Leadership Versus Management
Is There A Difference?

What is the difference between leadership versus management? This seems to be an age old question that many younger leaders ask that are entering the workforce! A follow up question to this might be if there is a difference can a good leader be a good manager and vice versa?

I suppose the easiest way to answer this question is to say that a leader leads people and a manager manages people or processes. That still seems to leave us with questions as to what either leadership or management truly is.

Let’s use a hypothetical situation that may seem rather strange but I hope will make the differences a little more clear.

If you have ever worked with cattle, and specifically bulls, you will know that bulls have a mind of their own! A persuading factor of whether to use extreme caution when dealing with them, is that a bull can weigh over two thousand pounds and with no effort at all can hurt or kill the average person.

Understanding this simple fact someone tasks you with trying to get a bull that is in the pasture roaming freely into a barn where they (the bull) have no interest of going into.

Someone that has no leadership ability but may have good management skills decides to contract a cowboy to rope the bull and pull them into the barn. Part of the management skill has the manager reviewing their budget to see if they have the funds available to contract the cowboy. Another element of the management process would be to make sure they contract with a cowboy that has experience at performing a task like this. Yet another part of the management process would be to take a look at the deadline that was established to complete the task. Finally, the manager may want to take a look at some type of contingency plan in case the cowboy fails.

On the other hand a leader would approach this in a different way entirely. A great leader would find a reason for the bull to go into the barn on its own without any prodding or force. They would inspire the bull to perform the task for them! That might be as simple as discovering the bull favorite diet and using that to lead the bull into the barn. It might be to find the most attractive cow in the pasture and placing them in the barn to attract the bull into the barn.

Although this is a funny example it hopefully gives you an insight into the differences between leadership versus management.

Leaders inspire people to take action. Managers manage the action being taken. Leaders have a vision for what can be and help others to see it too. Managers take that vision that the leader had and manage the process towards it.

In business you must have both leadership and management working together to succeed! In some cases they can be the same individual(s) but not always. One is just as important as the other but serve different functions. If you only had managers and not leaders your business would grow stagnant. On the other hand if you only had leaders you may never get to the vision unless someone takes control and manages the process.

This is the easiest way I can define the differences between leadership versus management.

Thank you and May GOD Bless You!

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