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What is the difference between leadership and management

It’s a known fact that everyone wants to achieve great things at work, and getting higher on the ladder usually requires becoming someone more senior.

Because of this, you’ve no doubt heard of management and leadership. But, while they sound the same, the two are very different when it comes to advancing at your place of work.

Leadership and management

While leadership and management are often thought to be the same thing, they’re very different. The main difference is leaders have those that follow them, whereas managers have those that work for them.

However, with that being said, leadership and management go hand in hand with each other, and while they aren’t necessarily linked, they complement one another. The biggest overlap between the two being; good leadership includes responsibility for managing.

So, while leaders can include management as a function of the role, the same doesn’t apply for managers.

This may seem confusing, but, despite the overlaps, the only way to see how leadership and management are different is to think of the one without the other.

Below, we take a look at what makes a manager and what makes a leader.



One thing leaders do is create a picture that’ll inspire and engage those around them. They also see people as individuals, motivating them to be part of the bigger picture, rather than working solo as more can be accomplished together.

Make change:

Leaders don’t just settle for what already exists, instead, they strive to innovate and make changes as best they can to find a better way of moving things forward.


Self-aware, leaders are comfortable with themselves, making them both authentic and transparent to others.


No one can accuse leaders of being afraid as they’re always willing to take risks, regardless of whether they’re successful or not, as failure can lead to success.

Stick with it:

While some people may flit between jobs or projects, leaders are in it for the long-haul. This is because they set out to achieve something and stay motivated until they reach their final goal, no matter how far away it may appear.


Due to their nature to challenge themselves and take risks, leaders are always learning new things. This, in turn, allows them to grow and expand their knowledge.


Rather than purely focusing on them themselves, they focus on others too. This allows them to build up relationships, which creates trust and loyalty in the long run.


Leaders always work to help those around them, passing on their knowledge to help others improve, as they know this will help to improve the company too.

They have fans:

Because of their attitude and determination to succeed, while helping others, this wins fans within businesses, helping to boost their visibility and credibility.



Mangers are concerned with meeting or exceeding objectives. This results in setting, measuring and achieving goals in a controllable situation.

Status quo:

Unlike leaders, managers tend to stick with what works rather than looking to change it.


Rather than going with their instinct, managers recreate competencies and behaviours learnt from leaders around them.


Rather than taking them, managers work to minimise risks, working to avoid problems rather than embracing them.


Rather than looking ahead, managers are more focused on short-term goals, achieving regular acknowledgement.


Managers tend to rely upon the skills they currently have, sticking to a formula that has proven successful and refining them.

Build systems and processes:

To achieve goals, managers set structures that are needed, focusing on desired outcomes by working with individuals to achieve the objectives.

They direct:

Managers assign tasks to those that work for them, guiding how they can be accomplished.


Rather than a team, managers have a group of people that work for them and seek to please them.


As you can see, the two are very different in style. However, this doesn’t mean that someone in the management world can’t move into one of leadership.

This is something many companies do to grow the talent they have, helping improve the company as it moves into the future.

Research has shown that 90% of those who have completed a leadership and management qualification improved their performance at work. This even had a ripple effect, cascading down to other colleagues.

To find out how we can help you and your company with one of our management and leadership courses, please get in touch today, and someone will get back to you.

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