What is the Difference Between Management and Leadership?

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A lot of people don’t know the difference between a leader and a manager. For many people, a manager has to be a leader and they have to be someone that offers strategic direction within a business.

Are they really the same thing though?

We are going to explore the questions and compare and contrast leadership and management. What we will find out is that the two are actually very different from each other. Not everyone who can manage a group of people well is good at leadership and not everyone who can lead and organisation from a strategic and visionary point of view is a ‘people person’ who can deal with the day to day jobs of managing a team.

So, leads have a look at leader vs manager to find out what the differences are and why it is important to differentiate between the two.

compare and contrast leadership and management

Defining a leader

Before we get into what a manager is we first have to explore how we define a leader.

Leadership is generally defined as seeing things as a ‘big picture’. This includes characteristics such as adapting to market variations, motivating employees to buy into their vision for the business and driving positive change. They often aren’t too concerned with the day to day aspects of this plan – we will see below why this is more to do with a manager – but instead, they come up with a vision for the future.

Leaders tend to be very unique in what they do. They don’t follow the crowd or just copy what everyone else is doing – they implement their own approach. In fact, leaders are known to take risks that managers wouldn’t and they tend to look more in the long term as opposed to finding a quick fix to a problem.

What is a manager?

A manager is a bit different.

A leader is someone who inspires and motivates whereas a manager is more concerned with the everyday running of a business. This includes things such as recruiting staff, setting and sticking to targets, measuring performance and also incorporates other tasks like budgets.

Problem-solving and making decisions are highly desirable traits in management and managers need to have this in abundance. A manager is more concerned with how the business operates on a day to day basis whereas a leader creates a culture where people follow the vision. We can look at Winston Churchill as a great example. While he was an extraordinary leader in that he created the vision and got people behind him – it is left up to bureaucrats and other officials to actually carry out his ideas.

Top 10 differences between managers and leaders

When comparing leadership and management it is important to recognise the differences and we have only listed a few so far. When you start to compare leadership and management and what traits make up each one you will see how different it is. Some characteristics and more suited to managers while others are better matched to leaders.

What are the top 10 differences between managers and leaders?

The following are taken from Warren Bennis in his 1989 book – ‘On Becoming a Leader’.

1. The manager administers; the leader innovates.
2. The manager is a copy; the leader is an original.
3. The manager maintains; the leader develops.
4. The manager focuses on systems and structure; the leader focuses on people.
5. The manager relies on control; the leader inspires trust.
6. The manager has a short-range view; the leader has a long-range perspective.
7. The manager asks how and when; the leader asks what and why.
8. The manager has his or her eye always on the bottom line; the leader’s eye is on the horizon.
9. The manager imitates; the leader originates.
10. The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it.

Comparing Leadership and Management

There are very big differences between what we call a leader and what we call a manager.

For many people they are one in the same. They think that a manager needs to be a leader and that a leader needs to be good at manager people. This isn’t the case.

Businesses, whether it is an affiliate program or another type of organisation, needs to have both. There has to be someone that can create the overarching aim and vision of the business and there has to be people who can put this vision into practice every day. Leading people v managing work are different concepts. Read how to become a super affiliate here.

While there does exist a bit of an overlap between a leader and manager it isn’t useful to think of them as the same. When you begin to see how different they actually are then you will recognise the value of having both in business.

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