top of page

Management vs Leadership .

Chess board of 2 knights  representing management vs leadership

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been asked to speak at several events. I choose the difference between management and leadership as my topic. On the surface quite a dry topic, but as TILM’s Leadership Week is coming up (see below for details) I thought this would be a great time to remind his all how important leadership is in any position within any organisation. Whether you have a team, are a solo – entrepreneur, work for yourself or lead a group in the community you serve. Understanding the differences between management and leadership skills and increasing the time spent in leadership mode can improve our impact and performance.

This image from Jobberman sums up the differences nicely.

Jobberman article image of leader vs manger

In the accompanying article the writer outlines the main differences between the 2 roles.

1. Vision vs Execution

Leaders constantly remind others of the long-term vision. Articulating where the group is going and explaining why it’s so important that they get there. ‘Come on everyone, we are going over here.’ Thought leadership is a great example of leadership mode. FOCUSED ON THE BIG PICTURE

Managers are all too focused on telling others what to do. Task orientated. LITTLE PICTURE.

2. Inspire vs Control

Leaders can inspire others (individuals and teams) to take ownership of any challenges or problems faced. Empowering others to work on fixing the issues themselves rather than waiting for others to fix things, or for the issues to be fixed for them. Giving your followers the confidence to be innovative and experimental is vital. PEOPLE ORIENTATED - INVOLVING EVERYONE.

Managers try to control the outputs. They will either try to fix the issue themselves without involving others or superficially fix the issue without looking at the greater root cause. TASK ORIENTATED - KEEPING CONTROL.

3. Coach vs Direct

Leaders coach their followers, guiding them in a supportive way to develop the necessary skills to solve any issue they may face in the future. LONG TERM DEVELOPMENT.

Managers direct the individual or team to achieve a certain or specific set goals and results. SHORT TERM DEVELOPMENT.

In summary, I always think of the differences as follows

  • Managers are not strategic. They are task orientated, thinking of today.

  • Leaders are strategic in their thinking. They create a big picture view/vision that others can follow. Are very people centric and are always thinking of tomorrow. Giving choice.

“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” General Dwight Eisenhower.

As I said at the top of this blog even if you don’t have a team you can think about your day-to-day work with a manager or leader mind set.

  • Are you focusing on the ‘long term destination’ with your current workload/projects/tasks? In leadership mode you might ask yourself if this task is going to really get you to your long-term goal?

  • Are you fixing the root cause of the problem or just the current issue that has come up? How long have you put up with this issue. How many times have you had to solve it? In leadership mode take a second to reflect on why the issue has turned into a problem and whether something greater is happening.

  • Are you working in the business rather than on the business? Busy ‘doing to do’ rather than working out a way for others to ‘do the do’? In leader mode you would be involve others, inspiring them to want to move the ambition forward.

The more time we spend in leader mode, the great out impact and success will be. Let me know how you get on.

The Institute of Leadership and Management – International Leadership Week. 7th - 11th November.

International Leadership Week is the halo, annual, virtual event created by The Institute of Leadership & Management to share insights and stories of the global leadership issues that affect us all. Running over 5 days, (7th – 11th November) ILW22 will be packed full of thought-provoking discussions with high-profile speakers.

This year we are introducing three topics to our program, relevant to all leaders, everywhere:

  • Social Mobility: Our societal structures mean that a person's background can dictate access to education and job opportunities. In today's climate, it's essential to learn more about social mobility, so you can better support your people and influence positive change.

  • Wellbeing: Good mental health and wellbeing is a core enabler of employee engagement and organisational performance. Actively promoting wellbeing to your teams can prevent stress and burnout, while creating a positive working environment where your people and the organisation can thrive.

  • Future Readiness: During the Covid pandemic many businesses shone through the crisis with incredible agility, adapting at rapid speed in order to keep their business alive and safeguard jobs. This is what future readiness is all about - mapping out what comes next and planning to prepare for it.

How to get involved - Attend for free:



bottom of page