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What is the difference between leadership and management?

What is the difference between leadership and management?

In the modern workplace, most people will be familiar with the concept of management.

Management essentially refers to the running of the organisation in terms of the management of resources, but also of human resources (employees). However, many people use the terms management and leadership interchangeably, although there are some key differences between these two concepts.

It is essential that organisations can accurately define leadership and management, as these two ideas can have a tremendous impact on the success or failure of the business. Indeed, the importance of management and leadership should never be underestimated.

In this article, we will explain the fundamental differences between leadership and management and review some of the similarities between leadership and management. We will also look at some key management and leadership theories that can help you develop strategic management and leadership skills- either as an individual or within your organisation.

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What is the role of a Manager? 

Before we establish the role of leadership in an organisation, we will quickly explore the fundamentals of management. As we have already established, management is essentially how the business is organised and run. This means that managers are frequently expected to use strategy to make key decisions to increase the organisation’s chances of success.

Managers are responsible for the allocation of resources, including employees. If the manager oversees a team of employees, and their line management responsibilities will take up a significant proportion of their time.

Besides line management responsibilities, managers will be required to improve the processes of their team, provide vital feedback to executive-level management and report on successes and failures. Managers are in positions of authority to optimise efficiency and the smooth running of the company’s operations, while often making strategic decisions to benefit the company. Whereas regular employees are more concerned with day-to-day tasks, the manager must ensure that their department is running to its full potential. 

Managers are essential in many sectors, including:  

What is the role of a Leader?

The role of the leader differs from that of the manager where the primary role of the leader is to inspire those around them, rather than having a purely managerial relationship with colleagues.

The leader should be able to align the vision of others with that of the company. This usually means employing a leadership theory to communicate openly with employees from different departments while asking key questions to assess the priorities of the company in the future.

Successful leaders are often adept at using motivational techniques to inspire and get the most out of their employees. While we often see managers in an authoritarian light, leaders are more focused on empowering employees to be self-motivated while facilitating change within their organisations.

Similarities between Management and Leadership

Both managers and leaders are essential components of successful businesses, so we should not consider one more important than the other. Both managers and leaders fulfil different roles within their organisation, and the requirements of each of these roles are subtly different as we have seen. Nevertheless, there are some similarities worth exploring.

Both managers and leaders are in a position of authority and are frequently regarded as role models by their employees.

What are the key Management and Leadership theories?

There is a very wide range of key management and leadership theories that you can read about to familiarise yourself with the concepts of management and leadership.

Examples include: 

  •    Transformational leadership (one of the most well-known).
  •    Authentic leadership.
  •    Situational leadership.
  •    Action-centred leadership.
  •    Transactional leadership.

The field of leadership and management is constantly changing as new ideas and concepts are established, so you must keep on top of recent developments that could make a positive impact on the running of your organisation.

Developing strategic Management and Leadership skills  

Developing strategic management skills is, arguably, essential for any organisation that wants to use resources efficiently while ensuring that employees are properly in line with the values of the company.

To develop strategic management and leadership, your company must do a full audit of existing management and leadership roles within the organisation. Once you have completed an audit of your company’s key players, you can identify any gaps that should be filled.

Another vital part of developing strategic leadership and management skills is training. You must identify the training needs required by your staff and help them improve by making this training available for them.

Want to know about project management and how it can benefit your organisation? Visit our page on the different project management methodologies or view the project management courses that e-Careers currently offers.

Interested in a training course? To get started or discuss your requirements in more detail, call our Course Consultants on +44 (0) 20 3198 7700 or fill out our contact form and someone will be in touch with you to go through your training options.

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