What is the difference between Management and Leadership?

Identifying the difference between management and leadership

It has always been suggested by studies and research that management and leadership must go hand in hand for better organizational structure, but they are not the same thing at all. We can say that management and leadership are necessarily linked and complementary to each other, but on an individualistic front, these are two different concepts and imply different respective meanings.

As far as the industry on leadership development is concerned, there is plenty of confusion regarding the relationship between management and leadership. There are a lot of people who are using these two terms interchangeably while others consider them entirely different ideas.

What is Leadership?

Leadership pertains to a person’s ability to motivate, enable and influence others to contribute toward the success and effectiveness of the organization which they belong to. When leading, leaders do not have any subordinates and while most organizational leaders have subordinates, it is only because they also act as the managers. However, when leaders want to lead, they will need to give up formal authoritarian control because leading is having followers and following is a voluntary activity at all times.

What is Management?

Management pertains to controlling and directing a group of one or more individuals or entities with the purpose of harmonizing and coordinating this group towards the accomplishment of a goal.

For many years, there has been an ongoing debate regarding the correlation between these two. Is a leader different from a manager? In what sense can these two words be considered as similar and what sets one apart from the other? Do managers have to be great leaders? Do leaders need good management skills?

Basically, management is associated with planning, organizing, and coordinating, whereas leadership, on the other hand, is associated with inspiring and motivating. To illustrate the basic difference between these two concepts.

The Key Difference between Management and Leadership

The major differences between management and leadership are summarized in the table below.

Counting vs Creating value A manager is concerned with the job of administering people and therefore he only counts value and no addition in value is made in this process of managing people. A leader innovates and hence adds or creates value above that which the team has created.
Influence vs Power Managers are considered to create circles of power by maintaining their subordinates and the systems and structures of the organization. A manager relies on control to maintain his power. Leaders are considered to create circles of influence. Since they have followers instead of subordinates, leaders develop influence over their followers by motivating them. Leadership relies on trust.
Leading vs Managing Managing work implies controlling a group or a set of entities to accomplish a goal. Leadership implies leading people by an individual’s ability to influence, motivate and enable others to contribute toward organizational success.
Range of view While managers are believed to have a short range of view, which is only concerned with the accomplishment of the given goal or plan. Leaders, on the other hand, have a long range of view perspectives. Leadership inspires followers to accomplish tasks in the long run or on a continuous basis.
Ordering and Leading Management is concerned with telling or commanding people what to do. In other words, the job of a manager is to ask his subordinates to perform particular tasks.
Leadership implies inspiring people to do those tasks in the best way possible. The job of a leader is to develop a drive in his followers towards the accomplishment of organizational objectives.
Understanding the big picture A manager limits his perspective to the current goals and plans. A leader always focuses on the bigger picture of the organization and prepares his followers for that ultimate aim.


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