Leadership vs Management

Leadership and management are necessarily interlinked and have a thin line of difference. Most people have misconception of both the qualities being same, but to master both the skills, you must know how to delineate them.

Generally, when an entrepreneur starts a business, he assumes the role of the leader as well as the manager. Leadership and management may become synonymous at this point. 

As a manager, it is essential to learn leadership skills to drive and manage people. However, the importance of management and leadership skills cannot be denied when it comes to the optimal functioning of the organization.

Let’s dive into the difference between leadership and management to understand the thin line that drives your managerial and leadership skills.

Objective vs. Goal

A leader must have a long-term vision and the role to drive people toward a goal. On the other hand, the role of managers is to work to fulfill a short-term objective. While leadership requires having a macro view of all the aspects, management focuses on organizing, planning and executing tasks having a micro perspective.

As a leader, you must inspire people to adopt a change. Contrastingly, as a manager, your focus must be on obtaining stability with the successful completion of work in hand.

Drive Organization vs. Drive People

You can excel in your managerial skills only if you can handle the technical dimensions for your organization and delegate authority. On the other hand, leaders have the role of influencing people, communicating with them and build a relationship to persuade them.

Managers have the responsibility that must involve formal communication, but leaders have the potential to drive people through informal or verbal communication. Managers take decisions that have the best interest of the organization, but leaders make the decision that serves the best interest of his people.

Stand out vs. teamwork.

Managers may have to make a decision that all his employees may not agree to. In this way, a manager may not act as a team player but stand out as an authority body. Contrastingly, leaders believe in teamwork to achieve goals. Let’s take a typical example from real life.

Suppose, a manager strategizes to cut cost by laying off. A leader will surely protest for the injustice for the people and suggest alternative ways to cut down cost without laying off people. You must have noticed several strikes for this differentiating factor in leaders and manager.

Strategizing vs planning

Managers take on the responsibility of strategizing or building a plan of action for fulfilling their objectives. Clearly, the role of managers is more action-oriented. On the other hand, leaders have bigger goals and plan how to achieve it. Therefore, leadership is more thought-oriented and may not include an actual action plan.

The leaders plan concept and ideas that help people realize that life is beyond the paycheck. Contrastingly, a manager strategizes how his employees can earn more than paychecks by accomplishing goals for the organization.

Evaluate vs. Inspire

Managers are responsible for the organization’s growth, and that can be possible by evaluating employees’ performances. Every manager undertakes yearly or quarterly performance review to praise the high performing employees and ditch the low-performing ones.

A manager has to think about the company’s development, and it may include eliminating any relationship with the worker if he is not performing well. On the other hand, it is the role of leaders to inspire people and help them achieve their personal goals.

As a leader, the well-being of the people is the foremost priority. While manager evaluates people on specific parameters, leaders realize the potential in people.

Reactive vs. Proactive

Management has a reactive approach to every situation, while leadership requires a proactive approach to achieve its goal. One factor that is responsible for respective approaches is risk. Leaders visualize great ideas and have to be proactive in taking risks in order to succeed.

Contrastingly, a manager is responsible for minimizing the risks for the organization. Therefore, a manager needs to react whenever the situation may seem risky to mitigate or eliminate fallouts under such circumstances.

Policies vs. Principles

Managers are bound by rules and regulation of the organization. Every action taken by a manager must abide by the policies and procedure of the company.

On the other hand, Leaders are guided by the ideals and principles that they have acquired from life experiences. A leader’s actions are guided by his instinct instead of the rules and regulation.


A manager without leadership qualities may result in loss of productivity due to employee unrest. On the other hand, a leader in the position of manager can lead to the downfall of the organization.

Therefore, management and leadership must go hand in hand for the company’s growth. According to a study, 83% of employers state it’s crucial to develop leaders at all levels.

Managers are said to count value whereas leaders focuses on creating value. Managers create boundaries of power while leaders create circles of influence. In the modern work setting, there are more managers than leaders which have led to the downfall of retention rate in almost every industry.

Leadership is a quality that can be shaped by developing emotional intelligence and learning how to influence others, professionals of all levels can increase more self-awareness and understand how to bring out the best in themselves and others. Management and leadership are two essential qualities that must find a balance to ensure the optimal performance of an organization.

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