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CEC PD Resources: Leadership and Management

Leadership and Management


Leadership is the potential to influence behaviour of others. It is also defined as the capacity to influence a group towards the realization of a goal. Leaders are required to develop future visions, and to motivate the organizational members to want to achieve the visions.

Some think of leadership and management as the same thing but in essence, they are very different. The main difference between the two is that leaders have people that follow them, while managers have people who simply work for them . Leadership and management must go hand in hand. They are not the same thing, but they are necessarily linked and complementary to one another.

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What are the difference between Leadership and Management?

Leadership is about getting people to comprehend and believe in the vision you set for the company and to work with you on achieving your goals, while management is more about administering and making sure the day-to-day activities are happening as they should. 

Leadership and management are the terms that are often considered synonymous. It is essential to understand that leadership is an essential part of effective management. As a crucial component of management, remarkable leadership behaviour stresses upon building an environment in which each and every employee develops and excels. Leadership is defined as the potential to influence and drive the group efforts towards the accomplishment of goals. This influence may originate from formal sources, such as that provided by acquisition of managerial position in an organization.

A manager must have traits of a leader, i.e., he must possess leadership qualities. Leaders develop and begin strategies that build and sustain competitive advantage. Organizations require robust leadership and robust management for optimal organizational efficiency.

Differences between Leadership and Management

Leadership differs from management in a sense that:

  1. While managers lay down the structure and delegates authority and responsibility, leaders provides direction by developing the organizational vision and communicating it to the employees and inspiring them to achieve it.
  2. While management includes focus on planning, organizing, staffing, directing and controlling; leadership is mainly a part of directing function of management. Leaders focus on listening, building relationships, teamwork, inspiring, motivating and persuading the followers.
  3. While a leader gets his authority from his followers, a manager gets his authority by virtue of his position in the organization.
  4. While managers follow the organization’s policies and procedure, the leaders follow their own instinct.
  5. Management is more of science as the managers are exact, planned, standard, logical and more of mind. Leadership, on the other hand, is an art. In an organization, if the managers are required, then leaders are a must/essential.
  6. While management deals with the technical dimension in an organization or the job content; leadership deals with the people aspect in an organization.
  7. While management measures/evaluates people by their name, past records, present performance; leadership sees and evaluates individuals as having potential for things that can’t be measured, i.e., it deals with future and the performance of people if their potential is fully extracted.
  8. If management is reactive, leadership is proactive.
  9. Management is based more on written communication, while leadership is based more on verbal communication.

The organizations which are over managed and under-led do not perform upto the benchmark. Leadership accompanied by management sets a new direction and makes efficient use of resources to achieve it. Both leadership and management are essential for individual as well as organizational success.

Explanation and Examples of Differences

It is appropriate here briefly to explain, and give examples of, the differences between management and leadership. There are lots of confusions and overlaps, and also big differences, when comparing leadership with management.

A very big difference between leadership and management, and often overlooked, is that leadership always involves (leading) a group of people, whereas management need only be concerned with responsibility for things (for example IT, money, advertising, equipment, promises, etc). Of course, many management roles have major people-management responsibilities, but the fact that management does not necessarily include responsibility for people, whereas leadership definitely always includes responsibility for people, is a big difference.

The biggest most fundamental overlap between leadership and management - there are many individual points - is that good leadership always includes responsibility for managing. Lots of the managing duties may be delegated through others, but the leader is responsible for ensuring there is appropriate and effective management for the situation or group concerned.

The opposite is not the case.

It would be incorrect to suggest that management includes a responsibility to lead, in the true sense of both terms. We, therefore, may see management as a function or responsibility within leadership, but not vice-versa.

(Incidentally - Where a manager begins to expand his or her management responsibility into leadership areas, then the manager becomes a leader too. The manager is leading as well as managing)

Beyond this fundamental overlap that leadership is actually a much bigger and deeper role than management - a useful way to understand the differences between leadership and management is to consider some typical responsibilities of leading and managing, and to determine whether each is more a function of leading, or of managing.


Leaders and Managers can be compared on the following basis:

Basis Manager Leader
Origin A person becomes a manager by virtue of his position.


A person becomes a leader on basis of his personal qualities.


Formal Rights Manager has got formal rights in an organization because of his status. Rights are not available to a leader.
Followers The subordinates are the followers of managers. The group of employees whom the leaders leads are his followers.
Functions A manager performs all five functions of management.


Leader influences people to work willingly for group objectives.


Necessity A manager is very essential to a concern.

A leader is required to create cordial relation between person working in and for organization.


Stability It is more stable. Leadership is temporary.
Mutual Relationship All managers are leaders. All leaders are not managers.
Accountability Manager is accountable for self and subordinates behaviour and performance. Leaders have no well defined accountability.
Concern A manager’s concern is organizational goals.


A leader’s concern is group goals and member’s satisfaction.


Followers People follow manager by virtue of job description.


People follow them on voluntary basis.


Role continuation A manager can continue in office till he performs his duties satisfactorily in congruence with organizational goals. A leader can maintain his position only through day to day wishes of followers.
Sanctions Manager has command over allocation and distribution of sanctions. A leader has command over different sanctions and related task records. These sanctions are essentially of informal nature.


Leadership or Management ?


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Smitha Sumod
Emirates College for Advanced Education, Abu Dhabi