.

Let’s understand the important differences between leadership & management:

Personality styles:

Leadership is often termed brilliant, charismatic and mercurial. However, these are also seen as private people. Leaders are comfortable when it comes to taking risks since leaders have high levels of imagination. On the other end of the spectrum, management focuses on aiding leaders through goal accomplishment, resource availability, analysis, intelligence, persistence and strong will. Leaders are participative, transformational and consultative. Managers can be authoritative and autocratic at times.

Approach to tasks:

Leaders often look at problems and devise creative, out of the box solutions. It is their charisma which motivates, excites others to focus better on solving problems and excel further. Both leaders and managers leverage PowerPoint templates to create quick presentations, leaders do it for motivation and goal setting, managers do it for creating rules, policies, strategies and combine them to operate teams smoothly. Managers try to reduce risks and generate success. Management empowers people by soliciting their values and views. Where leadership appeals to heat, management does to head.

Commitment to goals:

Leadership is there until the end. They are in it for the long haul, until the distant goal is achieved. Leadership stays motivated throughout the process even if they don’t achieve instant success or rewards. The management works short-term. Seeking regular acknowledgement, accolades and assurances are a key part of management. Management focuses on setting, articulating and achieving goals in a phased manner.

Organizing & aligning:

The absolute focus of leadership is in innovation and motivating people. The management works accordingly in a coordinated fashion to achieve those goals. Management deploys tactical processes which unfold over stages to reach desired outcomes. Leadership is less worried about managing people, resources and more concerned about empowering goals, employees and organization as a whole.

Unleashing the potential:

Leadership and management are different verticals on the ultimate mission. Leadership has always been people-oriented. Charisma, innovation, vision, flexibility are some of the core characteristics of leadership. Persuasion is one of the most important parts of leadership skill set. Management tends to be rational, analytical and perseverant. Management should stand tall under all pressures and keep daily affairs going.

Leadership Vs Management, which is important?

Both are equally important, however, a well-balanced organization can only stand tall with leadership at its base. There is no denying that leadership and management are inseparable. Where there is management, there is leadership. One complements the other. An organization requires both at different levels. As we now know leadership consists of vision, inspiration, integrity, ability to bring a change, management solely deals with ability to execute the directed vision.