Are Leadership and Management Really that Different?

~By K. Sunshine Steward~

“Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes.” ~Peter Drucker

Many would debate the idea that leadership and management are distinctively different, however they seem to entwine with one another, causing us to mirror our own actions and ask ourselves, “Are we really leading?”.

So, what are the variations between managers and leaders?

Managers embrace the process, seek stability and control, and instinctively try to resolve problems quickly, even though day to day tasks may vary depending on the situation. In contrast, leaders tolerate chaos and lack of structure, and are sometimes inherently willing to delay closure to understand the issues more closely. However, both require a reduced focus on logic and strategic planning to allow creativity and imagination to flourish to their fullest potential.

Leadership vs. Management

Leadership vs. Management

There are many differences between management and leadership; and both are extremely important. To manage means to bring relation to, to bring about, to have charge of or responsibility, and to direct. Leading, on the other hand, is to influence, guiding in a path, route, action, or opinion. What’s so interesting is how dissimilar management and leadership are to one another, but so important for success in a multi-faceted unpredictable business environment.

Described below is an observation of the differences:


  • Innovate
  • Original
  • Develop
  • Focus on people
  • Inspire Trust
  • Investigate it
  • Long-range perspective
  • Ask what & why
  • Eye on the horizon
  • Challenge it


  • Administer
  • Copy
  • Maintain
  • Focus on system & structure
  • Rely on control
  • Accept reality
  • Short-range view
  • Ask how & when
  • Have eye on bottom line
  • Accept status quo

Essential to leadership is knowing our purpose, ethics and operating values, and how we interact with others. What establishes success in leadership is our behavior and how we effectively modify communication with one another. With successful leadership, not only will we be able to manage others, but also ourselves in our personal lives, which ultimately affects who we are as individuals.

( Abraham Zaleznik,. Leaders vs Management Harvard Business Review)
( Ed. Robert N. Lussier, Human Relations in Organization)

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Kali Sunshine Steward

Kali Steward

Meet the Author: Kali S. Steward

Kali Steward is the owner of Eason Health Care Services, LLC, and former Director of Business In Heels, “a global women networking company driven by the understanding that women do it differently”.

We utilize our circle to inspire each other and leave a lasting impression in each others lives… Knowledge is Power & Unity keeps us bonded.


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