Management vs. Leadership

The Traits That Set Them Apart

There’s a great deal of talk today about management and leadership. Bookshelves grow larger as more authors pump the market full of management and leadership books. There are more blogs, podcasts, and webinars on the subjects than ever before. But what is the difference between management and leadership, and what sets them apart from each other?

There are hundreds (if not thousands) of definitions of management and leadership. There are also lists that compare the differences (which we’ll look at in a moment), but let me begin with two basic definitions.

  • Management is the ability to establish on-going structures, systems, and tasks, and then manage people to complete them.
  • Leadership is the ability to draw potential out of people, and influence them toward a shared vision.

While people tend to naturally operate as one or the other, both leadership and management are necessary in organizations.

  • All Leadership and No Management = Vision without Action
  • All Management and No Leadership = Routine without Risk
  • Leadership and Management = Inspiration plus Execution

So if leadership and management are both essential in an organization, what are the differences? ResourcefulManager.com recently put together this helpful info graphic that points to 17 distinct differences.

leadersvsmanagersIn General…

  • Leadership is about the future, and management is about the present.
  • Leadership is people focused, and management is systems focused.
  • Leadership is about possibilities and dreams, and management is about plans and details.
  • Leadership is about effectiveness, and management is about efficiency.

Question: What other differences would you note between leadership and management?