Motivation | Expertise & Competence | Productivity & Efficiency

Leadership vs Management – Analysis

The Role Of Management Through The Century

The traditional role of a manager is primarily to ‘control’ their subordinates.  The success of a managed project depends upon several factors listed below:

  • Motivation of staff
  • Resources (financial and non-financial) allocated to the task
  • Expertise and competence of the staff
  • Productivity and efficiency
  • Soundness of project plan
  • Uncontrollable external factors

Highlighted in bold are those factors that most managers are charged with control over. Often budgeting and strategic planning for an operation is completed at a higher level of management, and thus isn’t always a controllable factor.

In the Fordism era, managers were charged with maximising efficiency of the large staff numbers in manufacturing plants, and the Ford management style was created. Under this theory, staff were given a minimum number of separate tasks and were shown precisely how to do each job so they became an expert in a tiny area. This encouraged operational efficiency, and was used alongside financial incentives to motivate employees to work.

As times have changed, Fordism now appears out-dated. Management experts in the modern day recommend soft (difficult-to-measure) goals alongside the obvious desire to maximise profits. Such ‘soft’ goals could include the following:

  • High employee retention rates
  • Increased employee participation
  • Fundraising for charities
  • Reducing the environmental impact of business activities
  • Focusing on training top quality individuals

Such goals cannot be achieved with the same old fashioned management styles that dominated factories in the 1920′s, and hence several new theories have been put forward that now better reflect the way society expects managers to behave.

The Role Of Leadership Through The Century

While the role of managers has undoubtedly been made far more complex throughout the last century, the role of the business leader has stayed remarkably similar. This is in part due to the fact that while businesses have been intensely competing for low-level staff as unemployment has hit all-time lows during the 1900′s, demand for top level jobs has remained unsurprisingly solid. This has meant that while businesses have had to adapt and offer a more attractive work environment for new employees, the treatment of business leaders and senior management has hardly changed at all. Boardrooms have always been tense places.

The role of a leader is to create the top level organisational strategies and coordinate senior management in their efforts to implement the companies long term plan. As a figurehead, leaders also are required to liaise with the press and employees alike – promoting their company to both their customers and workers.

Leadership Vs Management

The leadership management comparison can be split into several areas of difference.

1. Leadership Style

Leaders use a transformational or democratic leadership style. This involves inspiring and empowering collegues, whereas managers tend to lean towards an autocratic managing style which allows them to retain most of the authority and decision making power in a business unit. In short, a leader allows people to make effective decisions, and managers attempt to make them.

2. Time focus

While it can be observed that especially among Fortune 500 companies, a CEO has a shorter expected lifespan than general manager at company, leaders still embrace a more long term time horizon. In comparison, managers are given tight targets to meet each quarter which causes them to live in a short term perspective. This can be detrimental to organisational goals but is deemed to carry more benefits than drawbacks in the current economic climate.

3. Nature of relationship with colleagues

It is said that managers have subordinates, while leaders have followers. What this displays is that people who obey managers act like unwilling tools at their disposal, whereas followers of leaders are willing and intrinsically motivated.

4. Risk Adversity

Leaders; especially entrepreneurial leaders, enjoy risk. Risk brings rewards if approached in a successful way. However for a manager, the upsides of accepting risk are minimal. A flat salary or limited bonus package ensures that managers will be more worried about losing their job or respect, than they would appreciate the limited benefits of succeeding. A manager certainly wishes for a more comfortable job than an true leader.


The difference between being a manager and being a leader is simple.  Management is a career.  Leadership is a calling.

You don’t have to be tall, well-spoken and good looking to be a successful leader.  You don’t have to have that “special something” to fulfill the leadership role.

What you have to have is clearly defined convictions – and, more importantly, the courage of your convictions to see them manifest into reality.  Only when you understand your role as guide and steward based on your own most deeply held truths can you move from manager to leader.

Whether the group you oversee is called employees, associates, co-workers, teammates or anything else, what they are looking for is someone in whom they can place their trust.  Someone they know is working for the greater good – for them and for the organization.  They’re looking for someone not only that they can -  but that they want to – follow.

Because it is only when you have followers -people who have placed their trust in you – that you know you have moved into that leadership role.  And the way you see it is that your organization is transcending all previous quality, productivity, innovation and revenue achievements.  You’re operating at such a high level of efficiency that you’re giving budget back to the corporation – and you’re still beating your goals.

You’re achieving what you always dreamed could be achieved.  And not only that, but it’s actually easier than you thought.

Because you’re a leader.  Because the classic command and control management model – which, contrary to popular belief still applies even in our most progressive 21st century companies – is no longer in play.  Sure, controls are in place.  Sure, you’re solving problems that arise.

But it’s not just you alone.  You have the people in whom you’ve put your trust – and who have happily and safely reciprocated – to help you create organizational success. Source

You might want to take a look at this fantastic power-point presentation by Linked2Leadership highlighting many examples of the differences between leadership and management. Click here.

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14 Responses to “Leadership vs Management – Analysis”
  1. JasonWilton says:

    I’ll be back to check out the final product. I think leadership and management (no matter how you combine or separate them) are fascinating topics.

  2. Free CNA training says:

    Very interesting take on Leadership, I am looking forward to your final product.

  3. Lose Belly says:

    I always try to learn new things about management, I like to be manager and I hope I will have my own business.

  4. Great article with excellent information! I hear a lot from people that say leadership is a quality that you are born with.. I wonder if that is entirely true. Or maybe we can use information from articles like this to gain leadership qualities. Either way, great post for those looking to jump into management leadership roles like myself.


  5. Phil says:

    As a new manager this helps me a lot. Seems like if you’re a manager at bigger companies you’re there to make sure you get people to execute, but I’m in a smaller company where I’m being challenged to make sure people are not only executing but also provide creative, new ways of thinking to get things done. Thanks for the info.

  6. usman ali says:

    hello everybody and help me plz about the topic of TECHINQUIES TO DEVELOP EMPLOYEES INTO CAPABLES LEADER.plz i need this is as possible help me,anyone who have smethng for tht snd me on my id.

  7. cbeese says:

    As a director I know that we have to be very good with people but also have a great knowledge about the profound meaning of the word leadership.

  8. Belly Jackson says:

    Good information on leadership per se, but what of actually being a good leader, or a good manager? What are you thoughts on those that lead by example versus those that just manage a skill force? I have worked for managers that do not know how to do the work, and I personally have never been able to respect them the same way that I do a manager that can do the job.

  9. marie says:

    excellent and informative post…you obviously are an expert on the subject.

  10. Bernard says:

    Your work place should be a place where the employee loves (not likes) to work. Creating that atmosphere in the workplace is a win win situation for everyone

  11. Chicago Bulls Snapbacks New Era says:

    Appreciate it for helping out, excellent information.

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  13. Dave says:

    great post!

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