Leadership Versus Management Debate


There are absolutely hundreds of thousands of articles on this subject matter, there are just as many answers as there are debates! In my view, the difference between a manager and a leader is the way the two styles motivate people and teams to achieve the overall aims, goals and objectives of the company.

Leaders are the ones who envision and spearhead the team’s, motivating, challenging and directing them all to reach the ultimate goal.

Managers on the other hand tend to maintain the running of the company and are quite happy plodding along and never really setting any challenges, as long as they reach the objective, they don’t want to break any boundaries and aim higher. Managers specialise on conformance to the standards that are set, they manage the teams and individuals.


The Paradox

It is quite easy to distinguish between the two, though it is complex in some ways as many people are both! Some managers have the task of controlling systems, resources along with standards set by the company CEO, whilst keeping all of that together they must also be expected to look after individuals and run teams to achieve uncharted boundaries.

If we think about it based on theories of Leadership, dictating through a style of which seems autocratic, won’t win the minds of individuals. This will create more damage than good during the long term, this is why leadership does play a very important role within the workplace environment, every company must have specialists to motivate and lead teams to reach new limits. Equally, systems and protocol must be monitored and controlled to ensure tasks and roadmaps are created to achieve goals, this is achieved through the management!


Management normally focuses on work and tasks. These activities fit within the subject of resource: Human, time, Money, equipment and anything else that involves achieving that task. The distinction therefore from Management versus Leadership is on managing resource within the constraints of the systems and enforcing the desired standards of work, including:

  • Planning – Planning resource and tasks to achieve the objectives
  • Budgeting – Managing the constraints of budgets in the department / project
  • Organising – Organising support functions and resource
  • Controlling – Controlling the standards required to deliver the objectives
  • Coordinating – Coordinating and directing project tasks for achievement of goals
  • Resource use – Ensuring effective resource is used for the task at hand
  • Time management – Ensuring tasks and activities are conducted within the correct time frame
  • Decision Making – Making the right decisions in the heat of the moment
  • Problem Solving – Ensure problems are contained and eliminated


Leadership focuses on achieving tasks, keeping the team motivated and empowered to achieve that task. Thirdly, it involves getting the best out of each and every individual for the benefit of the team’s successful achievement of those goals. It is about leading by example, inspiring, empowerment, creating the most conducive environment for team success:

  • Vision – focusing on the long term vision or goal
  • Motivation – Motivation and empowerment to challenge the norm
  • Inspiration – Inspiring others through merely leading and injecting enthusiasm
  • Persuasion – Using excellent leadership skills to bring people willingly along the correct path
  • Teamwork – Encouraging effort and commitment, and teamwork
  • Building Relationships – Building strong relationships and ensuring the team is well balanced
  • Listening – Being able to listen and get the root causes quickly and effectively
  • Counselling – Ensuring that every member of the team is motivated and effectively empowered
  • Coaching – Encouraging and giving freedom for individuals to learn and grow
  • Teaching – Leading the correct performance and expectations
  • Mentoring – Being the leader in a successful team and parting knowledge and wisdom onto the team and its individuals

It is clear then that there are differences in the debate between Leadership versus management……

Managers are at times, Leaders, so the paradox never ends! Your task is to adopt the correct style when either leading or managing.

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

Speak Your Mind

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.