leadership vs management

The terms management and leadership are sometimes used interchangeably. In today’s changing corporate world, a good manager should also be a good leader, and a good leader must also be a good management.

These two names are distinct and had different times of origin. The term “leader” was initially used in the 1300s, but methodological research on it didn’t start until the late 1930s. Although the term “manager” first appeared in English in the 1560s, research on it didn’t start until the 1920s, a decade before leadership.

diagram showing difference between leadership and management

What is Leadership?

The ability to guide a group of individuals is known as leadership. It entails influencing, directing, and inspiring team members as well as other persons, businesses, etc. Leadership improves a task through planning, strategizing, and imagining.

The most important characteristics of leadership are sound judgment and employee empowerment. No organizational position, title, or personal agenda is tied to leadership. Anyone with vision and leadership abilities can be a leader. A unified aim is maximized through the process of leadership. 

What is Management? 

In order to accomplish organizational goals with the resources at hand, management entails developing an organizational strategy and organizing employees. The practice of leading and overseeing people, groups, and organizations to enhance commercial operations is known as management. The manager is in charge of organizing, planning, guiding, and overseeing the team’s performance while they carry out predetermined routine activities.

A manager’s duties are listed in their job description. Their primary concern is using collective team efforts to accomplish organizational goals. Titles and organizational roles that give managers the power, responsibility, and privilege to hire, fire, promote, reward, and discipline staff based on their performance and behavior are known as managerial positions.

Leadership Vs Management: Key Differences 


Bringing a group of people together to work toward a single goal is the goal of leadership. The goal of leadership is to increase people’s effectiveness by assisting them in getting better at their jobs. Leadership is a more comprehensive process when it concentrates on making a contribution to an organization’s success rather than individual accomplishment.

A manager’s purpose is to get the most out of a person or group of people while using the least amount of effort to accomplish a particular goal. A manager concentrates on making the best use of people and the resources at hand to achieve the desired result. The management places more emphasis on finishing the tasks than on maximizing individual productivity. 


Leaders are visionaries because they pave the way for the business’s future expansion and success. The leadership process looks at the organization’s existing state, its goals, and potential paths to achieving those goals. They possess the insight to effect the necessary transformation.

Managers have a more limited perspective than leaders because they are more concerned with creating a plan to implement a procedure to achieve certain corporate goals. As a result, their vision is limited to carrying out a plan, organizing the steps, and assigning tasks to the team to accomplish the objective. 


Organizations have no position for leadership; it is gained through an individual’s professional behavior. It results from an individual’s actions for how they inspire other team members, motivates them to be the best version of themselves, and help enhance overall team productivity. Leadership is not linked with any title or position.

Management is a position with a specific job role in an organizational structure. A manager is given a job title with responsibility and a position in the organizational hierarchy. 


The role of a leader is to inspire followers and point them in the right direction in order to accomplish corporate objectives. In addition to giving comments on how they may improve and be more effective at their duties, the team leader also leads and solves any problems that may arise throughout the course of the work process.

Planning, leading, regulating, and coordinating tasks are the four responsibilities of a manager. The management process needs the manager to boost the productivity and efficacy of their team members, initiatives, and procedures that benefit the organization. In order to accomplish organizational goals, managers oversee staff and make decisions on their behalf. 

Focus Timeline

The focus timeline in leadership is on the “whats” and “whys” of a decision. While a leader tries to understand what is happening and its reasoning. After that, they bring solutions to solve the problems and even question higher authorities if they feel that the decisions are not in the best interest of their followers. 

The manager’s focus timeline is on the “hows” and “when” of a decision. They do not assess failures but ensure that each task is carried out as planned. Managers do not try to change the decision process and support the management decision. 

Role of a Leader Vs Manager 


A leader’s job is to inspire, value, and enhance team members’ confidence so they can accomplish the organization’s objectives. A leader successfully, efficiently, and ethically handles situations, teams, and organizations. They are responsible for inspiring and directing the team members. To boost employee morale, keep them motivated, foster their loyalty, and help them reach their full potential, leaders are required. 

A leader’s role comprises ten main functions

  1. Coaching and supporting employees to succeed
  2. Networking with people internally and externally
  3. Communicating details and information clearly
  4. Strategizing to tackle projects effectively
  5. Delegating responsibilities to increase employee productivity
  6. Motivating the team to perform better
  7. Role modeling to inspire team members by setting examples 
  8. Training employees to develop and polish their skills
  9. Adapting to the dynamic work environment to enforce flexibility
  10. Innovating to improve existing processes and develop more efficient ones 


A manager’s job is to improve their team members’ productivity and effectiveness so that they can favorably impact the organizational goals. To accomplish the goals, a manager must effectively develop, manage, and allocate resources. They must anticipate issues, organize resources, offer answers, lead each person through the procedures, review the outcomes, provide feedback, and make changes as necessary.

A manager’s role comprises four main functions

  1. Planning tasks, so the team members know what needs to be done
  2. Organizing each task and process with set timelines
  3. Leading the team members to perform to the best of their abilities
  4. Control all decisions and ensure that the members adhere to them 

Characteristics of Leaders Vs Managers


  • Leaders have a clear understanding of where they stand, where they need to go, and how they can direct the team to achieve the goals
  • Leaders believe in transparent and clear communication and ensure harmony amongst the team members 
  • Leaders are sincere and hold strong integrity towards their team members, organizational goals, and themselves 
  • Leaders possess strong inspirational traits as they help followers to understand their roles and how the team contributes toward bigger organizational goals
  • Leaders are born challengers and question the wrongs without fearing anything or anybody 
  • Leaders have a strong problem-solving ability and think outside of the box to bring unique and practical solutions to the table
  • Leaders ensure to think of new ideas during the work process and bring opportunities for the team members to improve 
  • Leaders walk side by side with their teams rather than in front of them 
  • A leader is always open to suggestions and listens to their team members 
  • Leaders are natural influencers as they guide the teams in the direction best suited for individual and organizational growth 


  • Managers are executors who build strategies to achieve the vision set by top management 
  • Managers ensure that they have a roadmap ready that their team members can follow to achieve the organizational objectives
  • Managers hold the authority and accountability to establish a process, work rules, operating procedures, and standards that the team must follow
  • Managers are responsible for the routine efforts where they direct their team members for an efficient functioning
  • Managers review the available resources and segregate them for optimum use
  • Managers are people-centric and take care of their team members by listening to them, involving them in decisions, accommodating requests, and providing them with the required feedback
  • Managers layout the exact process for their team members to follow and expect little to no amendments in the same
  • Managers utilize their power and authority to get tasks done on time
  • A manager does not question the higher authorities and follows the management decisions 
  • A manager organizes everything for their team members beforehand so that the members have a clear path to follow 

Example of Leadership Vs Management 

Let’s use Mr. X as an example. He has been given a managerial role within his company. In order to accomplish the objectives of the company, Mr. X must lead a team of seven workers.

Each member is first given their responsibilities and obligations by Mr. X. Mr. X then lays out an action plan that each member must adhere to in order to accomplish the corporate goals. Mr. X is now acting in the capacity of a manager.

To prevent confusion, he prepares, organizes, manages, and strategizes the work processes. If any of his team members have questions, Mr. X asks them and offers them answers. The team is also included in the decision-making process, but he makes sure they understand that Mr. X makes the final call.

One month into the project, Mr. X believes the team is underperforming and producing at a low rate. He understands that the team won’t be able to accomplish the organizational goal if they keep moving at the same rate.

Mr. X asks Ms. Y, who works in a separate area, for assistance because he struggles to motivate his staff. To encourage and inspire the staff to improve, Ms. Y made the decision to stop by each day for the following 15 days.

Ms. Y instills enthusiasm in the group by spending time with them, getting to know them as people, finding out about their strengths and limitations, and then assisting them with any problems they might encounter. Ms. Y serves as a team leader who appreciates each team member’s contribution and challenges them to reach their maximum potential in order to increase productivity.

Ms. Y engages the team in every decision she makes, listens to their suggestions, and communicates openly with them. This encourages the team to work harder than before and become more motivated to accomplish the goals.

Last but not least, the team meets Mr. X’s expectations and accomplishes the company’s objectives, making Mr. X a successful manager and Ms. Y a successful leader. 


In order to accomplish organizational objectives, management and leadership are both important. While leadership aids in effectively achieving the needed goals, management assists in outlining a procedure for a certain task. Management and leadership collaborate and are both crucial. Although excellent leadership is the foundation of every successful team, procedure, or organization, leadership is regarded as superior to management since competent management as a whole is what makes good leadership possible.