The Difference Between Leadership and Management Styles

Do you really understand the difference between leadership and Management Styles?

The No 1 Difference between Leadership and Management Styles

We often say “leadership style” when what we actually mean is “charismatic management style”.

The lines between leadership and management styles are blurry however there is one critical difference.

Management is about “me”;

Whereas Leadership is about “you”

Let me explain what I mean by this.

If I am a manager, then the objective is the one that I set. I apply my management styles to get you to help me achieve my objective.

If I am genuinely into Leadership, then I apply my leadership styles to get you to achieve your objective.

This is a subtle but critical difference.

Factors Associated with Leadership

There are other factors which are considered to be to do with leadership such as;

  • Leaders inspire and motivate.
  • Leaders innovate
  • Leaders set new objectives
  • Leaders create vision and strategy
  • Leaders deal with change

I’m not sure the above list couldn’t also be claimed by managers. Although there is some sense in this list, it’s not always the case.

For instance Managers have to motivate people too, if they want to see high performance.

Factors Associated with Management

What we can say about management that is mostly true in most cases is;

  • They manage resources
  • They have a clear objective
  • It’s repetitive and process orientated

Charismatic Management Styles

When the objective is mine (not yours), then the best I can hope for when trying to be a leader is a charismatic management style.

So with this definition, leadership must be about delivering the objectives of others. It must be about helping and inspiring others to realise their own objectives.

It’s true that many leaders may also suggest the objective but in the end, the objective must belong to the individual, not the leader.

Let’s take Martin Luther King. Here are a couple of quotes

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Here he preaches about love and an end to racism. It’s not quite the same thing as ending or punishing racists.

We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Neither of of these quotes are about Martin Luther Kings objectives but they are about the future of each individual; black and white.

He realised that this is a journey that each individual must make of their own accord. When you are talking about love, it is a completely personal and individual experience. He realised it had to be from the ground up, not the top down.

Which Management Styles Work Best If You Want To Be A Leader?

management stylesIf we accept that there is a significant difference between leadership and management styles then it may be helpful to explore which management style our leaders employ.

I watched a film about Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of USA. From this film, it was apparent that he was not a great manager. But what was needed was a great leader and this is something he could provide.

His great skill was in making the 13th amendment to the constitution (the abolishment of slavery) important to the people who were voting for it. He did not make it about being important to him. He convinced each congressman that voted “yes” that it was important to them personally.

In the end you have to be true to yourself. You have to manage in accordance with your own personality type.

Management styles that work for other people may not work for you.

For some a democratic management style works best for others an autocratic management style. There have been many great managers and they have used the full range of management styles.

Management Styles vary but if you really want to make a difference in the world you need to think about your leadership style.