Management vs Leadership: What Sets Them Apart?

Management vs Leadership: What Sets Them Apart?

The terms leadership and management are often used interchangeably since both leaders and managers are responsible for the success of an organisation. 

However, leadership and management are two separate terms with significant differences. 

Usually, when working, a leader keeps the entire organisation and all the employees in mind to achieve a particular goal. Whereas a manager solely focuses on completing a set of tasks within a specific team or group. 

In this article, we will discuss the difference between leadership vs management

What is leadership?

The ability of a person to influence and guide members of an organisation is known as leadership. It creates positive, non-incremental changes with proper vision, planning and strategy. 

Leadership is often associated with an individual’s seniority, title or ranking. However, leadership has nothing to do with a person’s position in a company. It is a developmental skill which can be attained and improved with time. Adaptive decision-making and workforce empowerment are also some crucial attributes of leaders. 

A leader is an individual who takes the initiative and puts in great effort to accomplish the company's goals. These individuals are responsible for influencing employees to maximise their efforts in achieving the common goal. 

Leaders often have to take decisions, and sometimes difficult ones. A successful leader should have the following characteristics:

  • Strong communication skills
  • Self-confidence
  • Innovative thinking
  • Willing to take risks
  • Work well under pressure

What is management?

Management is the process of planning and organising a company's activities and resources to effectively and efficiently achieve business goals. It includes performing pre-planned risks daily with team members working towards the same purpose. 

The manager's primary focus is meeting the organisation's goals. Managers are responsible for completing tasks at minimal costs within a specified timeline. These professionals get the added privilege of promoting, hiring and rewarding employees based on their behaviour and performance. 

To become a successful manager, individuals must have the following characteristics:

  • Multidimensional 
  • Dynamic 
  • Intangible 

Difference Between Leadership vs Management

There are some fundamental differences between managers and leaders. Managers supervise deadlines, budgets, people, projects, and clients. On the other hand, leaders are accountable for empowering, influencing employees towards a particular vision. 

Here are some key differences between leaders and managers: 

  • Ideas

Leaders are responsible for coming up with ideas. These professionals work in a forward-thinking mindset, i.e., always searching for opportunities to improve an organisation's operations. 

On the other hand, managers are responsible for executing ideas. They must ensure that the organisational goals are being achieved effectively and efficiently. Contrary to generating new ideas, it is the responsibility of the managers to execute the ideas of leaders. 

  • Vision 

Leaders are considered visionaries. These individuals know where they want to see the organisation. However, they also know that achieving the vision will only be possible with the other members. Hence they encourage employees to work towards the shared vision. 

On the other hand, managers ensure that employees are well-versed in the company’s vision and goals. They oversee that the organisation's employees uphold its core values. 

  • Inspiration 

Leaders inspire the company's employees to achieve a common organisational goal. These professionals firmly believe that motivation will come along the way once the employees are encouraged to do good work. 

On the contrary, a manager’s responsibility is to drive the employees towards success. These individuals are responsible for communicating clearly with the team members. It helps the team members stay aligned with the goals of the company. 

  • Future vs present 

Leaders must always be one step ahead, persistently thinking about the vision of the future. Leaders are also responsible for effectively translating their idea to the entire organisation. This inspires managers and employees to follow it. 

On the other hand, managers are responsible for achieving particular goals every month. They are also responsible for scheduling and monitoring employees to meet organisational goals. It is their job to execute future planning. 

  • Company culture 

A leader must uphold the core values and beliefs of the organisation. It is a part of their job to set an excellent example for the company employees to look up to. An effective leader can communicate the company’s values so that all employees are proud and excited to participate. 

On the contrary, managers endorse the culture of the company. They are responsible for encouraging employees to stay aligned with the company’s culture and set a good example. 


Managers and leaders play different yet complementary roles in a company. Managers can successfully become leaders with a proper understanding of the main differences between these two job roles and embracing the importance of communication, collaboration, continuous learning, skill development, and curious learning. 

Check out the IIM Senior Management Program by Imarticus. This eleven-month-long course has been designed for individuals wanting to unleash their leadership potential. This programme will give you much-needed industry exposure and the opportunity to learn from the most influential and successful leaders. 

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