How to Distinguish between Management and Leadership

By Dummies Press

Often, people confuse the term leader with the term manager. But there’s a big difference between them. A manager manages process, programs, and data. Leaders, on the other hand, guide people, build fellowship, and steer organizations to success (read: make money and grow). Leaders set the direction; managers follow the plan to get there. Yes, managers are indispensible when it comes to creating and monitoring policy. But leaders define and uphold an organization’s principles. And leaders — more specifically, engaged leaders — really drive engagement in an organization.

Management plays an essential role in the stability of a company. In fact, it’s critical for leaders to be effective managers as well as effective leaders. But because employee engagement entails a pervasive change in corporate culture, it unfortunately cannot be simply assigned to just any manager or management team.

Before you can get a handle on how leadership drives engagement, it’s important to understand the difference between a leader and a manager. For help, see the following table.

Management versus Leadership

Management Leadership
Management is about control. Leadership is about trust and empowerment.
Management is about authority and hierarchy. Leadership is about alignment and expertise.
Management involves discrete tasks. Leadership’s focus is on vision.
Management involves one-way communication. Leadership involves two-way communication.
Management is characterized by following the plan. Leadership is characterized by experimentation.
Management assumes a dominating perspective. Leadership invites multiple perspectives.
With management, there is often one decision-maker. With leadership, team input is emphasized.
Management is about measurement. Leadership is about personal accountability.
Management focuses on quick decision-making. Leadership focuses on wise decision-making.
Management sticks with the tried and true. Leadership seeks innovation.
Management assumes the role of director. Leadership assumes the role of coach and counselor.
Management seeks to satisfy employees. Leadership seeks to engage employees.

 

The next table offers another way of looking at the difference between managers and leaders.

Managers versus Leaders

Managers Leaders
Take care of where you are Take you to a new place
Deal with complexity Deal with uncertainty
Are efficient Are effective
Create policies Establish principles