Across the years there has been fierce debate over the dialectic and dichotomic relationship between the roles of leading and managing. The truth is that there is an important role of leadership in management itself and managers can also be leaders. It is important to learn about how to be a good leader and manager. However, if describing what a leader is and what a manager is, there are some differences between the practices.


Leadership and Management


Leader vs Manager


Leadership places more of a focus on achieving goals and team motivation and empowerment, allowing leaders to get the best out of everyone for a mutual benefit. Leading by example, inspiration and empowerment are all parts of being a leader.

Management tends to focus more on work, how it is organised, and the specific tasks involved. Budgeting, planning, controlling, coordinating and other activities tend to be part of management. As different as they may seem at face value there is a specific relationship between leadership and management.


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What’s the Difference Between Leading and Managing


The role of leadership in management is evident, however, in this section, we will look at breaking down the differences of a team lead vs manager and we will compare and contrast leadership and management specific practices.

  • Leadership in business management creates a vision, managers create goals: Leaders create a picture of potential opportunities and pave the way of achieving them for their team, managers tend to focus on setting, achieving and measuring defined objectives.
  • Leaders lead change, managers maintain the status quo: leadership vs management quotes will tell you that leaders are not afraid of change. Innovation and dealing with change is key for leaders, whereas managers tend to stick with what works best instead of taking the risk of change, which can be complicated.
  • Leaders are unique, managers copy other managers: Leaders usually pursue what they believe is best and this is subjective, whereas mangers tend to follow traditional and tried management techniques.
  • Leaders take risks, managers control the risks: Most leaders are willing and ready to take risks and lead their team while they are doing it. Managers tend to avoid risk or minimise it rather than embracing potential opportunities achieved through change.
  • Leaders think long term, managers think short-term: Leaders see far into the future and take into consideration how their actions now will affect the long-term wellbeing of the firm. Managers tend to focus on short-term goals so as to achieve more in a shorter period of time, making stakeholders happy.
  • Leaders grow and evolve personally, managers rely on proven skills: Leaders like learning and evolving consistently. They want to expand their knowledge base and expand their thinking. Mangers tick with tried and tested methods. A manager a a leader can do both and this is the ideal situation.
  • Leading and managing differ in the sense that leaders build relationships and managers build systems and processes: The characteristics of a manager and leader are different due to leaders’ focus on people and the relationships they develop with them through emotional intelligence, while managers tend to focus on the structure needed to achieve the set goals. They need systems to be put in place correctly to achieve the outcomes desired by the organisation.



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The Different Types of Leadership and Management Skills


In the same way that leaders and managers experience some variance in their definition, the qualities of a good manager and leader and their skills also differ. However, an ideal situation would be for a manager to possess leadership as well as effective managerial skills, because there are times in an organisation when a leader is required and others where a manager is required and sometimes when both are required. Let’s take a look at some of the top leadership skills.

  • Strategic thinking
  • Planning and support through delivery of objectives
  • People Management
  • Change Management
  • Innovation
  • Communication
  • Persuasion and Influencing

Here are some of the top management skills:

  • Communication
  • Budgeting
  • Time management
  • Organisational awareness
  • Problem solving
  • Leadership: As you can see, being a leader can be part of being a manager!


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The Difference Between Leadership and Management with Examples


The traditional view of management sees a manager’s job as running the operations of something. Let’s take the HR department in an organisation, for example. The inputs and outputs the team needs to produce are set and clear and the manager puts their efforts into making sure the machine that is the HR Department is running smoothly and objectives are being met.

A leader and the team that they are part of have a mission. In the HR Department each person and the leader are aware of the mission and each of their parts in its achievement. The mission may require that the HR Department installs new software to make the goal of achieving the mission more efficient. This would require change that the team on its own may be unsure of how to implement. The leader would lead the way and help the team to deal with and understand the change. Managerial leadership could come into place in this example if the manager possessed effective leadership skills that they could apply in this context.

For years, in most leadership and management articles we were taught that management is one thing and leadership is in a whole separate category. Managers were taught to manage, not to lead. However, who is to say that a truly effective manager cannot lead a team as well as manage it? Sinnaps project management software helps you to both effectively lead and efficiently manage any type of project, try it for yourself! 😊


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