Leadership Versus Management

Peter Drucker said “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things”

Fundamental difference between leadership and management is as follows:

  • New directions are set by leader. Leadership is setting a vision for a group that is followed by group.
  • Controlling or guiding peoples as per the principles or values is management.

It is an oversimplification to assume that leaders lead and followers follow because the relationship between management, leadership, and followers is a complex one.

Management and leadership are generally part of the similar role because there is a frequent change of the direction (leadership) and controlling resources to achieve that direction (management). The difference can be seen more clearly by looking at some examples of leadership without management, and management without leadership.

What is Leadership?

Leadership in business is company’s management capacity to set and achieve challenging targets. It also involves taking decisive and fast action when required, outperforms the competition, and inspire others to perform at the highest level.

It can be challenging to place a value on leadership or other qualitative aspects of a company as compared to the quantitative metrics that are generally tracked and are much easier to compare between organizations.

Individuals with strong leadership skills within the business world often rise to executive positions like CEO (chief executive officer), COO (chief operating officer), CFO (chief financial officer), president, and chairman.

Key points

  • Leadership is setting and achieving targets, handling the competition, and solving problems decisively and quickly.
  • Leadership also refers to the tone a company’s management sets in terms of the company culture.
  • Some people with strong leadership skills within the business world rise to become the CEO, COO, CFO, president, or chairman of their companies.

Leadership provides direction for organization and its workers. Employees should know the direction in which organization is headed and whom to follow to succeed. Leadership involves showing workers the way to effectively perform their responsibilities and frequently supervising the completion of their tasks.

Leadership is additionally about setting a positive example for workers to follow, by being excited about the work, being motivated to find out new things, and helping out as required in both individual and team activities.

Leadership involves setting and achieving goals, taking action, and beating the competition, but it also relates to the tone of the company’s management and what quite culture is made for the workers.

Effective leadership includes exhibiting a strong character. Leaders exhibit honesty, integrity, trustworthiness, and ethics. Leaders act in line with how they speak and are liable for others’ success within the company.

Strong leadership involves clear communication skills. Leaders speak with and hear staff members, answer questions and concerns, and are empathetic. Leaders use effective communication skills for moving the organization forward and achieving new levels of success.

True leadership sees where the organization is headed and plans the steps needed to reach there. Visualizing what’s possible, following trends within the industry, and taking risks to grow the business are all required of leaders.

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Productive leadership shows optimism and provides positive energy for workers. Leaders find answers to challenges and reassure and encourage workers when things go awry. Leaders find ways for workers to work as a team and achieve results to an efficient and effective manner.

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What is Management?

Many management philosophers have defined management in their own ways. Management is the administration and coordination of tasks to achieve a goal. Such administrative activities include setting the company’s strategy and coordinating the staff efforts to achieve these objectives using available resources.

Word “Management” can also be used for referring to the seniority structure of staff members within an organization.

A leader has certain qualities and attributes which assist him in playing a directing role and wielding commanding influence which others. Leadership is an integral part of management and plays an important role in managerial operations, while management is an integral component of technical and social processes.

Management in some form or another is an integral part of living and is important wherever human efforts are to be undertaken to achieve desired goals. The essential ingredients of management are always at play, whether we manage our lives or our business.

For example, let us check out the managerial role of a housewife and the way she uses the managerial ingredients in managing the house. First, she appraises her household and its needs. She forecasts the requirements of the household for a period of one week or a month or longer. She keeps an eye on her resources and any limitation of these resources. She plans and organizes her resources to get the utmost benefits out of those resources. She observes and controls the household budget and expenses.

In case of a large household, she divides the work among other members and coordinates their activities. She encourages and motivates them to try to do their best in completing their activities. She is usually in search of improving, mention goals, resources, and in means to achieve these goals. These ingredients, generally, are the essential functions

Role of a Leader

The primary difference between management and leadership is that it is not necessary that leaders hold or occupy a management position. A leader need not be an authority figure in the organization; a leader can be anyone.

Leaders are followed because of their 

  • Personality
  • Behavior
  • Beliefs

A leader personally invests in projects and tasks and shows a high level of passion for work. Leaders are interested in the success of their followers, enabling them to reach their goals to satisfaction. These are not necessarily organizational goals.

It is not necessary that a leader always have tangible or formal power over his followers. Temporary power is awarded to a leader. It can be conditional, based on the ability of the leaders to continually inspire and motivate their followers. 

Role of a Manager

Basically, there are 5 Primary Functions of Management. They are as follows:

1. Planning
2. Organizing
3. Staffing
4. Directing
5. Controlling

The controlling function comprised of following three functions: coordination, reporting, and budgeting. As a result, the controlling function can be further broken into these three separate functions.

Luther Gulick coined the word POSDCORB based on these seven functions. Seven functions are represented by POSDCORB. P represents Planning, O represents Organizing, S represents Staffing, D represents Directing, Co represents Co-ordination, R represents reporting & B represents Budgeting. However, Planning, Organizing, Staffing, Directing, and Controlling are commonly recognized as functions of management.

(1) Planning

Planning is future-oriented and determines an organization’s direction. It is a rational and systematic way of decision making today which will affect the longer term of the corporate. It is a sort of organized foresight also as corrective hindsight. It involves predicting for the longer term and attempting to regulate the events. It involves the skill to foresee the consequences of current actions in future.

An effective planning program incorporates the effect of both external and internal factors. External factors are as follows:

  • Lack of resources — both material and capital
  • General economic trend as far as inflation and interest rates are concerned
  • Dynamic technological advancements
  • Increased governmental regulation regarding community interests
  • Unstable international political environments

The internal factors that affect planning are:

  • Limited growth opportunities because of saturation requiring diversification
  • Changing patterns of the workforce
  • More complex organizational structures
  • Decentralization

(2) Organizing

Organizing needs a good structure of authority, and hence the direction and flow of such authority through which subdivisions of work are defined, arranged and coordinated to ensure that all parts are related to each other in a coherent and united manner so that the prescribed objectives are attained.

Thus the function of organizing involves the determination of activities that are required to be completed in order to succeed in the corporate goals. It also involves assigning these activities to the right personnel, and delegating the authority to complete these activities in a cohesive manner.

It follows, therefore, that the function of organizing is related to:

  • Identifying the tasks that need to be performed and grouping them whenever necessary
  • Assigning these tasks to the staff while defining their authority and responsibility
  • Delegating this authority to these employees
  • Establishing a relationship between authority and responsibility
  • Coordinating these activities
    (3) Staffing

Staffing is the task of hiring and retaining appropriate work-force for the enterprise both at managerial also as non-managerial levels. Following are also parts of staffing

  • Recruiting
  • Training
  • Developing
  • Compensating
  • Evaluating employees
  • Maintaining workforce with proper incentives and motivations

Since the human element is the most important factor think about the method of management, it is important to recruit the proper personnel.
This function is even more important because people differ in their knowledge, skills, intelligence, fitness, experience, age, and attitude. This complicates the function. 

Management must understand, apart from the technical and operational competence, the sociological and psychological structure of the workforce.

(4) Directing

The function of directing is linked with leadership,  motivation,  communication, and supervision to ensure that employees perform their activities in the most efficient manner, to achieve the desired goals.

The leadership element includes giving instructions and guiding the team members about methods and procedures.

The communication has to be open both ways to ensure that the information can be passed to the team members and their feedback can be received as well.

Motivation is very important. The highly motivated people show outstanding performance with minimum direction from their superiors.

Supervising team members leads to continuous progress reports as well as assure the superiors that the directions are being followed properly.

(5) Controlling

The control function comprises of those activities that are done to make sure that there is no deviation from the pre-arranged plans. The activities consist of creating standards for the work performance, measuring the performance and comparing it with the set standards. It also includes taking corrective actions as and when needed to correct any deviations.

The controlling function includes:

a. Establishing the standard performance

b. Measuring the actual performance

c. Measurement of actual performance with the pre-determined standard and finding out the deviations.

d. Taking the corrective actions

All these functions of management are closely interconnected. However, these functions are indistinguishable and virtually unrecognizable on the job. It is important to focus each function separately and deal with it.

Qualities of a Leader

It is evident from research that great leaders consistently possess following 10 core leadership skills:

  • Integrity
  • Ability to delegate
  • Communication
  • Self-awareness
  • Gratitude
  • Learning agility
  • Influence
  • Empathy
  • Courage
  • Respect


The importance of integrity should be obvious. Though it is part of employee evaluation, integrity is essential for the individual and the organization. It is very critical for top-level officials who are charting the organization’s course and making countless other significant decisions. Make sure your organization reinforces the importance of integrity to leaders at various levels.

Ability to Delegate

Delegating is one of the core responsibilities of a leader, but it can be tricky to delegate effectively. The goal isn’t just to free yourself up — it’s also to enable your direct reports, facilitate teamwork, provide autonomy, lead to better decision-making, and help your direct reports grow. In order to delegate well, you also need to build trust with your team.


Effective leadership and effective communication are intertwined. You need to be able to communicate in a variety of ways, from transmitting information to coaching your people. And you must be able to communicate with a range of people across roles, social identities, and more.


While this is a more inwardly focused skill, self-awareness is paramount for leadership. The better you understand yourself, the more effective you can be. 


Giving thanks will actually make you a better leader. Gratitude can lead to higher self-esteem, reduced depression and anxiety, and even better sleep. Few people regularly say “thank you” at work, even though most people say they would be willing to work harder for an appreciative boss.

Learning Agility

Learning agility is the skill to know what to do when you do not know what to do. If you are able to excel in unfamiliar situations, you might already be learning agile. Learning agility cannot be fostered through practice, experience, and effort.


For some people, “influence” feels like a dirty word. If you are able to convince people through logical, emotional, or cooperative appeals then you can be an inspiring and effective leader. Influence is different from manipulation, and it needs to be done authentically and transparently. It requires emotional intelligence and trust-building.


Empathy is correlated with job performance and a critical part of emotional intelligence and leadership effectiveness. If you show more empathy towards your direct reports, our research shows you’re more likely to be viewed as a better performer by your boss. Empathy can be learned, and in addition to making you more effective, it will also improve work for you and those around you. 


It can be difficult to speak at work, whether you want to provide feedback to a direct report, or flag a concern for someone above you or voice a new idea. That is why courage is an important skill for good leaders. Instead of avoiding issues or allowing conflicts to aggravate, courage enables leaders to move things in the right direction.


One of the most important things a leader can do on daily basis is “treating people with respect”. It eases tensions and conflict, create trust, and improve effectiveness. Respect is more than the absence of disrespect, and it can be shown in many different ways.

Qualities of a Manager

A manager must have following traits to be a successful and effective one:


To be an effective manager, one must be able to lead employees in an efficient manner. A manager has multiple responsibilities. Manager must be able to lead a team.


If one does not have experience working in professional environment and leading a team, it will be hard to step up as a manager. One of the best ways to gain experience in a management role is to volunteer, either within your field or with a nonprofit organization. Volunteer to help manage and produce events whether it is money raising for an organization or organizing an event.


For being an effective manager, one must be able to communicate with team. It does not mean only communicating job responsibilities and expectations; it also means listening to team members and working with them closely to produce results.


Besides experience knowledge is also important for being a successful manager. Many different degrees are offered for managers. This includes a bachelor’s degree in business or a master’s degree in leadership or project management. One can also get a certificate in project management, ethics, entrepreneurship, or human resource management.


If you are not organized in your position, chances are high that the employees you manage won’t be either. There are many online resources that can motivate you to get organized. A personal planner can be bought or an app can be downloaded on phone that can remind one of meetings, tasks one need to complete every day, etc.

Time Management

Time management is another important factor for being a successful manager. If you are late every day, your employees might assume that it is acceptable to be late. Time management is also very important when it comes to prioritizing your day, making sure you have time to communicate with your employees, and accomplishing goals throughout the week.


A manager who leads a team must be reliable. This means as a manager you must be available for your employees, getting things done that you said you would, and supporting your team whenever needed.


If you do not know how to delegate tasks and projects, your role as a manager will be very difficult. Never be afraid to ask your team members to help complete an assignment. You might assume that it is easier to do everything yourself but this will add more time to your busy schedule, and you will not be able to allow your employees to do what they were supposed to do.


To be an effective manager, you need to be confident in your skills, experience, and decisions. It does not mean that you should be arrogant or feel that you are better than your employees. It means you are part of management for a reason and you should be proud of it and be an inspiration for your team members.

Respect for Employees

If you do not respect your employees, there will definitely be pressure and anxiety in workplace. Be aware of their time and abilities, and be able to listen and communicate with them, and be a resource of knowledge and guidance.

Difference between leadership and management

Difference between leadership and management is significant. Following are nine important differences between leadership and management:

First difference between leadership and management: Leaders create a vision, managers create goals
Leaders paint an image of what they see as possible and motivate and involve their people in turning that vision into reality. They think beyond what individuals do. They know that high-functioning teams can accomplish more working together than individuals working autonomously.

Managers focus on setting, measuring and achieving goals. They control situations to accomplish or exceed their objectives.

Second difference between leadership and management: Leaders are change agents, managers maintain the current situation
Leaders are proud disrupters. Innovation is their mantra. They embrace change and know that albeit things are working, there might be a far better way forward. And they understand and accept that changes to the system often create waves. 
Third difference between leadership and management: Leaders are unique, managers are not

Leaders are willing to be themselves. They are self-aware and work actively to make their unique and differentiated personal brand. They are comfortable in their own shoes. They are authentic and transparent.

Managers mimic the competencies and behaviors they learn from others and adopt their leadership style instead of defining it.

Fourth difference between leadership and management: Leaders take risks, managers control risk

Leaders try new things even if they do not succeed. They know that failure is often a step towards the success path. Managers work to minimize risk. Instead of embracing problems, they seek to avoid or control them.

Fifth difference between leadership and management: Leaders think long-term, managers think short-term

Leaders do what they say. They stay motivated toward a very distant goal. They remain motivated without receiving regular rewards. Managers focus on short-term goals. They seek regular acknowledgment or accolades.

Sixth difference between leadership and management: Leaders grow personally, managers believe existing and proven skills

Leaders know if they are not learning something new each day, they are not standing still, they’re falling behind. They remain curious and seek to stay relevant in an ever-changing world. Managers often work on what made them successful. They try to perfect existing skills and adopt proven behaviors.

Seventh difference between leadership and management: Leaders make relationships, managers make systems and processes

Leaders know who their stakeholders are and spend most of their time with them. They build loyalty and trust by delivering as per their promise regularly. 

Managers make structures required for setting and achieving goals. They ensure that systems are there to achieve desired outcomes.

Eighth difference between leadership and management: Leaders coach, managers direct

Leaders know that team member who works for them have the answers or have the ability to find them. They find their people competent and are optimistic about their potential. Managers assign tasks and guide them on the way to accomplish them.

Ninth difference between leadership and management: Leaders create fans, managers have employees

Leaders have people who follow them. Their followers become their fans and promoters. They help them build their brand and achieve their goals. Their fans help them in increasing their credibility and visibility.

Managers have employees who follow directions given by the manager and seek to please the boss.


Managers and leaders are both important. When both the qualities are found in the same person, it is a great skill set. Leaders have people following them while managers have people who work for them.

A successful business owner must be a strong leader and a manager to get their team on board to follow them towards their vision of success.

Six Sigma focuses on making any type of operation more effective and efficient. Learning Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma tools and techniques can provide those who aspire to leadership a method for making better decisions. 

Six Sigma is a shift in mindset, and managers of all types can get benefitted tremendously from any level of Six Sigma training. It builds on the data-driven management of the Green Belt and incorporates leadership skills like decision-making and time management.

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