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The leadership vs management debate has been going on for decades. What’s the difference? I’m glad you asked, because it is very important to understand the leadership vs management distinction if you want to be successful as a painting contractor, other small business owner, or leader or manager just about anywhere.

Differences Between Leadership and Management

Leadership and management are two very different yet complementary skills. We need both leadership and management in order to be successful. Most people think that leadership is the same thing as management because they are both responsible for getting things done. However, leadership focuses on developing others while management focuses on managing tasks and processes.

Leadership is about inspiring people and getting them to work together towards a common goal. Managers are more focused on getting things done, assessing the performance of employees, and dealing with day-to-day issues that arise.

It’s worth stating again…Leading and Managing require two different skill sets.

Leadership vs Management Contrasting Comparison

If this were the wild west, I would say that leaders are like the judge, while managers are like the executioner. I won’t say that because that is terribly negative.

A better comparison would be that the leader is like an architect, and the manager is like the builder. One sets the vision, while the other one organizes people and resources to make it a reality.

There is some overlap, but it is important to understand the differences.

  • A manager is responsible for executing an existing vision and a leader is responsible for creating a new vision.
  • A leader is concerned with creating change and a manager is concerned with maintaining the status quo.
  • A leader focuses on creating a vision and motivating people, while a manager focuses on organizing and directing people to achieve specific goals.

Understanding the Distinction Between Leadership vs Management

In order to be successful, you need to understand the leadership vs management distinction and know which skill set you need to use in different situations. Being able to recognize the difference can help you out in both leadership and management roles.

What is Leadership?

Great leadership focuses on taking people towards a strategic vision, goal or idea that they did not have before. It’s about inspiring others to work for common goals which are achievable. Leaders focus on developing their team members by helping them get the skills they need to succeed. Effective leaders know they don’t have all the answers, and look to other leaders and listen to feedback gathered from employee engagement systems.

What is Management?

Management focuses on getting people to complete tasks and projects in an organized fashion, with the most efficient use of time and resources possible. Managers are focused on ensuring that work gets done by allocating different tasks or responsibilities to team members who have the requisite skill set for each task.

Are Leaders Born, or Are Leaders Made?

Leaders are not born, they are made. And with the right skills and knowledge, anyone can become a leader.

Leaders are not born, they are made. And with the right skills and knowledge, anyone can become a leader. The same could be said of managers. Although a person made be more naturally gifted for or lean towards one or the other, both leadership and management require professional development if a person wants to become a great leader or great manager.

Similarities Between Leadership and Management

In small businesses and organizations, it’s unlikely that you will be solely either a leader or a manager and more likely that you will be a leader AND a manager. It’s quite often that the manager and leader are the same person, and it’s not uncommon to see both skills sets listed in a job description. The split between the two skills you need to employ will vary based on your team, your company culture, and what your job requires. In a lot of ways, leading and managing or similar. Both effective leaders and managers work with people, and they both need strong soft skills to achieve the company’s mission.

Important Skills Shared by Both Leaders and Managers

  • Listening
  • Relationship Development
  • Coaching
  • Problem Solving
  • Decision Making

Leaders Think Ideas, Managers Think Execution

While management culture emphasizes rational and controlled behavior, the leader seeks out ways to improve the organization’s performance. They do this by introducing new ideas and promoting an optimistic attitude towards futures with an optimistic attitude. Managers often seek answers to what happens, but leadership searches for what happens. Therefore, managers are responsible for accomplishing their work according to leadership goals. They aim to make sure that all employees in different functions have a good experience and feel they have an opportunity to contribute.

Leaders look to the future, Managers work in the present

One major difference between leaders and managers is that leaders are more forward-oriented compared with managers. Leaders are constantly looking ahead and planning for the future, while managers are more focused on the present. This is not to say that leaders do not care about the present, but their focus is typically on what needs to be done in order to achieve long-term goals. Managers, on the other hand, may have shorter-term goals and are more focused on managing day-to-day operations.

Leaders tend to look ahead and exploit potential opportunities. But the vision of the future will not be realized without transparent communication with the managers and the employees of the company.

Top Leadership Skills

A leader is someone who can guide a company in a direction where they can share goals and motivate people in that direction. Leaders don’t just dream about their destination, leaders are also guiding their teams with examples of their journey there. The leader is the one deciding where to go and the people looking out for a better future. The most important characteristics of leaders are motivation and leadership style. Strong leadership motivates a team towards something impossible.

Top Management Skills

Management, on the other hand, is about organizing and coordinating people and resources. A manager ensures that tasks are completed on time and within budget. They create systems and processes and make sure that everyone in the organization is working towards the same goal.

Differing Communication Styles of Managers and Leaders

Leaders and managers both need to be able to communicate effectively, but their communication styles will be different. Leaders inspire people with their vision, while managers give orders and ensure that everyone is on track. Unfortunately, not every manager appreciates the communication style of the leader. The same holds true from the other side: not all leaders appreciate the communication style of the manager. But a critical part to successfully pursue important organizational initiatives is for the two to establish good two way communication. This is also important in keeping their team informed and in helping their team understand with clarity what needs to be done so they can all work together to achieve organizational goals.

Which is better management or leadership?

Leading people helps businesses grow, while managers’ best achievement is making processes more efficient.

In my opinion, leadership and management are both equally important. Managers need leaders to help them set the direction, and leaders need managers to help them accomplish the vision. The important question is, “Which is needed in a given moment?”

Some people tend to think that leadership is more important because leaders tend to get the recognition, but great leaders know that management typically does the heavy lifting. That’s why great leaders go out of their way to recognize their managers and share the glory and recognition.

Leadership vs Management or Leadership PLUS Management?

Rather than saying “leadership vs management”, I like to say “leadership plus management”. Good managers and good leaders both are required for success in achieving organizational goals.

Rather than saying “leadership vs management”, I like to say “leadership plus management”

What Comes First Leadership or Management?

This is a question that has been debated for years, but there is no definitive answer. Some people believe leadership comes first, while others think management is more important. I think it’s akin to asking whether the chicken or the egg came first. I don’t really think it matters. Because in order to perpetuate and move forward you’re going to have to have both.

Do You Feel More Naturally Inclined to Lead or Manage?

The most successful organizations have a mix of both leaders and managers. Where do you find yourself on the spectrum? Do you seem to enjoy leading or managing better? Does that match what is needed in your current role? It’s worth considering.

In Conclusion

Managing and leadership are both vital—when you personally have both of these qualities you hit the jackpot professionally. If you find value in my content and want to learn more on this subject, follow me on Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, or Instagram. I look forward to interacting with you.