Difference between leadership and management

Have you ever thought about the question, why people want to follow and work for or work with certain leaders/managers, but not others.  I think one of the reasons lies in the difference between leadership and management.

Leadership and management are related and can overlap and complement each other. A good manager can be a good leader, and vice verso. But they are not the same. There is a difference. A good manager is not necessarily a good leader, and a good leader is not necessarily a good manager.

You can be someone without any leadership position and authority, but people still willingly follow you and want to work for you. Or you can be someone in a supervisory position, yet you don’t have any followers.

Admiral Grace Murray Hopper said: “You manage things; you lead people.” Management is about things, leadership is about people.

So what is the difference?

  • The manager’s job is to manage work – to plan, organize and coordinate. The leader’s job is to lead people –  to inspire and motivate.
  • The manager plans details. The leader sets direction.
  • The manager wants power. The leader gives away power.
  • The manager relies on control. The leader lets go of control and inspires trust.
  • The manager appeals to your head. The leader wins your heart.
  • The manager has subordinates. The leaders has followers.
  • The manager administers. The leader innovates.
  • The manager imitates. The leader originates.
  • The manager maintains. The leader develops.
  • The manager has a short-range view. The leader has a long-range perspective.
  • The manager travels on existing roads. The leader explore new roads.
  • The manager asks how and when. The leader asks what and why.
  • The manager has his or her eye always on the bottom line. The leader’s eye is on the horizon.
  • The manager accepts the status quo. The leader challenges it.
  • The manager takes credit. The leader gives credit.
  • The manager operates out of fear and distrust. The leader operates out of confidence and trust.
  • The manager brings transactional change. The leader brings transformational change.
  • The manager does things right. The leader does the right thing.

People follow leaders who inspire and motivate, not managers who can only manage things.

If you want people to follow you, you have to inspire people, not manage people. You can’t manage people, you can only inspire people.

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