Management Versus Leadership

Management versus leadership has been a contention that dominates a lot of academic and progressive discussion. Many would suggest that there is no difference between management and leadership in contemporary business and society, however they are vastly mistaken. They are like two brothers; quite similar in definition and worldview but different in their approaches to life. These differences between the brothers make them quite individual. It's not one against the other where you have to pick one side and defend it to the death; they are two sets out workable solutions which can be mastered to several situations. In this page we will discuss their purposes and differences in management versus leadership.

You can see from our focus that we are more on the side of leadership rather than management. We don't put down or disbelieve the benefits of management but leadership is innovative and creative to transform situations and organizations. Management focuses on stability and holding onto what's already been created, whereas Leadership pushes the boundaries for change and opens doors to new places. Management is only a short term solution to situations and Leadership can be sustainable for long periods.

Without even knowing much about the theory of leadership, I had several managers through the early stages of my professional life and it was quite a negative experience. I'm not saying that management is always negative but their role was to limit change and innovation and use control to keep all of us employees in line and working repetitively. I rebelled and pushed against this type of supervision to the point of utter frustration, not knowing why I felt the way I did. Companies use management for good reasons, however companies know which are on the edge of innovation and new thought incorporate the usefulness of both ways. Google are a great example of this, they encourage creativity and innovation in their employees and give them the opportunity to push the boundaries and make changes under the supervision of management.

Management Versus Leadership Explored

Here we will look a little deeper into the differences of management versus leadership. Take note of the specific values that managers enforce and ones that leaders lead from in this section of management versus leadership.


Subject: Focus



Management: Managers focus their efforts on managing work and tasks. They have little regard for change and often ignore the people side of things as long as everything is functioning appropriately.

Leadership: Leaders focus on leading people and development of individual ability and processes. They are foremost concerned with moving forward as a team.


Subject: Power


Management: Managers use the authority which is given to them to rule over their area. They don't seek approval or try to motivate team to give them power but rather find power in their rule book.

Leadership: Leaders find their power in personal charisma, they don't force people to follow them or rely on authority from above. They have power through their ability to bring a team and vision around them.


Subject: Dynamic


Management: Managers are reactive and take one situation at a time. They let issues and problems come at them and only deal with things when they must for sustainability.

Leadership: Leaders are proactive and are in a constant state of growth. They continually build and see potential problems coming and build procedures and systems to succeed before they even cause an issue.


Subject: Blame


Management: Managers blame others, they are happy to point the finger at someone or various people and their shortcomings to shift the spotlight off themselves. They never admit partial or full blame and deflect anything that comes their way.


Leadership: Leaders accept blame and acknowledge their mistakes. They are happy to admit when they are wrong and never blame others. They are more focused on absorbing blame which might be directed at one of their team members as they are responsible for said team member.


Subject: Exchange


Management: Managers work for money and fulfill their position for the paycheck at the end of the day. They don't care for what they do but only do it to enable a living and purpose for what else is happening in their lives.


Leadership: Leaders have excitement for their work and find fulfillment in what they do. The money is a plus but not the main reason for fulfilling their position.



These are a few of the values explored in our management versus leadership section. We hope that you can see the differences between them and further understand the definition of leadership. For further reading on the defining attributes of leadership make sure you check out our define leadership section. Management versus leadership is one of our mane articles, click here to return to our leadership definition section.


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