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over 6 years ago by Eavanne Allen

Leadership vs. Management – is there a difference


While leadership and management are often viewed as more or less the same on principle, are these two really overlapping concepts?  If not, what’s the difference?

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things”, says Peter Drucker. In order for an organisation to be successful, you need to have both strong leaders and managers who can drive the organisation on the path to success.

Leaders are a driving force; they cause things to happen, that otherwise seemed impossible. They have a clear vision of the future and can foresee possibilities that are often discontinuous with the past. Additionally, leaders know how to articulate a vision, designing strategies and inspiring motivation and growth in others in line with the vision.

Additionally, these are highly motivated and steady in their views. Leadership is more about maintaining the status quo whereas leading is more visionary and dynamic.

According to Kotler, “ Managers are individuals, to whom the task of management is assigned and is generally believed that they achieve the desired objectives and goals through the key functions of budgeting, planning, staffing, organising, controlling and problem solving.” On the contrary, “leaders align, inspire and motivate people as well as set a direction.”

It is believed that leaders are considered to possess the creativity and passion, whereas managers are believed to have the persistence, mind and rational.

While there are a number of traits that make up a strong leader, some key characteristics include:

  • Integrity and Honesty – These are critical to success to make your followers believe you and your vision
  • Vision – Know where you stand, where you are headed and help your team map a clear path for the future
  • Inspiration – Make people in your team understand their roles and inspire them to utilise their strengths and play their part in helping you achieve your vision
  • Ability to think Differently – Additionally, leaders have the ability to think and do things differently and have the courage to challenge the status quo
  • Excellent Communication Skills – In order to make sure each person on your team is aware of where you are headed, clear communication is important
  • Like leaders, there are some common traits that make up a strong manager. These include:
  • Ability to successfully execute a vision - Strong managers have the ability to take a strategic vision and create a roadmap to be followed by the team
  • Ability to Direct – They monitor day-to-day efforts, analyse the resources needed and anticipate needs along the way
  • Manage Processes and Operations – They also establish work processes, guidelines, and operating procedures

In most organisations when managers are promoted to leadership positions, they fail to embrace their new roles and step up to lead in their new capacity. If this transition does not go well, the leadership pipeline will become blocked.

This happens mostly in organisations where smart people are promoted from within the organisation and do not get adequate support in their leadership development. These organisations need to take some steps to make sure the newly promoted talent has the support it needs to succeed at a higher level.