Leadership vs Management – How They Differ

Many times we use the words "leadership" and "management" interchangeably. In some respects they are the same.

But when you look at it closely, and think about it, they are actually different things.

A leader guides people towards a particular goal while a manager makes sure quotas and stats are maintained.
Let's take a closer look at leadership versus management and see what differences we can find.

When it comes to management vs leadership, we could say that leadership has a long term impact on an organization and management is more concerned with short-term goals.
A leader guides the organization towards a long term goal by providing a vision and then inspiring others to help achieve the goal. Managers then set about setting up short term goals and monitoring progress towards them on a day to day basis.

Because of this, the leadership of a company is responsible for it advancing to greater heights and achieving greater success. Management is more focused on the efficiency aspect of making sure daily goals are met, budgets are adhered to, and employees are in compliance.

Every organization will have both leaders and managers. In fact, one person may have to assume both roles. Still, it is important to understand the issues associated with leadership vs management because it can help your organization be a bigger success. If you are too tightly focused on the management aspect, your stats may look great, but your company will be basically treading water and your employees may lack loyalty and job satisfaction.

A healthy dose of leadership is needed to set a vision for the company to strive towards and to empower the staff and team leaders. On the other hand, a company that is top heavy on leadership but lacking in good management may have accountability issues and fail to make progress because no one is forcing the staff to perform at peak output.

Another way to look at leadership ~ management is like this.


Managers have subordinates and are rewarded for getting tasks done according to schedule. Managers operate under a transactional style of managing people. In essence this means the staff enters a transaction when they are hired that they will do what they are told without question in return for their salary.

On the other hand, leaders have followers. They use the transformational style of managing people. This means the staff has a say in various aspects of their work and become emotionally invested in their jobs. They don't only work towards a paycheck, but towards a sense of fulfillment.

Leaders set a long term vision and bring change to a company. They lead people and derive power from personal qualities. They appeal to the emotions of the staff and pour passion into the job. Managers are concerned with short term goals and works towards stability of the company. They control people and have power because they are in a position of authority.

Leadership versus management could be directly compared to transactional leadership versus transformational leadership. Each of these has its own advantages and when brought together can bring out the best in staff and the organization as a whole. When only one style of leadership is used, it can harm an organization.

However, depending upon the type of organization, there may be a need to favor one form over the other. For example, factories that have repetitive tasks on complicated machinery do better with an emphasis on management since quotas must be met and safety guidelines must be strictly adhered to. A company like a web design studio that relies on creative work like art and writing would do better with a transformation style of leadership.

So the question of management vs leadership is not really which one is better, it is more a matter of how they are different. Being so different, they compliment each other well so they are rarely isolated from each other but blended together in a way that inspires the staff to peak performance while monitoring output to make sure minimum quotas are met.

When hiring personnel for leadership vs management positions, the personality of the applicant should definitely be considered.
People tend to have their own natural leadership styles and it can be difficult to force someone to be a leader if they are a natural born manager and vice versa.



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