Leadership vs Management

Leadership vs Management

What is leadership? What is management? Are these two terms different and, if so, how so?

Traditionally, in business, you would never observe a name tag with the word Leader on it. It would say, Manager or Supervisor. Likewise, in a Scout troop, you would never see a position of Manager. Why is this?


Leadership vs management: A manager has employees, or subjects, or inanimate objects like computers, or even inanimate intangible things like networks. A manager has the role of organizing assets to get a task completed. You can manage finances, manage a team, manage employees, and the list goes on and on.

A manager can be a leader. It’s best for everyone involved if they are leaders of one kind or another.


Leadership vs management: A leader has followers who believe in him or her. A leader inspires or motivates others, but it must be sentient beings (able to feel or perceive things and able to reason) So, for this post, we will stick with humans. A leader motivates humans in some way.

A leader does not need to be a manager. A leader can be a coworker or even a subordinate. Although, a subordinate with leadership qualities are not likely to stay subordinate for long. Leaders inspire or motivate and, depending on what kind of leader they are, are in high demand.

From the early 1900s, leadership and leaders were studied and identified as being born that way. Then their skills and behaviors studied for duplication, and leadership as a subject began to emerge. Through the years, leadership has changed from leader-centric to more follower focused. The central leadership styles existing today include: 

Situational Approach

A significant leap in 1969 happened with the discovery of the Situational Approach to Leadership. It is one of the most widely studied of all until the most recent leadership style. The situational approach was popular as it allowed leaders to shift how they related to their followers based on the current environment, who they were, and the situation they were in. That was a notable shift in focus for the leadership world because, until then, leadership was leader-centric and not focused on those being led. The situational approach began to include the followers into the leadership strategy. The notion that employees should be acknowledged was now beginning to take hold. 

Path-Goal Theory

A leader identifies goals for the follower and shows them the path to achieve them.

Leader-Member Exchange

This leader focuses on a win-win situation between leader and follower. Until now, leadership has focused on the leader or weighed towards the leader. That is the first time where a 50/50 focus existed. Leader-Member Exchange focuses on the interaction between members and leaders to improve on all fronts.

Authentic Leadership

Transparency is at the heart of Authentic Leadership. This leader is transparent with followers and builds a real relationship with the team. It encourages trust and inspires followers to try harder for the team. It also inspires loyalty and increases longevity.

Servant Leadership

This one is generally undesirable. Servant leaders martyr themselves for their team. They do everything for them, expecting very little responsibility from the followers.

Transactional Leadership

Transactional leaders motivate followers with a reward of some kind. Think of a sales manager offering a bonus for the first product sold today. It is not particularly inspiring. Consequently, transactional leaders are not transformative – they are transaction-based. 

Adaptive Leadership

Even in the state of constant change, the goal of an adaptive leader is to help the team identify goals, help them navigate past obstacles, and learn what they need to achieve those goals. Adaptive leaders adapt and help train followers how to do the same. They inspire the team to get past their hurdles and to strive for achievement.

Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership, at first glance, is the most sought after currently. It is probably the most popular today because transformational leaders inspire others to dream big, to break free from self-limiting beliefs, and to think of a utopian future they can have. However, transformational leadership is emotionally draining to maintain and does not focus on results. A company full of transformational leadership may not notice positive results in productivity because that’s not the focus. The focus of transformational leadership is to inspire; It focuses on feelings and dreams. For instance, a company leader addressing everyone in a first-of-the-year inspirational speech about their vision. However, to inspire a team to be productive, this leadership style should be tempered with Path-Goal, Adaptive, or another goal-oriented leadership style, so company revenue is positively affected.

Several of these styles can be adopted in varying degrees to achieve your desired result.

Don’t hesitate to analyze your leadership style. Ask some trusted employees to evaluate you…that’s a twist. The purpose of this post is to draw attention to the topic of leadership and motivate you to make positive changes in your business. It could only result in a win-win situation.

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