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Leadership V Management


If anyone has written/delivered workshop material/1:1 material on the differences/similarities between Mgt & Leadership I would really appreciate sharing their work.

I am putting together a series of workshops and structuring some 1:1 work I will be rolling out with some regional Sales Managers, any help would be greatly appreciated.

Sales Managers experiences differ greatly, from a couple of years experience managing a sales team to 15-20 years experience, all with very different outlooks, exposure and enthusiasm to learning!!!

many thanks
Buffy Sparks

19 Responses

  1. It’s all about control
    There’s loads of stuff out there in the media about the differences, so I will not bore you with them…

    For me, the one big differentiator relates to control. I vividly remember the day I walked into my office and recognised that there was no way I could know what all of the people (ca 200 at the time) who worked for me were doing. Knowing and accepting this were truly liberating/empowering.

    Managers seek to control (after all, what is the first ‘management paradigm’ that may of us learn – Plan/Organise/Control!), leaders recognise the impossibility of this and create environments where the people they are leading know where they are heading and why, what is required of them (outcomes, not processes), by when and are then given whatever support they need to deliver.

    One last thought. You cannot teach leadership, it must be experienced. For me leader development (not the subtle shoft in the nomenclature – to suggest that it is ultimately about people not processes) is about giving individuals chances to practice – get them outside their comfort zone and create more and more challenging opportunities.

    Hope this provides food for thought.

  2. Leadership vs. Management
    Hi Buffy

    I’ve always done it as:

    A manager looks after the big picture and the long term

    A Leader looks after the day to day and the shorter term

    Its simplifying it, perhaps overly, and of course there is overlap but I’ve always found it a good starting point.

    Hope this helps


  3. …and another thing…
    Well, apart from suggesting that Rich ahas got his ‘definitions’ the wrong way round….

    It suddenly struck me that the context – Sales Managers – might raise one or two interesting issues. Specifically, I wonder what the sales approach might be? To caricature approaches ther might be either a ‘push’ or a ‘pull’ style. Pushy salesmen trying hard to persuade me of the benefits of their offering and close a deal, or gentle folks finding out what my needs are and then letting me discover how their offering meets my needs. Which do you think would make the more effective leader!?

  4. Quantify
    Thats your opinion Geoff and you’re entitled to it…I did warn that this is simplification and they are not “definitions” as you put it as there I believe there are no real “definitions” on this subject only opinions and thoughts.


  5. point out the semantics
    I have usually heard/taught that leadership is big picture and management detail.

    Some people also say “Managers manage resources (including Human) while Leaders lead people”

    Some say “Managers should lead but aren’t necessarily capable; leaders don’t necessarily need to be managers.”

    I often use a team sport analogy: coach leads in training, captain leads in game, player with the ball leads from moment to moment during play.

    Feel free to ring me if you want to chat through some options.


  6. Thank you
    Thank you to everyone who has submitted responses, you’re help is greatly appreciated.


  7. Leadership v management
    The debate on this has raged for years. See the academic literature for facinating but unresolved answers.
    I’ve been both teaching and training in it for years and to be honest there is no clear cut answer.
    I like to summarise it by saying that management is more about organising resources to achieve objectives (old hands will recognize the weakness here!)whilst leadership is more about encouraging others to go in a certain direction (again obvious weaknesses).
    There are lots of definitions around from all sorts including various ‘gurus’ so try a search on the Internet. If you have the time to look at the ‘thousands’ of hits you will find some good stuff.
    If you want to contact me direct I might be able to help you further.
    Good luck!

  8. Terminology and Concepts
    I am very interested in the discussions that cover management versus leadership. However, I consider that there is a 3rd dimension that should form a part of any such discussion; that is Command. I offer the following text by means of an attempt to start a free for all within this forum.

    The relationship between Command, Management and Leadership has always been the subject of considerable discussion; however, for the purposes of this comment, I offer the following defintions: Command. A position of authority to which individuals are legally appointed. Leadership and mangement are key components to the successful exercise of command. Successful management is readily measured against objective criteria but ‘commanders’ are not leaders until their position is ratified in the hearts and minds of those they command. Management. Management is concerned with making the best of resources. It is an attribute of command that cannot be overlooked, as it is fundamental to efficiency and, of course, relates to economy of effort and sustainability. It is regarded as an element of the moral component because without good management and the provision of sufficient administrative support, the maintenance of moral and the motivation of the workforce would be rendered considerably more difficult. Leadership. Leadership is the projection of personality and character to achieve the desired outcome. There is no prescription for leadership and no prescribed style of leader. Leadership is a combination of example, persuasion and compulsion, dependant upon the situation. It should aim to transform and be underpinned by individual skills and enabling ethos/culture. Successful leaders are individuals who understand themselves, the organisation, the environment in which they operate and the people they lead. Organisations need to expose their management to the concepts of Command, Management and Leadership as early as possible and to understand that continued success is dependent upon the organisation developing personnel with strong leadership attributes, excellent management skills and the confidence to exercise command.

  9. I think it was John Kotter who said…
    “Managers manage detail; leaders manage Change.”


  10. Book Recommendation
    For some very useful narrative on the distinction between the two I would recommend an excellent book “The Guru Guide” bt Boyett & Boyett. Its published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.Page 16 has a table summarising the distinction between management and leadership.

  11. Inside or outside the box?
    Managers move things around inside the box. Leaders move the boxes around and find new ones. I know this a bit of a soundbite but if you ponder it more deeply and reflect on your own tendencies or for that matter those in management /leadership positions you will see it is a powerful differentiator.

  12. Management vs. Leadership
    To manage something is to direct or control it with the idea of making the best use of that particular resource.

    Thus we have “financial management”, “project management”, “production management”, and a host of others including “people management”. There is a body of knowledge associated with each of these as to the best way to manage that particular resource.

    Leadership simply defines a way of managing people. IMHO, leadership is the only way to manage people because 95% of them are followers to greater or lesser extents and what they do is follow the boss’ leadership whether the boss wants to admit it or not.

    Read much more at my website.

    Best regards, Ben Simonton
    Author “Leading People to be Highly Motivated and Committed”

  13. Leaderhip and Management
    I was taught that Management was about doing the job right, whereas Leadership is about doing the right job.
    So management is about control, processes, measuring ensuring that correct procedures are followed, but leadership is about strategic decision making, determining direction, it also about getting people to follow.

  14. think about it in terms of orientation to risk!
    come and visit us at where you can sign up for emails of leadership issues. We have a article avaible there on management vs leadership – very practical not too theorietical or high browed

    Hope it helps – let me know whta you think


  15. Leadership and Management

    I agree with most of the comments below (except for Rich Lucas’s which I think is the wrong way around). As others have said, this has been much debated for years. Some sense of differentiation is useful, especially as managers are increasingly expected to demonstrate more leadership, but I get a sense that this is now a bit overplayed.

    Let me take a different tack. Organisations need people to be good leaders and good managers. The proportions may be different in different roles but it is ‘and also’ not ‘either or’.

    Could it be that the semantic debate has led us a little astray? Perhaps we should focus more on the role, tasks, competencies, values and success criteria for the specific job (in this case, sales managers). Any development or training should then focus on these key elements and the actual individuals; to help them improve direct performance and longer term capability. Whether these items then fall into the box marked ‘management’ or the one labelled ‘leadership’ is academic. Indeed, there might be useful areas of learning that do not easily fit into either box, or indeed that might fit into both.

    You mention some 1:1 work, which should help as the target group has fairly diverse experience. As to the workshop, if you do pursue the leadership/management debate I would suggest you take all suggestions (eg by brainstorming) rather than try and get consensus. For this type of audience, you might like to look at separating the management of people and the management of processes. And, if you want to take a particular angle on leadership, you might look at leadership styles and, although not new, I’d suggest looking at situational leadership.

    As is always the case, it is the results and the ultimate impact that count. The content – whether badged as management or leadership – is to a large extent merely a medium in the journey to that end. I think such a results orientation might go down well with sales managers.

    Best of luck


  16. Leadership vs Management
    One way to understand the difference clearly is to imagine your team is a big block of stone that needs to go uphill. Where would the leader/manager stand? In front or behind the block?

    The manager will stand in front the block, ‘pulling’ the team to the direction he wants it to go. He takes a directive approach so he will focus much more on achieving tasks and goals rather than empowering his team. He micromanages, avoids mistakes at all cost, fears to delegate and seldom coaches.
    The leader will stand behind the block because he wants to observe his team at all times. He pushes the block but at the same time allows the team to figure the direction for themselves. As he takes a collaborative approach he is in constant communication with his team, providing feedback and motivating, coaching and delegating. He allows for creativity, and he knows mistakes are part of the learning/developing process. His team will feel more autonomous and empowered and will always achieve better results.
    Hope this helps.

  17. being v doing
    In applied emotional intelligence it is important to differentiate an individual from their being and their doing to be able to give effective feedback.

    So a way to look at this is that a leader leads the being (the person), and manages the doing (the tasks).

    A number of articles on applied emotional intelligence and EI in leadership can be found on the archives of the ezine AppliedEI at or subscribe to the free monthly ezine by clicking on the link.

  18. Ben Simonton.
    I was going to suggest that you contact Bennet Simonton with your question but I see he has beaten me to the punch.
    Ben is an Ex Naval Commander who has forged a new career as a civilian turning around failing enterprises.
    His words carry an awful lot of weight and practical understanding.


  19. what are you hoping to achieve?
    Before you decide on a way forward, what do you want those sales managers to achieve by being able to differentiate between the two? (Bearing in mind that they do overlap in many aspects)


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