Leadership vs Management. Do you know the difference?

Leadership and management work together to help the organization and team succeed

Some key differences 🔍

The leader is chosen because he/she plays a role. The manager is hired to do a job. A "leader" who is followed out of obbligation/fear, or just lack of options, is just the boss.

Leadership is about vision, inspiration, encouragement and support. Management is about goals, planning, monitoring and coordination.

Leaders grow personally, while managers rely on existing, proven skills.

The leader is capable of bringing people together towards a common goal. The manager is focused on controlling situations, people and outcomes.

Leaders take risks, managers control risk.

A leader is able to bring out the best of each person, building relationships and optimizing the team. The manager must implement systems and optimize processes.

Leadership is more qualitative, while management is more quantitative.

The results of leadership are often intangible, while the results of management are easily measurable.

Leaders promote change. Managers maintain the status quo.

A leader creates fans and followers. A manager has employees.

Leadership is strategical. Management is tactical.

The role of the leader 🧭

Leaders have vision and seek out future opportunities to ensure the sustainability of the organization.

They embrace uncertainty, are a catalyst for change and create a culture of innovation.

A leader is not the boss and does not have to make all the decisions.

Leaders focus on people. They know who their stakeholders are and spend most of their time with them. They build loyalty and trust by consistently delivering on their promise.


The function of the manager 🎯

Managers support an organization by executing tasks, functions, and activities that align with the organizational strategy.

They focus on the structures necessary to set and achieve goals. They focus on the analytical and ensure systems are in place to attain desired outcomes. They work with individuals and their goals and objectives.

A manager ensures that the day-to-day operations are executed according to plan, and constantly evaluates their performance against a series of key performance indicators.

When to lead and when to manage 🤔

Lead your team when people are producing good results and have strong capabilities in their work; when you can trust in their skills, and need only to define the goal.

Manage your team when completing work on a deadline, delegating important tasks and in situations which require specific results. Tell the team exactly what is expected of them, what they need to do, making sure to have examples and clear directions for them to follow.

New team members may need more hands-on management until they are more confident and skilled in their duties. Experienced members who are highly qualified will do better with minimal direction.

Once you become more accustomed to your team and their needs, you will be able to approach each situation by asking yourself if your team needs to be managed, led or a combination of both.

Both are important! 🤝

Management skills are critical to the success of any enterprise. Many time managers operate in highly complex environments, with significant responsibilities, and constantly motivate their teams to achieve outstanding performance results.


Leaders serve as the cheerleaders-in-chief for their teams, but there’s a lot more to it than that. Leadership establishes the mission, vision, and strategy of the organization. More importantly, leadership offers ongoing clarity to their teams to ensure that the objectives that align with the strategy are transparent.

This is article is a mix of things from personal experience as well as good points made in the following references: