Leadership Vs. Management: What’s The Difference?

management and leadership

Leadership Vs. Management: What’s The Difference?

Asking about the difference between leadership and management is like asking about the difference between squares and rectangles: They can be the same thing, but it’s not always the case. 

A manager has employees they oversee; they are responsible for supervising and running a team and making sure goals are accomplished, projects completed, and deadlines met. 

A leader has earned people’s trust on their team, someone who is admired and respected, someone who people will follow and listen to regularly. 

But just like some rectangles are also squares, some managers are leaders, and some leaders are managers — however, that’s not always true. Some managers are not strong leaders; sometimes, strong leaders are not managers. 

The best managers are strong leaders who trust and respect their team and do not take those relationships for granted. 

Here are a few things to keep in mind to be the most decisive leader and/or manager possible for your team. 

Strong leaders who are also strong managers can:

  1. Create and explain a strong vision for a project, get their team to understand and buy into that vision, and adhere to a blueprint for making it happen. 
  2. Organize and direct daily work efforts and priorities, ensuring that sufficient resources are available and anticipating and addressing any possible needs or crises that might pop up along the way. 
  3. Create a work environment that is respectful and efficient while also being respectful, with everyone contributing equally to the overall team’s success. 
  4. Take care of their team, making sure everyone feels seen, heard, and valued. 
  5. Devise and implement safety and procedural standards and policies and make sure they are correctly carried out. 


Characteristics of strong leaders include: 

  1. Honestly, integrity and sincerity, creating an environment of honesty and trust in which people will listen to their advice, direction, and requests. 
  2. The ability to create, establish, and clearly share a vision for the team, connecting the dots between where they are now and where they are expected, and aspire to go in the future. 
  3. The ability to inspire and encourage the team to believe that they can accomplish great things together if they all work for the same goal. 
  4. Clear and strong communication skills to keep the team informed and on the same page throughout a project and with a firm grasp on how each piece fits together to complete the whole. 


Among the differences between leaders and managers: 

  • Managers provide direction; leaders ask questions.
  • Managers have employees under them; leaders have people who follow them.
  • Managers believe people have to respect them; leaders work to earn the trust.
  • Managers have and present good ideas, leaders; make them a reality.
  • Managers take the first moment in the spotlight for themselves; leaders share the glory.
  • Managers make it clear they’re the boss; leaders want everyone to feel valued and heard. 


Leaders can become managers. Managers can become leaders. These traits and skills on either side of the equation can be taught. Strong managers and strong leaders — whether they’re the same person or different team members — are both important and can help drive important change and progress and lead to success. 


Connect with LeadingEdge Personnel

If you’re looking to add to your team and find a strong leader or manager to improve productivity and boost morale, contact LeadingEdge Personnel. We work with exceptional companies and have connections to great people eager to join a team just like yours. Call LeadingEdge today, and let’s get to work. 

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