Leadership Vs Management: Understanding the Key Difference.

Leadership Vs Management: Understanding the Key Difference.


The concepts of leadership and management have often been mistaken as the same thing but in principle, they are very different although they complement each other. For any organization or business to succeed it needs people that can plan, organize and coordinate its staff, while also inspiring and motivating them to perform to the best of their ability.

A LinkedIn article, which cited a new quarterly report of the 2021 Global Leadership Forecast that was released on May 12, 2021 noted that companies around the world are facing a leadership crisis. Only 11% of surveyed organizations reported they have a “strong” or “very strong” leadership bench, the lowest it has been in the past 10 years.

Leader vs Manager

According to human resources and leadership surveys by, a staggering 79% of employees will quit after receiving inadequate appreciation from their managers. 69% of Millennials are concerned that their workplace does not develop their leadership skills. The number of women on boards of directors is only 15%. In business, 83% of companies say developing leaders is crucial.

The above statistics underscores the importance of leadership and management skills in post covid environment characterized by a host of global, macro and environmental challenges.

Related course at Finstock Evarsity College: Diploma in Leadership and Governance.

Definition of Leadership and Management

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Leadership[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Leadership is the art or process of influencing people so that they strive willingly and enthusiastically towards the achievement of group goals

Related course at Finstock Evarsity College: Basics in Leadership.

Management is the act of getting people together to accomplish desired goals and objectives using available resources efficiently and effectively. The different resource types within management are human, financial, technological or natural) human, financial, technological or natural.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Related course at Finstock Evarsity College: Leadership Skills for Supervisors.

Distinction between Leadership and Management.

Is a good manager automatically a good leader? What is the difference between leadership and management?

The words leadership and management are among the most commonly used words in organizations and are often used interchangeably, but they have different meanings. The primary difference between management and leadership is that leaders do not necessarily hold or occupy a management position. Simply put, a leader does not have to be an authority figure in the organization; a leader can be anyone. More so, leaders have people who follow them while managers have people who work for them. Thus, leadership is about getting people to understand and believe in your vision and to work with you to achieve your goals while managing is more about administering and making sure the day-to-day things are happening as they should.

Essential skills/Qualities of Effective leaders and managers

We manage things such as programs, budgets, contracts, projects and processes, but we should be leading people. Many of us wear both hats, but we need to understand the difference so that we appropriately flex within and between the two roles. There are people who are great leaders but horrible managers, and there are people who are great managers and horrible leaders. How can this be? Because these two competencies require different skillsets. Leaders and managers are required to develop certain kind of skills and behaviors to enable them achieve the objectives of their organizations.

Essential qualities of a leader

Leaders and especially in the 21st century are faced with changes in technology, market uncertainties, and emerging crisis such as the COVID-19. These require leaders and teams to be innovative and operate at breakneck speed. Leaders have therefore to have the courage to break new grounds and reinvent alternative ways of doing things. This does not only instruct and delegate tasks but to lead teams to navigate challenging situations. Such will call for leadership skills that leaders must adopt. A leader should have Self-Awareness (knowledge of one’s strengths and weaknesses), Awareness of others (Strengths and weaknesses, individual emotions and culture), and Self-Direction (ability to direct oneself effectively) and dedication to a vision.

Essential qualities of a manager

Good managers need to work on developing the following principal skills:

Technical skills: The ability to perform well in a specialized field (specific job) within the organization. Having requisite technical skills seems important at lower levels of management (first-line managers) who spend much of their working time with operating employees. This is important since they need to supervise them effectively.

Conceptual skills: This is the ability to think analytically, visualize an organization as a whole and understand how the parts work together. They are particularly important for top managers, who must deal with problems that are ambiguous and with far- reaching consequences.

Human skills: The ability to interact well in cooperation with other people to get things done through others. They are equally important at all levels and are thought of as soft skills. They include the ability to motivate, inspire trust and to communicate with others.

Diagnostic Skills: These are skills used to define and understand situations. They are most important to top managers and moderately important to the middle level and first line managers.

A Word from the Expert

CPA - John Kimani
CPA John Kimani, CEO Finstock

“When we talk about leadership, we talk about creating and nurturing a team that is oriented towards achieving a desired vision. The vision bearer who is also the leader must feel strongly about the vision and communicate the desire to have the vision achieved to the team. A leader must therefore inspire the team, challenge the team intellect, make the team members feel that he or she is interested in their welfare, become trustworthy so that the team members feel that the leader means what he says and says what he means. In other words, the leader knows that he cannot achieve the Vision alone, and it’s only through a team that great success can be achieved.

Take for instance, the vision of having an online college (Finstock Evarsity College) that can deliver excellent online education across Africa and beyond is not a small feat. A vision to come up with an online education platform that ensures convenience in learning, cutting costs of education, offering variety of courses required the strong belief that such a platform would have immense social benefits to humanity.


To make any headway in achieving this vision, it required me to nurture a team, starting from software developers, tutors, board of directors, board of advisors, and the operating team. In all cases, it required me to hold countless meetings to communicate the vision, and to get feedback on how well we are progressing. It is in the process of executing the vision that both my leadership and management skills shave been tested and improved.

Leaders who also double as managers have to ensure that the vision is cascaded into a mission and the mission cascaded into strategies, objectives and tactics. As a manager, I have to ensure that there is no disconnect between the activities that the team is undertaking and the mission. I therefore supervise and work keenly with team. As a leader, I go further to ensure that the team believes in something bigger than their day-to-day activities and the monthly salary. I therefore have to frequently remind them that what we are doing is something for posterity, something that their children and grandchildren will be a part of, and something that is making an undeniable positive contribution to the World.

Leaders and managers have to keep sharpening their skills through training. I would therefore recommend a variety of online courses in leadership and management from Finstock Evarsity. Some of the courses such as basics in leadership and basics in business  management  are 1 month short freemium courses that allow a learner to get acquainted with leadership and management. Other short courses include emotional intelligence for leaders, leadership skills for supervisors.  An 8 month certification on leadership and governance a 12 month diploma in leadership and governance is also available for those who wish to advance their skills in leadership.

Related courses at Finstock Evarsity College:

Lead the future of your career. Learn practical tools and methods and acquire invaluable skills that will sharpen your management expertise and enhance your leadership abilities at Finstock Evarsity College.


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