Leadership vs. Management

Is there a difference between management and leadership? We hear these terms mentioned in our jobs and daily endeavors, but what do they entail? As I have thought deeply about the characteristics of the two titles, I have noticed similarities and differences between the two. Eventually I’d enjoy writing a book about this topic, but will condense the current version.

Throughout my personal study of leadership, I have developed a passion for the topic as I have read books, studied world-renowned leaders, and thought of the managers and leaders in my past. There are many different angles to take when analyzing the key components of management and leadership. Think of a leader you have learned from in the past. Now think of a manager. Was there a difference?

Businessdictionary.com says that the definition of a manager is “an individual who is in charge of a certain group of tasks, or a certain subset of a company. A manager often has a staff of people who report to him or her.” The definition of leader, also courtesy of Businessdictionary.com, says a leader is “A person or thing that holds a dominant or superior position within its field, and is able to exercise a high degree of control or influence over others.” The main difference here is the word influence. A leader has the ability to influence others to reach a common goal. A manager may have employees reporting to him or her, but if they lack influence then they lack the key to leadership. Can a leader be a manager? Absolutely. In fact, I would say a manager must be a leader first. Can a manager afford to not be a leader? No. An effective leader is an effective manager.

There are numerous leadership styles that inspire and motivate. There isn’t one right answer or set way. In July I gathered with my family to celebrate the life of my grandfather. Everyone who spoke and shared words about him, talked about how they respected him and how he commanded that respect in a calm and collected manner. I have learned that leaders inspire others to be their best. Leadership can be seen and felt. Leaders encourage, uplift, love, serve, and care. Leaders set aside their interests for the betterment of those they lead. Effective leadership calls for passion and persistence. Positivity is key in leadership.

Although an effective leader cannot eliminate the negative, they rise to the occasion when others would fold. Leaders control what they can control, and let their actions and influence take care of the rest. Leaders are accountable to themselves and to the individuals they are leading. Leaders allow for growth, while praising the good and understanding ways to fix the bad. Leaders give constructive feedback and criticism with the intent of inspiring self-improvement and creating future leaders. Leaders know that success isn’t created alone, thus leading to successful relationships. Leaders eliminate the words I and me, making it about we. Leaders are able to read people through listening, patience, and focus. The most important thing that leaders can do on a daily basis is learn. The list goes on, but that’s for another time. As for now, it’s time to put your leadership potential into action. As we learn, we lead. When we lead, we are equipped to manage. If you don’t know where to begin, start leading in your current situation.





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