The Difference Between Leadership and Management

Management and leadership are two words in the business world, which are often used interchangeably. Whilst a person operating at a sufficiently senior level within an organisation will often be required to exhibit both qualities. The fact remains that leadership and management should be considered as two distinctive subjects, despite the understanding that they are often indivisibly linked.

What is Management?

The Difference Between Leadership and Management - managerCommon definitions of management consider that the task of management includes the planning, controlling and execution of processes and tasks within an organisation. As such, the consideration is that management is largely an organisational skill, based around the organisation of resources.

Typically management is seen as task and skill set, which is aimed at maintaining the status quo within an organisation. As such, the functions of management are often associated with target setting, budgeting and other activities which facilitate control.

What is Leadership?

The Difference Between Leadership and Management - leaderLeadership on the other hand, is usually associated with the specific management of people. This however, is a little blunt for a definition and limits the scope of the concept of leadership somewhat. A wider and more appropriate definition of leadership would be to consider that leadership is the general advocacy of a direction or vision within an organisation.

As such, leadership is associated, not with the specific instructions and controls linked to management. Instead, leadership involves the inspiration and motivation of groups and individuals within an organisation, with the aim of allowing those groups and individuals to bring about the desired vision of the leader.

What is the Difference Between Leadership and Management?

An often overly simplified distinction between the tasks of leadership and management is to consider that management applies to “things” whilst, leadership applies to people. However, this is to over simplify the distinction and misses the point somewhat.

A better analysis would be to consider that management is a skill based around the organisation of both people and resources, in order to maintain current processes and practises, or at achieve a specific predetermined outcome. On the other hand, leadership is concerned with the provision of communications, inspiration and motivation to enable people and resources to create change within an organisation.