Managing vs Leading


Do you think that there is a difference between managing someone and leading? Personally, I think there is a huge difference. I find that there are three general categories that people fall into when they answer this question.

The first group does not believe that there is a difference between managing and leading. The second group believes that there is a difference between managing and leading but they do not know what it is. The third group believes that there is a difference between managing and leading and they are able to explain the difference. This group, sadly, would be the minority.

If you look on Wikipedia, you will find the definition of management ‘is an art that coordinates the efforts of people to accomplish goals and objectives using available resources efficiently and effectively’.[1]

When the same search is done for the definition of leadership, you will that it is ‘a process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task’.[2]

The definitions are quite similar but management involves all elements of business (materials, people, supplies, etc.) while leadership is people centric.

I will fully admit, I have been managed before and it is not a great feeling. Certain things were going through my head when I was being managed.

Over my Shoulder: Whenever I got that feeling that my boss was watching everything I did, I knew that I was being managed. Leaders are a resource for employees to use when needed.

Where am I Going? When working for a manager, I did not know what I was working for. While working for a leader, I knew what the end goal was and how I was a piece of the puzzle to getting to that goal.

Challenge Me! Managers are happy with keeping you in the same role with the same duties and responsibilities. They challenge you by increasing your workload, which ends up making things even more boring.A leader is always challenging the people around them with new duties, projects, or thought process. How else would you expect to develop your next set of leaders?

There When Needed: Managers may always have their doors open but being available to help might be a different manner. Leaders understand that they are there to serve their employees. Leaders, in some sense, know that they are at the bottom end of the totem pole. Whenever possible, leaders put everything else to the side to help.

Do you think that you are a manager or a leader? Why?

This leads me into a possible topic for next week, Titles. Do you think that you have to have a title to be a leader? Are they important to you? Do you identify yourself or other people with a title? Does a title gives you a sense of entitlement or creates expectations of others in your eyes?

Have an awesome week!


Photo: Business Meeting from




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