Ahsan Parwez
Your Growth Strategist

Difference between Management and Leadership

Table of Contents

We often use the terms “management” and “leadership” interchangeably. The difference between them may seem minor at first glance, but both terms have taken a wildly different meaning from each other in the present professional setting. Leadership is about leading your team to achieve an inspiring vision, while management is about the process of guiding your team in order to achieve that vision. Understanding the difference between leading and managing helps you become more effective in your roles within an organization.  

Management Vs. Leadership: Differences That Matter


So, how does leadership differ from management? Let’s explore:

1. Leaders Create the Vision While Managers Follow the Vision

Leaders are avid visionaries. They have a clear idea of where they want to see their organization in the future. On the other hand, managers are avid followers of that vision. They transfer the organization’s vision, mission, tasks, and goals to the employees and also keep them aligned with the fundamental values of the company. Since leaders are responsible for developing goals and driving change, managers are in charge of the effective execution of those goals. 

2. Leaders Are Thinkers While Managers Are Executors

Leaders always keep looking for good opportunities for the organization and managers keep emphasizing rationality. We can say, leadership is about answering “what and why”, while management is about answering “how and when”. Leaders always do the right things, while managers make things right! Leaders decide what should be done, managers know how to get things done. 

3. Leaders Motivate People While Managers Motivate Their Success 

Another difference between leadership and management is that leaders motivate people by inspiring them while management is responsible for driving positive work experience for the team as well as the continued success of both the team and the organization. By developing self-reflection, continuous feedback, and authentic communication; leaders empower and motivate their people to pursue crucial organizational initiatives. On the other hand, managers ensure 100% employee engagement and productivity to hit the organization’s goals.

4. Leaders Have Foresight While Managers Look at the Present

Another difference between leaders and managers is that they have a different way of seeing things.  Leaders are future-oriented while managers are more present-focused people. Leaders think ahead of time to grab future opportunities. And managers achieve organizational goals and tasks by implementing procedures and processes around staffing, organizational structure, and budgeting.

5. Leaders Form the Culture, While Managers Endorse It

The organizational culture is a system of behaviors, beliefs, and values that determine how tasks will get accomplished and how the organization will operate. The organizational culture must be aligned to the business strategy so the stakeholders and the employees can act in ways that support the achievement of the organization’s goals. So, how does leadership differ from management when it comes to organizational culture? Well, leadership is responsible for defining and shaping the organizational culture and management for leading the workforce to fulfill that culture. Hence, the collaboration between leaders and managers is essential to drive employees to match up to the core values and culture of the organization.


What is Leadership?

Leadership is about creating an inspiring vision for the team you lead. Leaders figure out what needs to be changed and why. They keep people in the right direction by offering inspiration, motivation, and support. Leaders mostly don’t take tactical decisions but they do ensure that everything is aligned and everyone is on the right track. Let’s understand this by an example of a map. The leader will decide on the destination and direction but he can’t take the necessary turns to get from one point to another. 


What is Management?

Management is about executing and fulfilling the leader’s vision. Once the destination and directions are set, managers supervise all the tactics that can get them to the destination. Management is responsible for assigning tasks to the team, ensuring everyone’s cooperating harmoniously and confirming that they’re hitting the deadlines to achieve short-term goals. So, in the above example, it will be a manager who can take the necessary turns to get from one point to another on the map. 


Difference Between Leadership and Management in a Company


Leaders and managers are taken as interrelated terms in the business environment. However, they’re quite different when we talk about responsibilities, characteristics, and functions within an organization. 


The leader is a frontman of a company and the manager is a follower of the organizational objectives and goals. So, a leader does organizational improvements to make sure that the productivity of the overall organization communicates well with the vision, mission, and objectives. In the end, both of them play a vital role at different levels of the organization’s functions. The roles of leadership and management further depend on different situations. Some of these are as follows:



It refers to a pre-planned timeline to design objectives and goals for different situations in an organization. The primary responsibility of a leader is to plan and develop the objectives and goals to reduce the cost and increase the ROI. While a manager, in this situation, will ensure the best performance of the team by offering guidance and communication. 



It is important to organize raw materials and resources to get the most out of them in the best possible ways. Not only does organizing ensures efficient use of resources but reduces wastage as well. So, it becomes a leaders’ responsibility to organize the resources as well as motivate people to perform effectively.



One of the most crucial tasks for leaders and managers is to direct their team in the right direction. Again, the leader will be responsible for directing and motivating their team in a way that all the essential tasks are accomplished efficiently. The manager will help employees in the perfect execution of the tasks.



A Staff is a real asset for an organization. Both leadership and management of the company empower their staff by working as team members with them to maximize their performance. The managers are responsible for recruiting staff and finding out their abilities and skills. Moreover, they help their staff improve by providing training and other benefits.



One of the most important functions of a manager is to control the team and the situations to ensure the best overall performance of the organization. Controlling confirms that the plan is properly implemented and works accordingly.



Coordination kicks in when it comes to performing per planning. It makes sure that all the departments are perfectly coordinating with each other. The leader brings departments together and the manager ensures departmental motivation to bring out the best performance.


How to Lead Your Team Through Difficult Times?

Every business regardless of its size and nature has to encounter rough patches or tough times, such as the recent Covid-19 crisis. In tough situations, your team needs to be guided by strong leadership to help weather the storm. 


Based on the best recommendations by some most successful entrepreneurs and company leaders, here are some shrewd ways a leader can keep their team motivated to persist through the rough patches. 


1. Have Transparent Communication

Having open and transparent communication with your team in crisis is crucial. Your instinct may resist you to hide facts during difficult times. However, your team deserves to know the nitty-gritty of the position where their company is standing. In addition to that, you can never get out of tough circumstances alone without the active participation of your team. So, engage them by telling the truth! Tell them what’s happening, what actions have been taken, and what’s the plan to move forward! Remember, your team needs to hear about it from the most senior leadership! Also, don’t panic while telling the facts, otherwise, your team will panic too! Show strength to make them feel assured of your abilities in taking necessary actions to get out of the difficult time!

2. Seek Lessons 

It’s important to figure out the reasons, which caused a rough patch. You need to understand what went wrong so you can learn from your mistakes and avoid them in the future. While evaluating mistakes, it’s crucial not to accuse anyone to create hostility among your team. Also, be open to ideas, suggestions, and solutions coming from your employees during difficult times! 

3. Share Your Future Vision

Great leaders paint a bright picture of the future to fuel their team in critical times. You must know where you’re heading before you can reach there! Be communicative and clear about how the organization is planning to move forward! Once your team gets out of a rough patch, don’t lose the momentum you had created to bounce back. 

4. Celebrate Even the Smallest Win

Remember to celebrate even the smallest win to keep your team’s morale high and to remind them that their work is appreciated. Break large goals into smaller, achievable goals and track the team’s progress! Celebrate their winnings even if they achieve small goals, such as launching a new campaign, getting a higher click-through rate, or meeting a deadline. In this way, you can earn the trust of your team by boosting their morale. This positive attribute will end up keeping them motivated through the hard times. 

5. Seek Honest Feedback

If you hide things from your team in critical times, you will end up creating a negative organization’s culture. Your team will feel that they can’t team up to solve problems together. Seeking honest feedback from your team during the tough phase will make you look at the crisis holistically. So, it will help you develop better strategies to move forward.

6. What to Choose from Management Vs. Leadership: A Final Thought

Both leadership and management have particular roles in all organizations. You can’t get a team united on a vision without great leadership. Likewise, your team can’t take any actionable steps to achieve its vision without a manager. To understand this, let’s dive into two different real-life scenarios:


Scenario No. 1

Just imagine, your organization is going through a transition. It may end up causing friction and lowering your employees’ morale. So, it’s the right time to exercise leadership. Since a majority of the problems stem from an unclear future direction of the organization, a leader must explain the change needed and how the organization will move forward through this changeover. 


Scenario No. 2

Let’s say, your organization has been challenged by a huge project having many dynamics and a tight deadline. So, at this time, you will put your managerial hat on! You need to set goals, assign tasks, and ensure everyone is taking an active part throughout the project. 

So, now you know the difference between leading and managing and have a better idea of when to wear which hat depending on the different situations that confront you! Tell us, what role you’re performing today!

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