Leadership and Management: What is the Difference?


In the leadership development industry, there is a lot of confusion about the relationship between leadership and management. Many people use the terms interchangeably. Others see them as separate, but give different reasons why.

Confusion and Mistakes
Most dictionaries suggest leadership and management are quite similar - guiding or controlling a group of people to achieve a goal. Most web articles suggest that leadership and management are different, but offer contradictory reasons, such as: leadership inspires, management plans; leaders praise, managers find fault; leaders ask questions, managers give directions; etc. However, the qualities often ascribed to leadership can also apply to managers. There can be good and bad leaders, and there can be good and bad managers.

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The Need for Clarity
For leaders and managers to understand what they have to do, and to achieve excellence in doing it, they need to understand the essence of the difference between them. This is a matter of definition - understanding how the roles are different and how they might overlap.

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