Leadership Vs. Management: What’s the Difference?

Company Boss Woman Office Work Worker Owner Ceo Leader Manager
Company Boss Woman Office Work Worker Owner Ceo Leader Manager

The notion that Managers are Leaders is false. Just because an individual has a distinct title doesn’t mean they own the skills to be a leader. For any individual determined about growing a flourishing business, increasing leadership skills is of vital importance. 

Let’s explore the difference between Managers and Leaders.


In my early twenties, I worked as a manager in the entertainment business. Even though I had earned a clout position, I didn’t know the first thing about leading people. To me, donning that title was more about authority. My coworkers needed to take my instruction to maintain an income. A common misunderstanding is the belief that people with power are influential. This is not leadership in any sense. 

Managing is simply maintaining systems, whereas leading means you can move people in a particular direction with their enthusiastic participation. As a manager, although I maintained control, I was not influencing people. In other words, my employees were not following me out of respect and trust; they did their work out of necessity. I had no knowledge of leading with vision, truly influencing a group of people without the underlying job dependence tactics or connecting with people. 

The fact is, you can’t lead people efficiently if they don’t trust you. With a standard corporate structure, it isn’t common to see employees completely trusting management or feeling like they are considering their interests. It is natural for management to perceive they are leading because people listen to them when in actuality, they are simply adhering to policy because their entire livelihood is at stake.

Leadership Distinction

It wasn’t until I read my first article on leadership where I had that crucial light bulb moment. The thought that came to mind was, “if I only read then, what I read now, what a difference I could have made.” It was odd because I also thought of all the people I had worked for, which could use that same information since it was evident they didn’t understand the difference between management vs. leadership.

I understood that “leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less.” Should you question whether you are a leader, check to see how many people follow your lead by executing a different team path. You’ll observe in a hurry whether or not you have substantial influence. Authority and position have very little to do with leadership.

To work with people means you can preserve, but to lead people means you can double your efforts, and the results can be exponential.

Leadership Vs. Management

  1. Connection. Genuine relationship building is vital. You might have heard; it is simpler to walk away from a business or career than it is to walk away from a friend. To build relationships, you need to let others see your heart and be genuinely interested in other people. Would you instead follow a person who is all about their plan and the bottom line, or a person who you feel has your best interest at heart?
  2. Character. Character symbolizes integrity. Developing firm character means you are faithful and accountable. It is just about walking your talk. Decent character means doing what you say you will do, being a leader everyone around you can count on. Being honest in terms of character is about follow-through, not changing your mind every two weeks, or giving up each time hurdles arise or something becomes exhausted. Good character is necessary to lead people because people won’t trust in you as a leader without it.
  3. Credibility. You can sum this up with knowledge, experience, and ability. To become a responsible leader, one must lead from experience; never ask anyone to do something you are not willing or have not done yourself before. Building your credibility will require a promise to continual improvement in your craft. Real-life examples are more important than direction and words. The fact is, if you are unable to deliver, people would never follow you.

Your business success relies upon your choice to cultivate leadership vs. management. Becoming a prominent leader takes time. 

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