Personal Development, Productivity, and Time Management Blog

Leadership Versus Management

When I think of leadership and management, I like to use the metaphor of driving. A driver uses a car, which is an object that helps them get around. But a driver doesn’t care about the car itself; they don’t focus on how many quarts of oil are in it or whether the transmission has been replaced recently.

Instead, their attention is focused forward on the road ahead and getting from point A to point B with as little hassle as possible—in other words, managing their vehicle so it provides them with what they need without causing any problems along the way.

So when it comes to leadership versus management: Leadership is the ability to get people excited and motivated about what they are doing—to focus on the road ahead so that everyone can enjoy their journey.

Management, on the other hand, is all about making sure your car doesn’t break down in traffic or run out of gas before you reach your destination.

Managing is doing things right; leading is doing the right things.

This is a good time to talk about the difference between management and leadership. We’ve already established that managers are the people who do things right; they take care of details, make sure everything is done according to protocol, and ensure that progress is being made on projects and initiatives.

Leaders, however, think about what’s right for the organization or team (the big picture), how best to get there (process), and why it needs to happen in the first place (outcome). They’re also more concerned with future goals than present ones—or at least they should be!

In other words: Managers manage processes; leaders lead outcomes. Managers manage details; leaders focus on big-picture visions. And although both roles overlap at times—for example, when managers have to take charge in an emergency situation or when leaders must execute tasks delegated by others—they generally occupy very different spaces within organizations’ structures and mindsets: one focusing on current conditions while another looks toward future possibilities for growth and success.

A manager asks how and when; a leader asks what and why.

Managers are concerned with the how and when of tasks, while leaders are concerned with the what and why.

A manager is more concerned with the practical aspects of a task; they ask how to get it done, when to do it, and who’s going to do what. A leader cares less about how tasks get done and more about their purpose—they want to know why they’re doing them and who will benefit from them.

A manager administrates; a leader innovates.

The difference between leadership and management is that a manager follows the rules, while a leader creates them. A good manager can follow orders given by superiors and take care of the details, but only a good leader can change the game completely by breaking new ground with fresh ideas.

Leadership is about making decisions and taking risks; it’s about having a vision for your future, not just following someone else’s idea of what success looks like.

A manager is a copy; a leader is an original.

The first thing to understand is that a manager is a copy and not an original. They’re followers, not leaders. The second thing to understand about managers is that they’re afraid of change and innovation. They don’t want to be blamed for anything going wrong, so they want everything to go right with little risk involved and minimal effort on their part.

Managers are not interested in moving forward; they prefer to stay the same or even move backwards because it makes them feel safe — just like how we humans tend toward inaction when faced with uncertainty or fear of failure (which are really just different ways of saying “risk”).

Acting Like a Leader and Thinking Like a Leader

A manager maintains; a leader develops.

Leadership is a long-term process. The most effective leaders see the value of leadership as a process, not just as something that happens at the beginning or end of projects. A manager maintains; a leader develops.

Effective leadership requires a long-term perspective. While individual managers may have very short time horizons, leaders need to look farther into the future and think about how their decisions today will affect things in the future—not just for themselves but also for their teams, organizations and even society at large.

Leaders don’t just take responsibility; they give it too! Good leaders can step forward when needed and accept blame for mistakes made by teams or individuals under them—but this does not work if those same leaders aren’t willing to share credit with everyone else when things go well (and sometimes even when they don’t go so well).

A manager focuses on systems and structure; a leader focuses on people.

Leaders are focused on people. They lead through inspiration and motivation, rather than control and fear. Effective leaders understand that if you want to motivate and inspire people, you can’t just create an environment where they’re comfortable—you have to make them feel like their work is important.

Leaders focus on the why, not just the how of things. A great leader will ask “why” twice as much as a manager does because they understand the power of asking this question. It encourages critical thinking and forces you to get at deeper roots of problems rather than just treating symptoms.

Managers focus on systems and structure; leaders focus on people

A manager relies on control; a leader inspires trust.

A manager relies on control; a leader inspires trust. Managers look for compliance and order, while leaders look for creativity and innovation. Managers are more likely to be feared, while leaders are more likely to be trusted.

Managers have direct reports and can give orders, but they aren’t necessarily responsible for the results of those orders. Leaders must coordinate with others without formal authority over them; they must find ways to get people working together in order to achieve goals that may not be directly tied to their own personal success or advancement—goals that may even conflict with other people’s interests at times!

A manager has a short-range view; a leader has a long-range perspective.

A manager’s focus is on the present, because that’s all he can see. A leader’s focus is on the future, because that’s all he or she can see.

A manager has a short-range view; a leader has a long-range perspective.

A manager is focused on the details; a leader is focused on the big picture. A manager gets things done as efficiently as possible; a leader gets things done as effectively as possible. A good example of this difference: at NASA, for every dollar spent on an employee there are several dollars in value generated by their work—in other words, it costs more than $1 to pay them but they generate over $3 in benefits for society (the rest goes back into paying more people and buying more stuff).

A manager asks how to do it more efficiently, while a leader asks if it can be done more effectively.

A manager is focused on getting the job done, while a leader is focused on doing the right thing.

A manager focuses on efficiency, while a leader focuses on effectiveness.

Managers ask how to do it more efficiently, while leaders ask if it can be done more effectively.

Personal Development Goals For Work

Leadership and management should be in balance

You might come across the terms leadership and management in your day-to-day work. Leadership, it is said, is the art of motivating people and getting them to do what you want them to do. Management, on the other hand, involves allocating resources effectively among competing demands.

For an organization to succeed and grow, both of these functions are essential; however there is a tendency for one or the other to be overemphasized at times when things go wrong. This can create problems as it leads managers who want to get on with their jobs by getting people to do what they need done being frustrated that no one seems motivated enough!

It also means leaders who are used to being able better motivate their team may feel powerless without having direct control over outcomes themselves since they have limited influence over resource allocation decisions made elsewhere within an enterprise!

To solve this problem requires an understanding that any given situation will involve competing demands where some impulses cannot be satisfied fully because others must take precedence instead – yet all parties involved need convincing that this tradeoff makes sense before they will cooperate willingly towards achieving shared goals.”


In conclusion, I believe that management and leadership should not be in conflict with each other.

They have different roles to play and should work together in harmony to achieve organizational goals. Leadership is about setting a vision and inspiring others to follow it, while management is about ensuring that everything runs smoothly on an everyday basis.

Meet the Author

Mo Fayez is an engineer by trade with more than 15 years of experience in management, passionate about Management coaching, self-help, and productivity. He has a passion for teaching and helping others become the best that they can be. He also enjoys training people to become more productive at work.Learn more about this blog that Mo has created in 2021, and why he decided to start this blog. If you want to send Mo a quick message, then visit his contact page here.

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