Turn Setbacks into Setups

Leadership vs. Management: Which Is More Important?

April 24, 2019



If you were to poll your team, how would they describe your leadership style? Are you authoritative and hardworking? Inspirational and goal-oriented?

Management styles can be a controversial topic these days, especially in certain workplaces. And we’ve all heard over and over again that there’s a difference between leadership and management—but which style is actually more effective?

We’ve broken down the differences between leadership and management, including what to keep in mind as you decide your own leadership style.



As a manager, your main role is dealing with workplace issues and controlling your tasks and people. Management involves all of the nitty-gritty, down-to-earth issues that crop up each day. Essentially, you can think of management as the absolute minimum work involved in any supervisory role.

A good manager has a few key management skills in their back pocket:


  • Organization. In directing your team’s day-to-day work efforts, it’s impossible to handle things on the fly. A good manager establishes clear workplace rules, knows who’s responsible for which tasks, and delegates work appropriately.
  • Strategic thinking. This involves both current and long-term thought. In other words, it’s just as important to make sure the best person is assigned to the right job as it is to plan a roadmap for each project’s success.
  • Problem solving. Managers must think about how to put out all of the little fires that happen at work each day—as well as how to keep them from happening altogether.

Management skills are essential for every good leader—but if your leadership style involves only management skills, your style may be a little authoritarian. With management skills only, you’ll tell your subordinates what to do, and they’ll follow through in order to get paid. The focus will be on the work, under the constraints of time and money.



As a leader, you’ll step above and beyond simple management. Leaders motivate their team toward a common goal, while using their management skills to organize and dictate their actions for the best results. Where managers have dutiful subordinates who work for them, leaders have voluntary followers who work with them.

A good leader boasts a few important skills, in addition to their managerial abilities:


  • Interpersonal skills. Leaders are good with people on a fundamental level. This includes keen communication and listening skills to keep the team informed and feeling heard.
  • Clear vision. As a leader, you know exactly where you want to go in the future, in “big picture” terms. A great leader enlists the team’s help in working toward that path as something everyone wants, making sure each person knows the importance of their tasks and role.

The truth is, as a supervisor in any capacity at work, your success comes when you act as both a leader and a manager. It’s crucial to administer orders and organize your goals in a managerial capacity, but you also have to make your team understand and believe in your vision. While working with both leadership styles can mean a little extra effort on your part, you might be surprised at just how far the combination can get your team.

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