Anyone who owns or manages a business should always be striving to be a better leader. Leadership and management skills are fundamental to any business that wants to run effectively. Any aspiring or current business person should be as they want their business to be—pliable and ready to continually self-reflect and improve. But even if you’re not a manager, developing leadership skills can help you become a more motivating force in the workplace.

Leadership and Management

This article will explore the power of developing your leadership and management skills. It will also discuss the basic principles of leadership and management. It will then compare the two concepts so you can understand how to better utilize your leadership and management skills in your business.

What is the Difference?

There are a lot of questions someone new in the realms of leadership and management may ask themselves. The main questions always boil down to identifying what the real differences are between leadership and management.

Just as all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares, leadership and management lay in the same realm of skills but are not the same. Leadership is about inspiring people to work, being a guiding force that influences others to work harder. Management is about employing a particular skill set. Using the expertise or general knowledge necessary, managers ensure that tasks are completed by employees.

Anybody can be a great leader, whether you’re a CEO or a line worker at a factory. Being a leader is a state of mind, and leadership skills can be used in everyday life situations, not just at work. While a good manager should effectively lead any team to productive work, not all managers employ inspiring leadership skills to motivate their workforce. The manager’s job is to ensure production after all, and this does not necessarily mean that they have to positively motivate their workforce.

By going a little deeper, you can learn the more subtle differences between leadership and management.

5 Stand Out Differences Between Managing and Leadership

Mapping out the differences between management and leadership can help anyone understand the various ways in which these two skill sets coincide and differ from one another. This list will explore the five differences between the mindsets taken by dedicated leaders and managers.

Understanding Visions

Every company has visions. A business should have an internal goal that every aspect of production should be in service of. But developing a vision should also be an ongoing process in a business. Leaders and managers have separate roles when it comes to servicing a business’s goals.

A leader is an inspiring force. As a leader, you are often a visionary thinker. The leader is the individual who thinks up a direction for the company going forward.

As a manager, your dealings with a direction or new vision are more hands-on. A leader is in charge of communicating their ideas and goals to the company; it’s a manager’s job to ensure that this vision is accomplished.

Executing Work

Continuing from the last idea, managers and leaders think differently about how work is executed.

Leaders think about ideas. They are focused on the what’s and why’s of work. They come up with new directions, innovations, and products. Leaders are a major driver of change within a business. A leader should be worried about inspiring the workers, helping them understand the importance of their work, and emboldening employees to want to make positive changes.

A manager’s job then is to execute the tasks given to them by leaders. The responsibility of production falls on the shoulders of the managers. They make certain that employees understand their position in the system and effectively complete their tasks.

Engaging Employees

A large part of being a leader or manager is engaging with employees. Each of these positions has different purposes and uses separate techniques to ensure productivity and increase employee satisfaction.

A manager will be more engaged with employees than a leader will likely be. A manager is likely in charge of day-to-day duties and has continuous contact with their team, and they are the person who is held responsible for production. They should have authentic connections with their team and accept feedback to improve communication and increase team effectiveness.

Leadership often acts more as an example for employees. Leaders that practice clear and open communication, and actively engage with their employees, set up a work environment that produces employees that are more engaged at work. While leaders don’t deal with daily tasks, leadership helps guide the company to success. If employee engagement needs to be improved, leaders should try to engage themselves more with the workforce, to show employees that they are valued.


Company culture is the concern of every leader and manager of a business. Culture is about defining your company’s values and beliefs, and showing dedication to those beliefs through company policy and workplace decorum.

Leaders should be concerned with fostering the kind of workplace that sets employees up to feel valued and stay as long-term additions. Leaders should act as role models for employees to behave professionally and in line with company values. They should also create policies that reflect these values as well.

Managers take the example set by leadership and policy and ensure employees live to these policies and fully embrace company values.


Mindset is likely the key difference between managers and leaders. Mindset is vital. It frames how a person addresses the world and it changes how managers and leaders address problems and employees.

Leaders are thinking about the future. Even when just considering current company values, leaders want to continuously ensure that their business creates a sense of purpose. This is an ongoing process that is always oriented towards future goals and improvement.

Managers are constantly focused on the present. A manager needs to be focused on the daily tasks of production to ensure that a service or product is successfully delivered. Their goal is to achieve current business goals by implementing work processes and directly overseeing the results.

Connecting Similarities

It’s good to understand the differences between leadership and management. A business needs effective leaders to function well. These leaders produce ideas that a workforce can then execute into products or services that are sold for profit. To ensure that this work is done, however, a business also needs good managers who have their minds focused on completing the day-to-day tasks.

This does not mean that these skill sets have to be mutually exclusive. As stated before, it doesn’t matter what your position at a company is—you can be a great leader! And any manager can also use elements of leadership to become a better, more effective manager.

By nature, there are some places where the skills of leadership and management connect. These areas are communication, decision-making, and crisis management.


Anyone in a business should be good at communicating. Good communication helps avoid costly mistakes and prevents production errors. But when it comes to leaders and managers, communication skills are particularly vital. Both of these positions require the ability to give clear directions, help others properly complete their work, and to direct many individuals at once. Leaders and managers can both use communication skills to improve team relations and build a strong workforce.



Managers and leaders are faced with endless decisions to make every day. Being a confident decision-maker is a skill necessary to succeed in any business. Whether these are company-wide decisions or decisions that only affect certain business processes, decision-making skills affect how well a company runs.

Not only that, but both managers and leaders need to make good decisions in the face of problems, and understand how to identify and innovate procedures for better efficiency. This skill also comes in handy during times of crisis, where both managers and leaders have to effectively lead their teams to problem solutions that work.


Change Management

Leaders and managers both have to deal with all sorts of crises, and these often require exceptional decision-making and communication skills. The less spoken-about skill in management and leadership is taking a team through extended periods of change. In recent times, change management skills have become more valuable as the workplace transforms into a mix of in-person and online experiences. Managers can use their skills to help guide employees through times of change, and leaders understand the changes that must be made and implement them into the business as a whole.

Applying These Skills

Now that you understand what leadership and management are, you can use these skills to improve your own business. With leadership skills, you can become a more effective motivator, one that makes people want to work for your business, and you can use your leadership skills no matter what position you hold at a business. Then by utilizing effective managing skills, you can help to better execute the necessary processes of your business as effectively as possible. These skills don’t have to be used together, however. Knowing how to use them situationally can help you effect the kinds of change you want to see in your workplace.