The Difference Between Leadership and Management

Management and Leadership

Management and Leadership

The terms ‘leadership’ and ‘management’ are often used interchangeably. Although a lot of jobs demand both the roles to be often played by the same individual, allowing the words to be used synonymously. A lot has been written to differentiate the two in terms of definitions but even those who strongly disagree on the definitions, agree that these two roles are complementary.

A leader is considered to be the one who focuses on the people, has original ideas, inspires trust and has a long-range perspective. These are one of the many qualities attributed to a leader in Warren Bennis’ 1989 book, “On becoming a leader,” while the manager is mostly about systematically running a structure set by the leader, has good control on those they work with and focuses on short-range perspectives.

The main characteristics of leaders and managers can easily be distinguished in the following three ways:

Counting or Creating:  For managers, the work is more focused on counting and distributing the work evenly instead of adding value to the work. A leader, usually, generates more work than the team creates or rather a more action-based role like “I would like you to finish these for me, while I take care of these things.” They lead by example as opposed to a managers “The tasks A, B and C will be done by you, while she works on D and E.” A manager’s role is more authoritarian,  while a leader is meant to be followed into action.

Power or Influence:  To be perceived as a leader, it is important to notice whether the team consider themselves a subordinate or a follower in your presence. It is important to establish a relationship where team members seek advice and guidance, instead of instructions. A leader, is the influencer in any given situation and not the one being adhered to simply because they are in the position of power to dish out instructions in the situation.

People or Work: Managers have the massive responsibility to ensure that all the work is completed. They are entrusted with ensuring that the nitty gritty details of the day-to-day running of the establishment is done properly, which in turn they outsource to various employees, running a system based on specialization and organization. A leader, on the other hand, is responsible for influencing the masses to achieve the organizational success that the Manager is working to keep on schedule.

It is understandable how these two terms are used synonymously more often than not, because in most cases it is not possible to be one without being the other, especially in the modern working culture: a Manager must inspire and a leader must maximize efficiency.

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