Colin’s Corner

The Difference Between Leadership and Management

By Colin Toll


Over a good many years I have read and heard many publications and people on the subject of leadership.  All two frequently the author, or the orator, confuses leadership with management.


The purpose of this Previews article is to clarify the differences between the two important subjects.

Leadership and management are two distinct concepts that are often used interchangeably, but they have different meanings and roles within an organization. Understanding the difference between leadership and management is crucial for individuals who aim to excel in their professional careers. This article explores the key distinctions between leadership and management, highlighting their unique characteristics and functions.


Leadership is the ability to inspire and motivate others towards a common goal or vision. It involves influencing individuals or teams to achieve their full potential. A leader is someone who sets the direction, creates a compelling vision, and empowers others to achieve it. Leaders are focused on long-term strategic planning and are often seen as visionary and inspirational figures. They are responsible for establishing a sense of purpose and providing guidance to their followers.

In a nutshell:  Leadership is about the mind.


On the other hand, management is the process of overseeing and coordinating the activities of a group to achieve predetermined goals. Managers are responsible for organizing resources, allocating tasks, and ensuring that the work is completed efficiently and effectively. They are concerned with the day-to-day operations of a team or organization. Managers focus on planning, organizing, and controlling resources to achieve specific targets and objectives. They are responsible for implementing the vision set by the leaders and ensuring the smooth functioning of the organization.

In a nutshell:  Management is about things including time.

Leadership and management are distinct concepts, but they are not mutually exclusive.

Leaders often possess management skills, and managers often exhibit leadership qualities. The main difference lies in their primary focus and approach. Leaders inspire and motivate, while managers organize and coordinate.

Leadership is more about influencing and inspiring others, while management is about ensuring tasks are completed on time and within budget. Leaders focus on the big picture, while managers concentrate on the details. Leaders are often seen as change agents, while managers are seen as stabilizers and problem solvers.

Leadership is about creating a shared vision and empowering others to achieve it, while management is about executing that vision and ensuring it is accomplished efficiently. Leaders are more concerned with the development and growth of their followers, while managers are focused on achieving predetermined goals and targets.


Leadership and management are distinct concepts that complement each other in achieving organizational success. Leadership is about inspiring and motivating others towards a shared vision, while management is about organizing and coordinating resources to achieve specific goals. Both leadership and management are essential for the smooth functioning of an organization, and individuals who can effectively balance both roles are likely to excel in their professional careers.