Difference between Management and Leadership


Leadership is about behavior and belief. Management is about process. The main difference between management and leadership is focus. Leaders focus on long term results and vision while managers focus on short terms results. Although there are many differences between leadership and management and to get insight about these differences I have asked a question on Linkedin –What are the Chief Differences Between Management and Leadership?
Here are other differences—–

On 09/11/11 7:27 AM, Kristjan-Paul Raude wrote:
Management – Managing people
Leadership – Leading people

Difference – Manager is leading normally with title, leaders are normally leading with example.

On 09/11/11 7:40 AM, Tom Brody wrote:
MANAGEMENT. Persons in “management” are generally incompetant in technical matters, and are substantially incapable of understanding, reviewing, or evaluating the work of the people that they are “managing.” Management uses various techniques to overcome their incompetance, for example, by requiring employees to fill out forms on a regular and periodic basis to document their work-product and to document their ability at meeting deadlines. Management also “evaluates” the work of employees by sending work-product to capable parties, and in return, receives evaluations from the capable parties. Unfortunately, in this technique, the accomplishments of the emplyees are lost in the background noise.

LEADERSHIP. Persons in leadership are skilled the relevant technology, and are also skilled at arriving at creative solutions, and at devising novel inventions. When a leader is asked to evaluate an employee, the leader instantly understands the employee’s accomplishments, the employee’s value, and the employee’s creative contributions. To summarize, management is the sure-fire way for a company to lose its creative edge, and to demoralize the employee. Management is dispensible, without purpose, typically irresponsible, counterproductive, and repugnant. But good leadership is essential and worthy of praise and adulation.

On 9/11/11 2:40 PM, Tom Brody added the following clarification:
I meant, “competitive edge,” not “creative edge.”

On 09/11/11 8:30 AM, Robert Jakobson wrote:
As has been pointed out, this is well worn question.

But to answer it, Management is the managing of resources – be they people, projects, and assets. Leadership is just that – Leading people, projects and assets.

One is reactive (management), in that it responds to stimulus and derives a set of goals and plans. The other is active (leadership) in that it responds to vision of the leader based on a number of inputs (often derived by the leader) and response is generated from the vision of where the leader feels they need to be and how they need to get there.

It is arguable that management is primarilly a maintenance role – maintaining a status quo with little movement. Leadership generally is the driving factor of management. That’s a standard business model.

Now, for the reality check. Many people cannot tell the difference between the two and tend to promote successful managers into leadership roles. Because the manager has no experience with creating a vision, they are not capable of providing direction or driving to a goal. As a result everyone under them suffers.

Without an understanding of where you want to go – be it at the corporate or project level, you may be the most awesome manager in the world – projects will stall, become mired in a lack of direction, and fail. A leader definitely leads by example – you cannot lead a team, a project or a corporation if you yourself have no vision, no goal, no direction, and are not willing to act on these.
On 09/11/11 10:40 AM, Bill Tyson wrote:
Management is about getting things done to achieve desired outcomes through and with people. Leadership is more strategic; establishing a vision, a strategic direction, marshaling resources, establishing priorities and positively influencing people (including managers) to help you get there via flawless execution.
On 09/11/11 10:53 AM, David Velasquez wrote:
The terms “management” and “leadership” are often interchanged. In fact, many people view them as basically the same thing. Yet management is as distinct from leadership as day is from night. Both are necessary, however, for a high-performance organization. By contrasting them and understanding their differences, we can better balance and improve these essential roles.
One key distinction between management and leadership is that we manage things and lead people. Things include physical assets, processes, and systems. People include customers, external partners, and people throughout our team or organization (or “internal partners”). When dealing with things, we talk about a way of doing. In the people realm, we’re talking about a way of being.

Position power
Problem solving
Doing things right
Light a fire under people
Written communications

Persuasion power
Possibility thinking
Doing the right things
Stoke the fire within people
Verbal communications
On 09/11/11 12:31 PM, Judy Hojel wrote:
Hi Lalit,

When I was a Junior Manager we were given the definition that management was about getting results through the efforts of other people. This was to be achieved through a process of planning, organising, delegating, execution through leading, controlling and following up.

I still find this a useful definition for my work today, although clearly leadership activities must underpin each of these areas – setting a vision; getting buy-in and enlarging that vision; creating a positive, proactive, motivating and accountable environment; training, enabling and developing your people; providing opportunities for winning; and for giving praise and recognition. Hope this helps!

Private Note:
Hi Lalit,

It is a great question and one often asked here so do check back with previous answers – you might find something that helps you even more!

All the best,
On 09/11/11 1:56 PM, Jacques Chartrain wrote:
Peter Drucker said that “Management is doing things right, while Leadership is doing the right things”.

Management is more about methodology, process and quality assurance. It’s about how your team or company does what it does. A good manager will ensure that the company is operating efficiently and that employees are effective in their job. It’s about intellect more than emotions. It’s a necessary part of operating a successful business, for without some degree of competent management, leaders can still fail.

Leadership is more about winning the hearst and mind and getting people pointed towards a common direction or objectif. The great leader do not only set the direction, but also create passion in their people’s heart to thrive to accomplish more than they would on their own. A great leader can accomplish nearly impossible things, assuming he has the right people and can give them the space to operate.
On 09/11/11 3:01 PM, Mike Moore wrote:
Management is about “how”, and Leadership is about “why”.
On 09/11/11 4:15 PM, Kenneth Larson wrote:
The terms leader and manager cannot be used interchangeably. One is a science. The other is an art.

Leadership is a science and can be taught. I have known great military, scientific and technical leaders in their narrow bands of expertise who were lousy managers, did not aspire to be managers and generally were not managers. They could lead others, but lacked the vision to manage resources, time, communication and the big picture.

Excellent management is driven by innate personal qualities, which, when combined with leadership, create the management art. Below are two principal management attributes I have observed that make great managers different from great leaders:

1. They know how much leadership to offer and how much to let the individual grow on his or her own. They strike the right balance between specific and generic guidance so the unique individual traits of the workers come through in the business model and solutions to problems, system design and success of the firm are derived from the people running the enterprise and not from the leader.

2. They manage constructively by fostering an environment respectful of all points of view but manage by driving to fulfilling progressive objectives as a first priority and blend differences of opinion decisively.
On 09/11/11 4:35 PM, Melinda Charlesworth wrote:
I love the quote: “The key difference between a manager and a leader is the leader’s ability to change the way people think.” Abraham Zaleznik
A true leader is able to lead because people beleive in what they say and they have faith that they can suceed.
If the only reason you can give someone to do something is “because I’m the boss” that’s not leadership. A leader can explain their reasons in order to have people follow willingly not out of a sense of duty.
When a sporting team stops winning, we call on them to sack the ‘coach’ because the coach is the one who leads. Similarly, when a great coach starts coaching a new team, suddenly that team starts to win. Not because they are suddenly better players, but because they know that when “XX” is their coach they CAN win, its all about belief!
A manager tells you what to do, a leader inspires you to do it!

On 09/11/11 10:26 PM, Manish Kulkarni (manishpk68@gmail.com) wrote:
Leadership is transferable skill, while management is non transferable. So if you have Leadership qualities you can lead in different industries.
On 09/12/11 2:19 AM, IMM Recruitment wrote:
Management plans results. Leadership inspires results.
Management can be effective in getting results, but rarely produces greatness. Leadership however cannot exist without proper management skills. So in my opinion, management is a skill, leadership is a personal attribute that encourages people to excell because the “leader” is simply leading – by example, with inspiration, and with a high level of management skill.
On 09/12/11 5:29 AM, FRANCESCO FERZINI wrote:
Hi Lalit,

Leaders shall create a vision, align people and inspire whereas management shall complete the process by making things happen.

American leadership scholar Warren Bennis said: leadership is “doing the right things”, management is “doing things right”.

On 09/12/11 6:38 AM, Christine Hueber wrote:
Management implements the vision of leadership.


  1. rictownsendRichard Townsend

    Great discussion. I have been a manager and trainer for some years and this is an article / training page we used to discuss on the difference between leadership and management: http://www.orglearn.org/Management_tips/polarities.html I called it POLARITIES IN ORGANISATIONAL LIFE (DO WE NEED TWO HEADS). I hope you see it as adding value to your excellent discussion post. Not sure where the original information came from. Ric-orglearn. ps I found you through Google+

    • lalitbhojwani1

      Hi Richard,
      Thanks for the comment and Link. The question is not do we need two titles. May be not, but there is difference between leaders and managers. Because a manager can be a leader but it is not necessary for a leader to be a manager. For functions of managers please go through this link– http://wp.me/p1t4mg-1j

  2. lalitbhojwani1

    Hi Richard,
    Thanks for the comment and Link. The question is not do we need two titles. May be not, but there is difference between leaders and managers. Because a manager can be a leader but it is not necessary for a leader to be a manager. For functions of managers please go through this link– http://wp.me/p1t4mg-1j

  3. rictownsendRichard Townsend

    I agree totally however, usually I find it is managers that are being asked to become leaders (particularly technical experts, engineers etc) that have difficulty in dealing with the conflict that is a natural part of the management v’s leadership quandary.. Ric-orglearn

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