Understand the difference: Management vs. Leadership

Well, every management student comes across the question “what is the difference between leadership and management?” Both concepts seem similar and are often used interchangeably by people. The key role of a leader and manager is to lead a team to achieve a common goal. Thus, students often get confused and do not understand the difference. This blog will help you the key differences between a leader and a manager so that you can have a clear picture of leadership and management. Let’s first learn the basics about these two concepts.

What do you mean by leadership?

Leadership is defined as the quality and ability to lead a group of people within an organization to achieve a common goal. It is a process of influencing others to achieve a common goal. A leader uses empathy, effective communication, and authentic leadership to influence those around him/her to follow along with the direction that he/she wants them to take. Leadership is not something that can be taught in a classroom or from a book but rather is something that has to be learned through experience. A leader has to learn how to be a leader by learning from their own mistakes and past experiences before they can effectively lead others.

Leadership is something that every person has the potential to do in some way, shape, or form despite what type of personality he/she may have. Even introverted people are naturally strong leaders as it is a very common trait for introverts to think before they speak, which is one of the bases of being a great leader. The best leaders are those who have learned from their mistakes and strive to do better the next time around, especially if that mistake has cost them the lives of their teammates.

Being a truly excellent leader is not something that comes easy and is not, by any means, an “easy” job. Good leaders are those who can make difficult decisions quickly and efficiently without caring what the people think of him/her for making such a decision. A good leader knows how to keep his/her composure even when under immense stress and knows exactly what to say to turn a situation around.

Key qualities of an effective leader

The ability to lead is not an inborn trait. It is something that can be developed over time with the proper guidance and mentoring. The following are the key qualities of an effective leader:


The best leaders are quick to make decisions in times of crisis, but they must also consider all the facts before moving forward. Since leaders are held to a higher standard, they must be very careful about how they proceed.

Strong Communicator

The power of communication is something that cannot be underestimated, and great leaders have the ability to communicate their vision efficiently. The vision may change over time as circumstances dictate, but it must always be shared with others.

Good Decision Maker

As stated before, leaders must be decisive and willing to make tough decisions when necessary. They will often have to weigh the pros and cons of a decision before moving forward. The best leaders usually defer to those who know more about specific matters than they do themselves. Leaders should also be open to suggestions from others as long as they are willing to consider all the facts before making a decision.


The ability to think outside of the box is necessary for any leader who wants to succeed in today’s world. Technology and business practices are constantly evolving, so leaders must be ready to adapt in order to keep up with these changes. Leaders should also encourage their teams to develop new ideas and approaches as well.

Risk Taker

While being a risk-taker can be dangerous, it is sometimes necessary for a leader to take risks if they want their endeavors to succeed. If the risks taken do not pan out as expected, leaders should accept responsibility and share in whatever losses might occur because of their decisions.

Business Savvy

A leader should have some understanding of the business world and how to handle money responsibly. This knowledge is necessary in order for leaders to help their organizations grow and prosper financially. Leaders who are more interested in personal gain than that of the organization, however, will only hurt it in the long term.

Unwavering Commitment

Leaders who lack commitment will only disappoint those who look to them for guidance. They may also end up failing as a result of their decision not to commit. The best leaders, therefore, must be willing to give everything they have to the success of the organization and never take it for granted.

Emotional Intelligence

Uncontrolled emotions can quickly derail any opportunity for success. Leaders must not allow themselves to become overwhelmed by their feelings and those of others. They should also be able to identify and understand the feelings of other people and work with them in order to attain success together.

Passionate About Success

Without a passion that drives them, leaders will have a very difficult time guiding anyone else to succeed. Leaders who are passionate about the work they do and the people they lead will usually find their path easier than those who simply want a paycheck.

Strong Work Ethic

The best leaders take pride in their work and always give 100 percent of their effort. Leaders who lack a strong work ethic will soon be identified by their teams and others, which can make future success even more challenging. The best leaders are usually seen as role models by those they lead.

Team Builder

The ability to build cohesive teams is necessary for successful leadership in any field. Not all types of businesses require teamwork, but it is essential for those who do. Great leaders know the strengths and weaknesses of their teams and will work to build a cohesive unit that can attain success together.


Leaders often face adversity, which requires resilience in order to overcome it and keep moving forward. Without this trait, leaders might become overwhelmed and unable to assist those who rely on them. In order to become resilient, leaders must have a strong support system. It inspires them and helps keep them motivated even during the toughest of times.

Exponential Learner

Leaders must always be willing to learn new things in order to keep up with changing technology and business practices. Leaders should also be open-minded and willing to accept feedback and advice from those they lead. Coming across as inflexible will only alienate those who look up to them and make success more difficult.

Characteristics of Good Leadership

Leaders are typically visionaries who share that vision with others and motivate them to follow. They create teams with members who have complementary skills, discipline those team members when necessary, and celebrate their successes. Leaders provide the inspiration necessary for accomplishing goals. They encourage risk-taking but also accept mistakes and failures. They know how to bounce back after adversity and learn from their mistakes.

Leaders create a culture that optimizes the performance of the entire team, balancing individual needs with that of the group. This is why it is exceedingly difficult to excel in both leadership and management roles without having at least some degree of overlap in skills.

The concept of management

Management is a process to manage a group of people, process, and procedure to get things done within the given timeframe. A manager can be described as a person who manages any group or process with the people involved. Management is defined as a process of planning, organizing, motivating, and controlling the people involved to achieve certain results.

Management involves dealing with both personal and business problems that may arise from time to time in any workplace. Managers need a combination of skills in order to be effective at their job. Some managerial skills are - getting cooperation from others, making sound decisions, organizing work, and setting high standards. Another important aspect of management is knowing what to do when there are problems. Problems can arise because of lack of materials or equipment, poor quality control, inadequate staff, or conflict among employees. Effective managers know how to adapt their techniques in order to best handle the situation.

Management is a combination of many different job functions. It involves planning, organizing, motivating, and controlling others to achieve a goal or results. Other things managers have to think about are- Is the job being done correctly? Are people able to work together as a team? Are standards being met or exceeded? Can we meet our budget? Do we have enough staff?

Skills needed to be a good manager

A good manager should have the following skills.

Good communication

A good manager needs to clearly communicate with employees about company goals, their own roles in meeting these goals, and any feedback that is given about their work.  Employees need this information so they can improve their performance.  If a manager does not provide this information, it causes confusion and makes employees feel uncomfortable.

Good presence

A manager needs to have an awareness of all activities within their department.  They must be able to supervise everyone in the department effectively if they are not physically present to see what is going on. Some ways that managers can remain aware of their department is to complete self-evaluations and give them to their supervisors, know the goals of the company and what they should be doing to contribute, monitor emails and phone calls received by employees, and walk through the office periodically.

Good delegation skills

A good manager does not need to do everything themselves because it can cause them to become overwhelmed.  For this reason, they should take charge in organizing their employees’ responsibilities and then delegating certain tasks to the appropriate people.  This enables everyone to work more efficiently by focusing on their own areas of expertise instead of doing multiple jobs that are outside of their skill set.

Good decision-making skills

It is important to make decisions based on the information they have at their disposal.  The manager should be able to quickly assess a situation and draw conclusions from it.  They should also be willing to change their mind if new evidence suggests that a different decision is needed.

Good follow-up skills

A good manager should know how to follow up on all tasks completed by their employees.  This shows people that they are interested in seeing the project through to its completion instead of taking it for granted.

Good motivation skills

Managers should be able to motivate their employees for them to feel comfortable working towards company goals.  They can do this by being a leader and setting an example, offering positive feedback about good work, giving employees challenging tasks that they find enjoyable, or simply being fair to their employees.

Good problem-solving skills

Problem-solving skill is a very important skill to be a good manager and hence managers should be able to think critically in order to solve problems related to company goals.   They should also be able to delegate tasks to the appropriate people so they can solve a problem themselves.  For example, if an employee does not know how to complete a task, the manager could either do it themselves or teach them how to do it right.

Good decision-making skills

A good manager can make good decisions, but they also need to know how and when to make these decisions.  They should be able to assess a situation or problem that needs solving and then make a decision using the information available.  For example, if their employees are not completing projects by due dates, they should consider changing their deadlines instead of continuing with ineffective practices.

Good people skills

Managers should be able to get to know their employees on a personal level in order to motivate them and keep them satisfied at work.  They should also be able to foster positive feelings among the employee group through regular communication, helping each other out when needed, or celebrating team successes together.

Good time management skills

Time management is also a key skill for managers. Thus, a good manager should know how to prioritize tasks and delegate work effectively.  They need to be able to balance the workload of their employees. No one should feel overworked or overburdened as a result of poor delegation.


This means that a good managers should be able to adapt their behavior and the way they work in order to effectively manage a variety of employees. For example, a manager that works better with some personality types than others will need to adjust their strategy accordingly.

Good analytical skills

It is essential to analyze situations that arise on a regular basis so they can solve problems or make decisions.  For example, if too many tasks are being done incorrectly by employees, it could be because they are unclear about the instructions given to them. The manager would need to analyze their communication strategy so that future tasks can be completed correctly.

Characteristics of Good Management

Managers are typically (but not always) task-oriented. They set the agenda, assign responsibilities and follow up to ensure that milestones are reached. Managers have a long-term focus on results, often at the expense of shorter-term satisfaction. They tend to focus on planning rather than implementation because it is through planning that they can determine the most efficient way to get things done. They are largely reactive, responding to problems as they arise rather than looking for opportunities. Managers do not need to be inspiring; some even purposely avoid charisma in order to maintain objectivity.

Leadership vs. Management

For many, the difference between leadership and management is confusing. It can be difficult to tell which of these two skillsets is required in a given situation. The literature on the topic suggests that there are tangible differences between leadership and management; however, most individuals would probably agree that both types of roles are critical for the success of an organization.

The management vs. leadership distinction is not always clear-cut. For example, in some cases, management skills are required for a successful leader and in other cases the opposite is true. Generally speaking, managers focus on efficiency whereas leaders concentrate on motivation.

Leaders inspire while managers direct. A leader is one who tries to inspire others while a manager manages day-to-day operations or logistics. Now, I can tell that some are thinking, “that’s not entirely true.” A leader is someone who leads by example and a manager uses fear to assert control over the people.

  • Leadership focuses on motivating others to achieve a vision. On the other hand, management focuses on getting things done efficiently.
  • Leaders motivate through inspiration, influence, and persuasion whereas managers inspire by setting the agenda, assigning responsibilities, and following up.
  • The object of leadership is to build trust, faith, and confidence in others. On the other hand, management is to solve problems.
  • Leadership operates at the level of inspiration, motivation, and identification while management operates at the level of planning, organization, and coordination.
  • In leadership, the ends justify the means, whereas with management it is more important to make sure that resources aren’t wasted.
  • Leadership is influence from below, while management is authority from above.
  • Management focuses on the structure, but with leadership, there’s room for flexibility.
  • Leaders and followers share a common goal, and the relationship is symbiotic. With management, it’s more of a boss-employee relationship.
  • Leadership requires passion to motivate others, whereas with management it is more about making sure that tasks are completed efficiently.
  • Leaders are risk-takers, but managers focus on avoiding mistakes.


I hope you have learned the concept of leadership and management and understood the difference between leadership and management. I will cover more topics related to management in the next blog. So, keep visiting to get a more insightful discussion on various topics. If you are in need of management assignment help, you can reach out to us and hire an expert for your assignment. Feel free to get in touch through the live chat. Good Luck.