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Home » Articles » Leadership vs. Management: Differences explained

Leadership vs. Management: Differences explained

A leader and manager are at the forefront of several business operations and holding down the fort. Both have exceptional skills that help move things forward in a company.

It is easy to get the two mixed up since they both perform similar tasks and qualities. However, that is not always the case.

This article breaks down the similarities and differences between the two.

Defining leadership

A leader is the one who paints the bigger picture for the company. Leaders are the ones who create the vision of what they want to achieve.

They are responsible for cultivating a positive and collaborative work environment by empowering and motivating employees to do their best.

In some ways, these are the people who lead by example for other members to model their behavior after.

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Leaders serve as guides or mentors who help the team achieve their full potential. They support their team and help nurture their skills, whether it is in creativity, risk-taking, and problem-solving.

Of course, being a leader is not limited to just one person. Anyone on the team can exhibit the skills of a good leader.

Defining leadership
Defining leadership

Defining management

Managers are in charge of spearheading and executing the leader’s vision. The role is usually assigned to one person to help bring order and direction to the team.

In addition to keeping the team in line, managers are responsible for the planning, organization, and development of the team’s operations. Whether they are on-site or a remote manager, they ensure everything goes smoothly and according to plan.

Part of a manager’s duties is delegating tasks to the team, making sure each job is done by the best person possible. A good manager provides constructive feedback, which helps your team members improve and grow. 

Leadership vs. Management: Key differences

Leaders and managers have key differences despite having similar roles. Here is a breakdown of what makes them different:

Strategic vision

As mentioned earlier, a leader creates a strategic vision and thinks of a bigger picture for the team. This includes setting goals and objectives.

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While the leader says – “This is what we have to do,” the manager is in charge of determining how to achieve it. 

Managers are the ones bringing the leader’s vision to life. They do this to ensure the team performs at their best and meets objectives.

Strategic vision
Leadership vs. Management: Key differences

Creating ideas

Leaders are the brains of the operation, while managers serve as the hands. This is in relation to coming up with the bigger picture as leaders find ways to drive success to the company.

Managers take these ideas and put them into action. They are responsible for turning the leader’s ideas into reality.

Company culture

A company culture establishes the values and core competencies of a company. Leaders set the tone by forming the company culture and determining what they want the company to be and achieve.

Additionally, their role is to lead by example and emulate the values they set for the company. Only then will they be able to foster a company culture successfully.

On the other hand, managers are in charge of implementing these values and ensuring that the company internalizes them and applies them in work.

They monitor the employees and provide feedback, which goes back to the leader and is incorporated into the company culture.

Similarities between leadership and management

Despite their differences, leaders and managers both strive to bring the company to its full potential. Here are some ways the two overlap:

Prioritize communication

Both leaders and managers must maintain open communication and hear their team members’ perspectives. This ensures the team feels valued and engaged, which is always better for improving results and morale.

Achieving company goals

Leaders and managers approach work with the company’s best interests in mind.

The two work hand-in-hand with their team to ensure that everything they do ultimately results in meeting company objectives.

Team development

Aside from the company, the leader and manager ensure that their team is well-supported and is able to grow from their job.

Both are responsible for guiding team members towards the path of growth and development, while providing feedback and mentoring.

Leadership vs. Management: Which style fits you more?

One role is not better than the other. Whether you are a leader or a manager, this position is undoubtedly one of the most important ones in the company.

A great deal of hard work and effort is involved in fulfilling your duties and making your business the best it can be.

There is a lot of room for both roles to overlap, meaning you do not have to limit yourself to just one set of responsibilities. 

Leadership vs. Management Which style fits you more
Leadership vs. Management Which style fits you more

Leaders make great managers, and managers turn out to be great leaders as well.

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