Leadership vs Management

Leadership is about understanding direction while management is administering the journey as efficiently as possible. A leader shows the way, develops long-term strategies and plans, and inspires others so they have a clear understanding on the project’s future success.

By informing others, the organization will have the ability to adapt in a self-directing way. Leadership is about pulling the organization towards the future. Management is more about short-term planning.

Complex organizations need managers to coordinate the work, so that the right priorities are established and reached. Managers push the organization towards goals on a daily basis. Leadership is about helping people to cope with change, while management is about helping people coping with complexity. Leaders set direction, mangers plan and budget. Leaders align people, managers organize and supervise staff. Leaders motivate managers’ control.

You can quickly see the important differences between leadership and management in this classic story. A group of workers is cutting their way through a jungle. The workers in the front will be cutting the undergrowth and cleaning it out. The potential managers will be behind them, sharpening their machetes, writing policy and procedure manuals, holding development programs and setting up work schedules. The potential leader is the one who climbs the tallest tree, surveys the entire situation and yells “wrong jungle” (Covey, 1989).