What is the Difference Between Leadership and Management?


Is there a difference; really?

Team Building
Dr. David E. M
18 months ago

10 answers


Leadership has the vision.
Management has the mission.

Belize Green Independent Party
18 months ago
Well said. It is also the difference between doing things right AND/OR doing the right thing! - Dr. David E. 18 months ago
Agreed! No vision, then management is not fully effective in producing results. - Sandy 18 months ago

Genotype versus Phenotype!

So, is Leadership learned or inborn? How about Management?

Dr. David E. M
18 months ago

Hi David. The distinction I like came from Professor Ralph Stacey. My words rather than his, but essentially managing is operating the current business - using existing people, resources and tools to perform and deliver. Leading is taking people, organisation and customers to new places. And of course the two always merge and combine. And note they are verbs, not job titles. I'm not interested in defining people as leaders or managers. These days everyone has to do both, even if they have no-one reporting to them.

And, politely, surely we don't need to ask the learned/inborn question anymore? Does anyone really still believe people are born good at anything? Everyone has aspects of themselves which can help in some circumstances and hinder in others, so no matter what you are or are not born with, you always need to adapt and learn and grow, and you have to pay attention to what you are doing and it's impact, not just turn up and expect to be good.

Alan A
18 months ago
Well said, but we sure do ask the questions? Moreover, the nature versus nurture dichotomy is still questioned. - Dr. David E. 18 months ago

I am reading the book “Grant”. Civil War Senior General and later President of the U. S. The soliders and officers once they met Grant, followed Grant. They believed in his motivations and strategies. Grant was actually weaker at management, but recognizing this he dedicated to others.

The way I would describe a leader- When the stuff hits the fan (products being returned, angry customers, disaster around every corner) and your hard working people need to give more-when the leader looks around he sees his team ready to follow him. A manager may look around and see an empty space.

Styron Powers
18 months ago
A nice anecdote; many thanks..- - Dr. David E. 18 months ago

Leaders vs Managers

  • Managers lead by Metrics.
  • Leaders do so thru Example. 

Any more thoughts?

Dr. David E. M
18 months ago

Hello David,
Although leadership and management are intertwined in the success of an organization, the distinction is for me best illustrated by the story of a friend. This friend was the very successful president of a regional university who took the institution to national recognition and accomplishments for the transformation of their first degree curriculum. As a result, she was recruited to serve as president of two other, large institutions. One was the flagship university of the state and recognized nationally. The second was a smaller university who was struggling with finance, programs and services. When she asked the recruiter what was the difference between the two job opportunities, he said that the first university wanted her for her resume and accomplishments to complement their already established reputation, while the second wanted her for her established capacity to bring about change. The recruiter commented that taking the first position could be a career crowning choice recognizing prior achievement while taking the second one may mean a short tenure as the institution and its board may or may not like the changes she might seek to implement. In short, the first opportunity was one of management and the second of leadership. She, by the way, took the second.

Jim Ratcliff
18 months ago
A nice anecdote; many thanks.. - Dr. David E. 18 months ago

Corporate training often like to quote the Austrian-born management consultant and philosopher Peter Ferdinand Drucker with “Managers do things right; leaders do the right thing.

In fact he never said this that way, but defined in 1967: “Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.” It was nearly 20 years later when Warren G. Bennis y Burt Nanus took this phrase and simplified it to the version, we know today. A key message is that leadership not requires management level, so could be done also from the middle or the bottom. This is important for our modern flexible company structures, where the project groups change from situation to situation.

But nevertheless is this really enough, should the sentence not get extended, as we need mangers, which are leaders, or in other words “do the right thing right”?

Even if you have the best intentions, if the execution of the project is not adequate, results can be fostering the problem, instead of solving it. No need to say that bad ideas, perfectly executed are even worse.

For this mangers require relevant business ethics and sustainability trainings, but on the other hand leaders have to be identified and receive adequate management skills.

Patrick Henz
18 months ago
Nice history; well said. - Dr. David E. 18 months ago
Thanks David E. Marcinko MBBS-MD DPM MBA MEd CMP® !! - Patrick 18 months ago
U R welcome. - Dr. David E. 18 months ago
Great thoughts Patrick. Doing the right thing right is even more important into today's complex, fast moving world. Even being able to work out what the 'right' thing is gets more difficult, and combining different views on that makes it worse. "Getting the right things done right" is a good motto. - Alan 18 months ago
Alan Arnett thanks! Agreed, as the world is getting more complex, doing the right things maybe also got more difficult. Nevertheless, management receives its salary not only because of their knowledge, but to take on responsibility, including accountability. - Patrick 18 months ago
Yes Patrick Henz. Not sure they have all realise that yet :-) - Alan 18 months ago
:) - Patrick 18 months ago
There is a difference between responsibility and accountability. - Dr. David E. 18 months ago
David E. Marcinko MBBS-MD DPM MBA MEd CMP® yes, a good manager and leader should be both, even if you may assume that responsibility is more related managers and accountability more to leaders. - Patrick 18 months ago
Agreed, Patrick. My point exactly. - Dr. David E. 18 months ago
Thanks David E. Marcinko MBBS-MD DPM MBA MEd CMP® !! - Patrick 18 months ago

Having worked at several large global companies I can relate that those companies that failed lacked leadership AND vision. Without leadership, which was the case in those companies I observed, management failed because they were self-serving in their management at the expense of the sustainability of the company long term. Left to there own without a clear consensus driven vision they failed. They were also unwilling to accept new leadership with a vision because it was likely counter to their management span of control. I might add that ll of the companies I am relating were led by engineers who were not ultimately focused on what the customers wanted from the company. Nothing would have changed that mindset without a complete replacement of the management leader's.

Sandy Waters
18 months ago
Agreed; and your comment on engineers has been my experience. - Dr. David E. 18 months ago

The 70-20-10 leadership/management model

I like the Center for Creative Leadership  model for leadership, management learning and development that blends experience, relationships and training.

It is referred to as the 70-20-10 model, where approximately:

  • 70% of leadership/management  learning is provided through the use of challenging assignments and on-the-job experiences.
  • 20% of learning is developed through relationships, networks, and feedback.
  • 10% of the learning is delivered via formal training processes.

But, is this akin to the old teaching adage: “See one – Do one – Teach One“?

Dr. David E. M
18 months ago

10 most common leadership shortcomings

When it comes to leadership development, executive training and self-branding, medical entrepreneurs and practitioners need to strive to avoid what John Zenger PhD and Joseph Folkman PhD describe as the 10 most common leadership shortcomings which is based on the feed back from over 11,000 leaders.

The Drawbacks

  1. Lack energy and enthusiasm
  2. Accept their own mediocre performance
  3. Lack clear vision and direction
  4. Have poor judgment
  5. Don’t collaborate
  6. Don’t follow the standards they set for others
  7. Resist new ideas
  8. Don’t learn from mistakes
  9. Lack interpersonal skills
  10. Fail to develop others.

Note: The Daily Stat: The 10 Most Common Failures of Business Leaders, Harvard Business Publishing, June 4th, 2009.

Dr. David E. M
18 months ago

Have some input?