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The Difference between Management and Leadership

When it comes to creating a result be it in business, or in life in general, we all have choices to make as to HOW WE WILL BE with ourselves, others and the world around us. This makes all the difference, because HOW WE ARE determines the way we see the world, and therefore how we interact and influence it.

In any organization, there are those that manage and those that lead. Of course you also get some that have the ability to integrate the two, but for this particular focus we will draw a line down the middle to see the difference between the two.


Seek control Seek influence
Emphasize what is visible Emphasize what is invisible
Focus on doing Focus on becoming
Goal oriented Mission oriented
Provide form & structure Provide meaning
Stay within the boundaries Play with the boundaries
Preserve stability Promote instability
Do things right Do the right things
Needs-driven Values-led
Expect followers to serve Seek to serve followers
Influence through power & authority Influence through love & caring
Train for skill development Train for self development
Pull, prod, push followers Attract followers
Focus on the parts Focus on the whole
Concerned about the physical Concerned about the spiritual
Short-term perspective Long-term perspective
Efficient Effective
Administer what already exists Create what does not yet exist
Administer resources Steward resources

What comes down to is the source of authority with which the person attains their organizational or personal goals. The manager is given the authority to speak on behalf of the organization, and so wields a power that is not their own.
On the other hand, authority in leadership is derives either from a specialist knowledge or from who that person is.

Leaders attract followers, who then bestow the right for the leader to lead. At any time the follower can decide that they no longer want to follow, and so remove the leads influence in their lives. As management is a more structured role, the manager would then exercise their authority and get the follower back in line, perhaps with some transactional leadership, either by dangling a carrot, or bringing out the metaphorical stick.

There is a distinct difference between the way that leaders are from managers. Their context is different, and so is their role. We need a mixture of both to be successful, and a clear understanding of this certainly contributes to the overall effectiveness of an organization.




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