Management vs. Leadership Definition & Distinction

Subject: Management
Pages: 3
Words: 831
Reading time:
4 min
Study level: Master

Definition of Management

According to Smith et al. (n.d.), “management is a process of planning, organizing, directing, and controlling the activities of employees in combination with other resources to accomplish organizational objectives” (para. 3) Management is present in all organizations with particular goals and provides self-reflection.

Along with differences in views and perspectives, managers differ in their ability to count the value. Navar (2014) mentioned that only managers could calculate the value, sometimes reducing it.

Managers create circles of power controlling subordinates based on the existing hierarchy (Navar, 2014).

The primary function of the manager is to manage work. Management includes control over a group or a set necessary to achieve the goal (Navar, 2014).

According to Duggal (2021), essential attributes of the manager are the following:

  • The ability to execute a vision. Managers can design a strategic vision and create a plan to achieve it.
  • The ability to direct. Managers cover daily expenses and regulate necessary resources, calculating the need to make a change.
  • Process management.
    • Managers have the power to establish work rules, working standards, and processes.
  • People-focused.
    • Managers regulate people’s actions, so their responsibilities include listening to them, solving their problems, and directing them to the right path.

Definition of Leadership

Leadership is a process of sharing mutual goals in a group that includes two or more people. Smith et al. (n.d.) highlight that leadership focuses on the group’s maintenance needs and facilitates progress and goal achievement. Leadership could be considered as management at the macro scale.

On the other hand, leaders create the value necessary for their further progress. As a deal creators, leaders can generate the value that corresponds needs of their followers as well (Navar, 2014).

Leaders create the circles of influence that regulate the followers’ views and center the hierarchy (Navar, 2014). The leader’s primary function is to lead people to complete this goal by sharing unique ideas (Navar, 2014).

As mentioned by Duggal (2021), leaders have the following traits:

  • Vision.
    • Leaders create the vision by involving and engaging people in future directions.
  • Honesty and Integrity.
    • Leaders gather people who believe in their idea and are ready to contribute to their work.
  • Inspiration.
    • Leaders demand inspiration that helps their followers to recognize their role in the system.
  • Communication skills.
    • Leaders know how to convince people about present and future success by informing and communicating with people.
  • Ability to challenge.
    • Leaders always have to justify their status and status quo.


Although management and leadership differ in their approaches, the idea behind them is common. Indeed Editorial Team (2021) states that management and leadership share similar skills necessary to obtain results or achieve goals. Both leadership and management share the following skills:

  • Attention to detail:
    • Both managers and leaders play an essential role in their structure, putting attention on flaws, issues, and possible ways to overcome them (Indeed Editorial Team, 2021);
  • Communication:
    • Two parties are required to have strong communication, both in verbal and written forms (Indeed Editorial Team, 2021). Communication skills allow us to find partnerships and obtain practical cooperation with other organizations.
  • Goal setting:
    • As both leaders and managers are responsible for the future perspectives of their teams, goal-setting skill is a critical part of planning.
  • Interpersonal skills:
    • Despite some differences between leaders and managers in presenting their interpersonal abilities, the idea is to keep the team motivated to reach progress.
  • Problem-solving:
    • Indeed Editorial Team (2021) claims that the scale of the influence could vary; however, both parties work and manage problems to benefit their department.


Management approaches cover the complete understanding of the roles and functions of managers in organizations. According to Gordon (2021), management approaches could vary based on organizational structure, individual productivity, employees’ behavior, and psychological and sociological factors. Currently, there are three main management approaches: classical, behavioral, and modern. These approaches could vary or combine related to demand and employees.

In contrast, leadership approaches include a comprehensive understanding of the roles and the goals of the company. Modern leadership approaches include innovative and authoritative leadership, pace-setters, servant, transformational, charismatic, or inspiring leadership (“Modern approaches to leadership,” n.d.). Each approach covers the essentials for successful leadership in emphasizing the importance of vision, necessary skills, and abilities. The main principle protected is that leaders should serve and not be served (“Modern approaches to leadership,” n.d.).


Management is a crucial part of any organization, as it is responsible for the proper operation of all its entities. Managers are the driving force of the company and regulate all processes on a small scale. They operate, control, and help employees to complete their work. The quality and efficiency of the process depend on the manager’s organizational skills and professionalism.

A leader’s innovative ideas and revolutionary vision mainly emphasize their importance. Leaders are the central figures in defining a company’s success and future course. The value of a leader is in his ability to inspire people with new perspectives and opportunities. While managers control only local, small-scale processes, leaders influence the entire structure.


Indeed Editorial Team (2021). Similarities and differences between leadership and management. Web.

Duggal, N. (2021). Leadership vs. management: Understanding the key difference. Simplilearn. Web.

Gordon, J. (2021). Major approaches to management theory. The Business Professor. Web.

Modern approaches to leadership. (n.d.). IEDC. Web.

Navar, V. (2014). Three differences between managers and leaders. Harvard Business Review. Web.

Smith, C., Babich, C., & Lubrick, M. (n.d.). 1.1 what is leadership and management? Leadership and Management in Learning Organizations. Web.