Leadership vs Management: The Grand Old Debate

Leadership vs Management: The Grand Old Debate

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Updated on Dec 2, 2022 17:02 IST

There has always been a debate on whether leadership and management are the same thing or not; and if they are different, then why? This article will try to differentiate between leadership and management and provide a guide to how managers can become good leaders.


Management and leadership – we have all heard these two terms often, and most of them are mentioned together. A lot of people confuse management to be leadership and vice versa. However, it is not and organizations should focus on keeping the two terms separate. This is why leadership training is on the rise nowadays. Let’s discuss Leadership vs Management.

Let’s jump in:

What is Management?

Management is usually about administering or managing a set of processes that keep an organization functioning. It may include anything like creating business strategies for the effective utilization of resources to coordinating the employees to achieve the organizational objectives. Management is generally about getting the job done and does not get down to the nuances of employee relationships in broader terms.

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What is Leadership?

Leadership needs no title. Leadership itself is not a title.  The powers of a leader are not associated with his/her title but come from the followers; it does not come from authority but from the personal qualities that he/she has. Leaders do care about organizational goals. However, at the same time, they also motivate and inspire others to follow their own personal goals as well.

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Leadership vs Management: The Differences

Vision vs goals – Leaders create a vision while managers execute a vision, in other words, achieve a goal. Leaders are not just about doing what they are told to do; they form their own visions of where the company should move towards and provide a clear path for the team to follow. Managers usually follow a common organizational goal and execute strategies to help the team reach that goal.

Ability to lead vs ability to direct – Leaders are inspirational in helping their teams understand their role. They make them realize that they are core to the team or the organization’s success. Managers direct the team members, reviewing their work and letting them know what’s expected of them. This is where the difference lies. While managers show the destination, leaders help the team to get there and enable them to play a greater role.

Also Read>> 10 Effective Project Management Techniques to Prevent Catastrophe!

Taking risks vs minimizing risks – Leaders are risk-takers. They foresee opportunities where others fail to and take risks, which often, if not always, are fruitful. This is what separates them from others. Managers are more associated with minimizing risks and don’t waste time on expeditions that do not have definitive outcomes.

Challenges the status quo vs accepting the status quo – Leaders are not happy with monotony. They will want to change and improve the existing conditions so that the organization can move forward in newer directions. Managers are responsible for maintaining the status quo and feel that the current direction is the safest one.


How Can Managers Become Leaders?

Managers can become good leaders if they want to. They need to have the requisite leadership qualities in them:

Lead by example – Managers sometimes need to stop directing and lead by example. They should show the direction and not only the destination. This will help you to become a leader in front of your team instead of someone who checks on results.

Encourage feedback – Being open to feedback is one of the important characteristics of a leader. If you want to do things differently and make others see the bigger picture, you need to understand how they think of your ideas and you as a person. Leaders are always looking to improve themselves and their relationships with their followers. If you want to be more than a manager, you must communicate with your team openly and be open to feedback.

Allow space for improvement – As a manager, you might have stuck to the results. But to be a leader, you must know how to utilize your resources to improve the processes further. Find out areas where your team can be improved or if they need any training to grow professionally. This will help to get better results and also support their career.

Turn goals into visions – As mentioned earlier, managers are more into goals — achieving them or strategizing ways to achieve them. You should look beyond your goals to become a leader. Become an architect and visualize new areas to take the team towards. Just don’t limit your work to the goals that you have received. Go for the bigger picture.

Also Read>> 5 Steps To Help You In Becoming A Leader

As they say, “managers have subordinates and leaders have followers”, there is a vast difference between the two terms. All leaders are great managers, but all managers are not leaders. You will have to acquire the right skills set to become a leader.

Also explore: 

Shiksha Online offers various leadership training courses that will help to make managers good leaders. Enroll in a course now!

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How can I become a leader?

Taking up leadership training can help you to become the leader you want to be, keep yourself updated on the latest leadership trends, and shape the next generation of leaders in your organization. You can improve your skills by taking up foundational leadership courses at first and then move on to high-level leadership programs that cover topics like organizational consulting and change leadership, leadership principles, improving your business's culture, ethical leadership, sustainable business strategies, change management, digital leadership, the psychology of leadership, etc.

What skills do I need to become a leader?

Some of the prominent skills required to become a leader include strategic thinking, people management, openness to employee concerns, persuasion and influencing, active listening, ability to assess employee strengths and weaknesses, business storytelling, public speaking, ability to facilitate group conversations, planning and delivery, change management and innovation, learning agility, strong emotional intelligence, empathy, humility, versatility, motivating, conflict management, positivity, diplomacy, strong business ethics, and confidentiality, among others.

Is it worth taking a leadership course?

Yes, of course it is worth taking up a leadership course. It helps you to - Improve your own as well as your team's productivity and contribute to meet the business goals; Get a chance to interact with the best brains of the industry and successful leaders to gain an insight into real-life business situations; Learn about the various business models and different ways to formulate and implement business strategies; Unlock opportunities for better career growth and earn high remunerations.

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