People often mistake leadership and management as the same thing, but in essence they are very different. The main difference between the two is that leaders have people follow them, while managers have people who simply work for them.

Leadership is about motivating people to comprehend and believe in the vision you set for the company and to work with you on achieving your goals.

While management is more about administering the work and ensuring the day-to-day activities are getting done as they should.

For a small business owner to be successful however, they need to be both a strong leader and manager to get their team on bord with working towards their vision of success.

Therefore, leadership and management must go hand in hand. Even though they are not the same thing, they are closely linked and complementary to one another. Any effort to separate the two within an organisation is likely to cause more problems than it solves.

For any company to be successful, it needs management that can plan, organise and coordinate its staff, and leaders that are inspiring and motivating them to perform to the best of their ability.

Leadership and management quote explaining the difference

But, what does a leader do?

Leaders have a tendency to praise success and drive people, whereas managers work to find faults. A successful leader paints a picture of what they see is possible for the company to achieve and works to inspire and engage their people in turning that vision into a reality.

Rather than seeing individuals as just a particular set of skills, they think beyond what they can do and activate them to be part of something much bigger.

A leader in business is well aware of how high-functioning teams can accomplish a lot more when working together rather than individuals working autonomously.

How to understand the difference

Both managers and leaders need to understand what they have to do and to achieve excellence in doing it, they need to comprehend the essence of the difference between them.

This is a matter of definition – understanding how the role are different and where they might overlap.

Managers, for example, will focus on setting, measuring and achieving goals by controlling situations to reach or exceed their objectives. Whereas leaders will focus on what those goals are and motivating people to achieve them.

You must think of one without the other to truly see the differences that exist between them as management without leadership only controls the resources to maintain.

Comparing the differences between a manager and a leader in business

Are you a manager or a leader?

There are many different types of leadership and management styles where different situations, groups, or cultures may require the use of different styles in order to set a direction and ensure it followed through.

One way to decipher which of the two you may be, manager or leader, is to count the number of people outside your reporting hierarchy who come to you for advice.

The more that do, the more likely is it that you are perceived to be a leader.

John Kotter, Professor of Leadership at Harvard University, fears that too often employers use the terms synonymously. If an organisation is run effectively, leadership and management will exist in tandem.

How to become a good manager or leader

Mentoring and formal training can help employees utilise and use their leadership skills. According to research by the Chartered Management Institute, 90% of members who have completed a management and leadership qualification found the experience improved their performance at work.

There was also a “ripple effect” with 81% of those surveyed passed on their knowledge to colleagues.

However, celebrating individual leaders can also cause some to forget that it is never just one person running the show. Not everyone who is in charge of a team is both a leader and a manager. In order to have a successful organisation there needs to be a mixture of both and therefore celebrating all individuals who were a part of that achievement.

Many people are both a leader and a manager. Having managed people but along the way realised that is not possible to buy people to follow you down a difficult path then start to act as leaders.

The challenge then lies in making sure you are both leading your team as well as managing your day-to-day operation.

Those who are able to do both, will create a competitive advantage.

Plus, understanding emotional contagion is a tool to success as your mindset can have a powerful effect to becoming a successful leader.

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