Management vs Leadership – What’s the Difference?

Management is a set of behavioral competencies that ensure the right talent, processes, and systems, successfully operate to maintain control within an organization. Management mitigates risk. Successful management can enable profitability and it largely reflects competencies that maintain the status quo. (Better Business Coaching LLP, United Kingdom)

managementvsleadershipLeadership is a set of behavioral competencies that inspire others to ignite, envision, create, be courageous, and achieve change and growth within an organization. Leadership enables calculated risk taking. Leadership inspires others to rethink, re-imagine, and determine what’s missing, what’s possible, and what’s next. (Career & Personal Transitional Coaching, Los Angeles, CA)


Leadership and management must go hand in hand. They are not the same thing. But they are necessarily linked, and complementary. Any effort to separate the two is likely to cause more problems than it solves.

Workers are no longer undifferentiated cogs in an industrial machine, management and leadership are not easily separated. Managers must organize workers, not just to maximize efficiency, but to nurture skills, develop talent and inspire results. (Training/Life Coaching, New Delhi, India)


The simplest way I look at it is that yes, they are different. You cannot have a leader, without followers but that does not hold true for a manager.

 A manager can be extremely effective while dealing with task and or process alone and does not necessarily have to have the interpersonal soft skills that a ‘leader’ does, one who has to influence the direction and motivation of others, when the way is not clear and the path forever changing. (European Institute for Leadership)


 And my very favorite is an example description from the late Stephen Covey:

If you have the critical task of taking a group of people from the ground to the top of a building…

ladderThe manager:

…….. makes sure there is a safe, study ladder that will allow all the people to climb to the top

…….. sets a safe pace for people to start up the ladder, so there’s not too many at once

…….. creates a climate of calmness, so the people do not become over emotional, or frightened

…….. facilitates all other details necessary for the safe ascent of the group to the top

The leader:

……. makes sure the ladder is leaning against the right building, so when the people get to the top, they don’t look out and realize they need to be somewhere else.

In your organization, how do you live out the difference between leadership and management? What adjustments do you need to make so you experience the highest level of effectiveness from both?

We can help….check out these on-demand training courses:

About Teresa Gilbert

Teresa Gilbert is the Founder and Owner of Pathways to Excellence, LLC, Coaching and Consulting Services, and provides services on-site as well as through On-Demand, teleconferencing, and individual and group coaching. Teresa works primarily with new supervisors and managers to help them fully develop their leadership potential.

Teresa worked in administration and management for over 25 years before creating Pathways to Excellence. She is a former Head Start director, a former Federal Monitoring Reviewer, has a Master’s Degree in Education, with a concentration in workforce development; she is a certified facilitator for Franklin Covey, True Colors, , Personality Patch and Poverty Simulation training. Teresa’s greatest passion lies in leadership training at all levels, and working to help programs and organizations become the best they can be.

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