Hi all,

I was just wondering how our group generally likes to differenciate between management and leadership. That is, more than "we manage things but we lead people"!

Can we draw a line between the two? Is at all important to draw such a line? Is one more important than other?



itilimp's picture
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My take is this... (and if it sounds very booklike that would be because I just sat an ILM exam today on the very topic).

A manager's role is primarily to plan, direct, organise, and control resources (including people) to achieve a specified optimal result for the organisation.

A leader's role is to give direction, inspire, motivate, create and communicate a vision, and create a culture; all to achieve results through people.

A manager ideally has the ability to lead and vice versa. However, it is perfectly natural for someone to be a better manager than they are leader and vice versa.

Where I work I'd like to see the current vacancy for an ICT Site manager to be filled by someone who is more of a leader who can create the vision and help us get there rather than a manager who is going to maintain the status quo.

Is one more important than the other? I don't think so. I'd say that the skills of one are more appropriate for certain situations than the other.

Justin's picture

Thanks for the posting on that itilimp, I thought it was pretty precise to my views on the matter as well.

I personally hope to be the best I can in both categories... as each benefits the other!

Mark's picture
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There is a huge difference, but I don't find it to be terribly helpful in 99% of my interactions. Some people are better at one than the other, but by and large management is ABSOLUTELY teachable and learnable... and in my experience Leadership is only learnable. That is, leadership is learned by doing.

Managers do things right. Leaders do the right things. Managers worry about control, leaders worry about influence.

There is a need for both in organizations.

While we espouse management, the fact is most people will see much of what we talk about as leadership, because it deals with people.

It's a distinction without a difference for our purposes...because whether you call a behavior as management or leadership, that's a question of cateorization, and the real question is one of effectiveness.


Todd G's picture


Mark says all to clearly. I'll go one step further.....

Grace Hopper, Admiral, U.S. Navy a management expert, states "You manage things, but you lead people" (Spears & Lawrence, 2002).

Afro Boy's picture

Where I work, we actually teach courses in both of these (management & leadership.) The thing I love about it is that you can be a leader even if you're only new to management. Infact, you can "lead" yourself every day.

I have a manager who believes that you need to be a manager first before being a leader. I find that thinking far too limiting for me. If you have a gift for it (or have been practicing it), you can lead at any level of your career.

Interested in what others thing about this topic too.


PierG's picture

In my opinion manager are more 'avoid pain' kind of role, while leader are more 'seeking pleasure'.
Of course they have to have some of both to succede.