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Leadership vs Management: What’s the Difference?

Leadership vs Management: What’s the Difference?

Leadership vs Management

Although leadership and management are often terms that are tossed around interchangeably, business leaders, coaches, academics, and human resources professionals have been drawing out distinctions between the two for many decades. So, what’s the difference? In brief, it goes well beyond the scope of this article, but some useful and interesting differences are explained below: 

How Value is Measured

Do you excel in quantifying value to your team and organization, or do you add value? It’s possible to do both, but it’s equally possible to do one or the other. Even worse, it’s possible to do one at the detriment of the other.

The language of the business world is often said to be English, but it’s always been about maths (accounting and finance). Even the best business idea won’t take off if it isn’t able to turn over a profit, so having managers to measure value is crucial.

But who comes up with the ideas that take your business to the next level? Leaders do. Take someone like the late Steve Jobs. He may not have been the most pleasant person to work with, and chances are he never submitted quarterly statements himself. Still, he was indeed a business leader by empowering Apple’s fanbase to revolutionize digital communications as we know them essentially.

Influence vs. Power

A manager has executive power in the workplace to effect change, but a leader has the power to effect change in people. A great leader inspires others to unlock their true potential, to understand their EQ in the workplace, and to contribute the strengths of their own volition.

No matter your position in your organisation’s hierarchy, from entry-level employee to CEO, if people naturally come to you for work-related advice or for reassurance, chances are you have leadership capabilities. A manager that inspires others in this way is both a manager and a leader.

How Organisational Goals are Accomplished

Project managers must understand work schedules and flows, all based on quantitative measurement of project completion. Strictly from a management perspective, all that’s needed is to put the right people to work on the right tasks and to ensure that everything goes according to budget and schedule. Why fix it if it isn’t broken?

Leaders, on the other hand, understand that influencing, motivating, and empowering team members to contribute their very best on their own will help achieve the vision, purpose, and goals of the project and the organisation as a whole.

Can it Be Taught?

Management can be taught in an academic setting, such as a business school, where aspiring managers understand efficiency engineering, accounting, finance, and all the other tools that will help managers understand, interpret, and react to the numbers.

While many teach the soft skills too, it’s not 100 per cent clear how leadership is imparted. One thing that is clear, however, is that changes to your mindset can help you learn to become a better leader, or if you lack leadership abilities, to at least learn how to develop and train them productively.


Every successful organisation needs leaders just as much as they need managers. Unlock your EQ with Inspiretribe today and take your professional career to the next level.