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25 Differences Between Management and Leadership

Regardless of your formal position in your organisation, do you regard yourself as a manager, leader, both, or neither? Perhaps you are an official manager and an unofficial leader. Or perhaps a team member with no designated authority who leads others by the strength of your personality. Or even a leader who leaves management to others. To help you understand how these two functions are different yet closely related, here are 25 differences between management and leadership.

1. "Management: ...the rational assessment of a situation, the systematic selection of goals, the development of strategies to achieve those goals; the marshalling of resources; the rational design, organisation, direction and control of all this. Leadership: Results through people." (Professor Hal Leavitt)

2. Noah, when he heard the weather forecast, said "Build an ark!" That's Leadership. When he got on the ark, he said "Don't let the elephants see what the rabbits are doing!" That's Management!

3. Managers have subordinates; leaders have followers. (changingminds)

4. Management style is transactional, in that the manager tells the subordinate what to do, and the subordinate does this not because they are a blind robot, but because they have been promised a reward (at minimum their salary) for doing so. Leadership style is transformational, in that people do what is needed because it changes them in some way at a deeper level.

5. Managers minimize risk; leaders take risks.

6. The maintenance of the organisation is essentially a management function: measuring, looking back, assessing, taking stock, taking careful decisions. Taking the organisation into areas of growth, change and development, to make the most of it, is what leadership is all about.

7. Managers avoid conflict; leaders use conflict.

8. The word "leadership" comes from the Old English word "lad" for a "course". A "lode" is a vein that leads or guides to ore; a lodestone is a magnetic stone that guides; the lode-star is the name for the star that guides sailors, the Pole star. The word "management" comes from the Latin word "manus", the hand, from which we also get "maintenance" and "mainstay". Leadership guides by setting a ship's course. Management keeps a hand on the tiller.

9. Managers react to events; leaders act to create events.

10. Managers think incrementally, whilst leaders think radically. Managers do things by the book and follow company policy, while leaders follow their own intuition, which may in turn be of more benefit to the company.

11. A manager is a title that can be given that signifies a position; a leader is a title that other people give you.

12. Managers have a “you need to do this” mentality while leaders create an aura of “we’re all in this together”.

13. Managers are focused on the bottom line – Leaders are focused on potential.

14. "Managers are often so busy cutting through the undergrowth they don't even realise they're in the wrong jungle. A leader is a person who climbs the tallest tree, surveys the entire situation and yells: "Wrong jungle!"" (Stephen Covey)

15. The manager is a copy; the leader is an original.

16. The manager is the classic good soldier; the leader is his or her own person.

17. Managers: of the mind, accurate, calculated, routine, statistical, methodical: a science. Leaders: of the spirit, compounded of personality and vision: an art.

18. "Management is about now, leadership about the future; one implements goals, the other sets them; one relies on control, the other inspires trust; one deals in rational processes, the other in emotional horizons." (Amin Rajan)

19. The manager asks how and when; the leader asks what and why.

20. Management is about coping with complexity. Without good management, complex enterprises tend to become chaotic. Good management brings a degree of order and consistenc. Leadership, by contrast, is about coping with change. More change always demands more leadership.

21. Managers embrace process, seek stability and control, and instinctively try to resolve problems quickly – sometimes before they fully understand a problem’s significance. Leaders, in contrast, tolerate chaos and lack of structure and are willing to delay closure in order to understand the issues more fully.

22. Managers are necessary; leaders are essential.

23. Managers increase the efficiency of resources: people, plant, processes and time. Leaders inspire, provide the direction and the purpose for such efficiencies.

24. Leadership always arises when a situation requires a new goal or challenge. In Tolkien's trilogy "Lord of the Rings", Frodo Baggins rescues the council of Elrond by taking responsibility for the quest of destroying the ring, even though he doesn't know how he'll do it. There is leadership, but no management. On the sports field, by contrast, the referee manages and controls the game by reference to established rules and principles. There is no new direction, so no need for leadership.

25. Management and leadership are distinct concepts but are also the same. Neither is more important than the other except in the context of a business's current needs. Both are essential. Like light, which is both waves and particles, they can be different and the same.