Management and leadership

Leadership versus management: six differences

James Scoltock | 30 Sep 2019

Leadership versus management: six differences

James Scoltock | 30 Sep 2019

In this article:

There is constant debate about the difference between management and leadership, so what are they? Read on to find out.


There are numerous stories, even on this website, that cover management and leadership, but the two words don’t mean the same thing. So what sets them apart, and which one describes your approach to business.

MotorPro spoke to Stephen Roberts, an SDI certified leadership and management trainer, to delve into the differences, and what makes someone a leader or a manager.

Task vs people

“Management is about the task, the bottom line and getting the job done, leadership is about the people – inspiring others, nurturing talent, connecting with and understanding those around you – great leaders sacrificing the numbers not the people.”

Tactics vs strategy

“Management is the day-to-day, doing things right, as efficiently and effectively as possible. Leadership is focused on the long-term, setting the direction, building and communicating the vision to help create something.”

Make the rules vs break the rules

“Managers make and follow the rules, ensuring a steady ship, while leaders have the courage to find new paths and take others with them.”

Tell vs sell

“Manager make the decision and tell the people, leaders engage, listen, encourage questions and responses, all in an effort to seek buy in from those around them.”

Minimise risks vs take risks

“Management is about finding, assessing and mitigating risk. Leadership is about seeing opportunity and permitting failure in pursuit of the greater good.”

Control vs empowerment

“Managers want to know, require strong systems, procedures and processes in an effort to maximise efficiency. Leaders want to empower others by giving them freedom to take on stretching and challenging tasks, make mistakes and learn in the process.”

Leadership and management go hand in hand and many ways complement each other. Leading organisations get the balance between management and leadership right, but it isn’t something that you achieve and then forget about, it requires constant training, re-training and evaluation.

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