Difference Between Leadership and Management

Are Leadership and Management The Same Thing?


What's The Difference?

Before we look at the difference between leadership and management styles, we should ask ourselves “what is the difference between leadership and management?”.

The difference between leadership and management Styles

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

One way to describe this would be as follows;

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.

Inspiring Leader – Nelson Mandela


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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 are some critical differences.


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

You may find that the above list may 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 a high performance.


Factors Associated with Management Styles

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

Have you seen the 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. 

It is possible to be a poor manager and a good leader. It is also possible to be a good manager and a poor leader. If you accept this premise then clearly management and leadership are two distinct entities and should be treated as such.

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

Management Styles


Although these are often broken down into a handful of management styles, there are as many management styles as there are managers.

Commonly you will read about the following management styles;

  1. Autocratic
  2. Democratic
  3. Transformational
  4. Coaching
  5. Laissez-faire
  6. Transactional

However, be careful not to fall into the trap of thinking you use just one of these or that you should pick one of these. That’s not how human psychology works.

There are 7 billion management styles and you will have your own natural management style. You can of course, adapt your style, however, you have a natural management style that suits you perfectly and you should work in harmony with your natural style as far as possible.


Each manager delivers their own unique management style in accordance with their personality type and their experience. The above labels are useful for consultants and people who write books but there is an element of jargon, smoke and mirrors about this list. Don’t be fooled.

Management style - manager guide

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Which Management Styles Work Best?

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. If you want to hire great managers and discover more about their natural leadership style, then use the Interview Pro – Manager & Team Leader personality report.

Leadership Styles


Differences in leadership styles?

We have already established that Management and Leadership are two separate things. If you have done any research in this area you will see that the words used to describe both leadership and management styles are used interchangeably. This isn’t;’t helpful.

As with management, there are as many leadership styles as there are people. Your natural leadership style is determined by your personality type. Your adopted leadership style will be whatever you decide it to needs to be. 

However, it is recommended that you place yourself in an environment where your natural leadership style can be employed, this way you are not having to “try” you are simply doing what comes naturally.

So while it is OK to adapt your leadership style a little from time to time to suit a particular situation (your adopted leadership style), you ideally want to work with your natural leadership style as often as possible.


Charismatic Leadership Styles

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 punishing racists.

“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Neither 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”


Leadership Styles in Management

There may be as many different leadership styles in management as there are managers. This is why PeopleMaps has developed a range of personality reports that can help you understand in individuals natural leadership and management style.


Differences in Leadership Styles

The PeopleMaps personality reports will help you understand each individual’s leadership style as determined by their personality type. Although some aspect of how we lead and manager are learned, we all have a natural, preferred way of leading and managing as determined by our personality type. This is why the starting point should always be the personality report.


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This article has looked at the difference between leadership and management styles.


  1. admin

    Simon, you make a valid point. In other articles, I have also argued that there is no real difference between leadership and management and that “leadership” is something that some managers introduced because they don’t like to get hands-on.

    Leadership and Management, are sometimes titles, sometimes descriptions. They can also be a perception and subject to the vagaries and nuance of language. These words clearly mean different things to different people. As soon as that is widespread, then they almost become unusable. We see this with the words Introvert and Extrovert, which is why PeopleMaps never uses them.

  2. Simon Brand

    People often think in terms of of leaders rather than managers but aren’t these more about attributes or facets of a role rather than THE defining facet?

    Everyone in positions of authority/responsibility to others have leadership and management parts of their jobs, along with others such as resilience, persuasion, negotiation etc.

    Therefore it seems inaccurate to describe someone as either or.


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