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5 Key Differences between Leadership and Management


Lead Academy

5 Mins Read

The two terms “leadership” and “management” are the two most frequently used terms in the corporate sector. While their roles are often considered the same, they actually have some differences. This blog opts to clarify the distinct roles of “leaders” and “managers.”

Read the blog thoroughly to know what is the difference between “leadership” and “management,” their vision, roles and responsibilities.

What is Leadership?

Leadership is the quality of influencing people to achieve the desired outcome. It is about taking the risks and challenges. A leader is the one who acts as the driving force to accomplish tasks and reach the company’s goals. He is both the mentor and the motivator.

Since leadership is a quality, it has nothing to do with the title, position, or any personal attributes. As Kevin Kruse mentioned in Forbes, “Leadership has nothing to do with seniority or one’s position in the hierarchy of a company. Too many talk about a company’s leadership referring to the senior most executives in the organisation. They are just that, senior executives. Leadership doesn’t automatically happen when you reach a certain pay grade. Hopefully, you find it there, but there are no guarantees.”

Leaders have certain strategies and sets of visions that enable an organisation and its employees to grow and succeed over time. Leaders pursue innovation and inspire others to do so; they do not impose their decisions on others.

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Key Leadership Skills:

  • Ability to inspire
  • Ability to formulate vision
  • Communication skills
  • Strategic thinking
  • Accountability
  • High integrity

Also Read: What are the 4 types of leadership

What is Management?

Management is the technique of getting employees to follow the rules with the aim of reducing risk and delivering predictable outcomes. It is about effectiveness and efficiency. A manager is the one who remains responsible for management, i.e. planning, organising, leading, and controlling.

Management demands resources to complete tasks within a specific timeline. The managers work with their team to set goals, complete pre-planned tasks and provide feedback. They measure success by seeing if the team has achieved the set goals.

Manager discussing work with his team in a conference room

Key Management Skills:

  • Organisational skills
  • Communication skills
  • Time-management skills
  • Team-player
  • Goal-oriented

Difference between Leadership and Management:

In this part of the blog we will explain the difference between leadership and management which are as follows:

Difference in Roles:

Leaders, with their leadership quality, influence and motivate others to work for the organisation’s success. They communicate with the team members instead of ordering them.

On the other hand, the manager’s roles include controlling team members, following strategies set by the leaders and working towards achieving a particular objective.

Difference in Vision:

Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality”- Warren Bennis.
One of the notable qualities of a good leader is that they possess a vision of the future. They develop strategies by thinking ahead and then communicate the strategic vision to people. Leaders mostly focus on the future and utilise their vision to guide change.

In contrast to the leaders, managers focus on the present and work on implementing processes like staffing, budgeting and organisational structuring. Their vision is bound within planning and organising tasks to reach the company’s objectives.

Difference in Approach:

The characteristics of a good leader is to be able to influence and motivate people. They concentrate more on the development of their team members besides working towards achieving the company’s set goals.

Managers achieve their goals by distributing responsibilities to the team. They break down the long-term goals into tiny segments and utilise available resources to reach the desired outcome.

Difference in Position:

“Manager” is a title that refers to a specific role within an organisation. They have subordinates and the subordinates report to them as a part of their work duty. Managers are in charge of those people and their results.

A successful team leader standing out of the crowd

On the contrary, leaders have nothing to do with titles. Leadership is not about position. Any employee of any hierarchical level can possess leadership skills and cause change to happen. Leaders have followers. The followers come to the leader because they prefer to. It is not a part of their work duty.

Difference in Focus:

A leader focuses on achieving new and better results by analysing and assessing. They challenge the status quo. In contrast, managers do not assess or analyse. They focus on carrying out plans correctly. Managers accept the status quo.

Leadership VS Management in a Nutshell:

Leadership Management
Leaders focus on long-term results Managers are accountable for short-term results
Leaders pursue innovation Managers prefer existing, proven skills
Leaders challenge the status quo Managers accept or try to achieve the status quo
Leaders coach people to improve themselves Managers direct people to achieve the company goals
Leaders are risk takers Managers avoid risks
Leaders have vision Managers have tactics
Leaders lead Managers follow
Leadership is a quality Management is a technique


What do Managers Do?

While managers perform a number of tasks, primarily they remain responsible for-

  • Planning
  • Organising
  • Staffing
  • Directing
  • Controlling

What are the similarities between leadership and management?

There are many ways in which management and leadership have similarities. Both leaders and managers require establishing objectives, creating strategies and tracking the development. Both demand effective communication, decision-making, problem-solving, and collaboration with others. Also, they need to be accountable for their decisions and be open about them.

What are the top leadership and management skills?

The top leadership and management skills include-

  • Decision-making
  • Problem solving
  • Critical thinking
  • Delegation
  • Conflict resolution
  • Interpersonal communication


As there exists a thin line between leadership and management, the differences might not be visible in general. However, both play a crucial role in business. It is the effective leadership styles and proper management skills that help an organisation to grow.

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