What is the Difference between Management and Leadership?
Adapted from the upcoming “The Wall Street Journal Guide to Management” by Alan Murray, published
by Harper Business. (For classroom use only; do not copy or distribute.)
Leadership and management must go hand in hand. They are not the same thing. But they are
necessarily linked, and complementary. Any effort to separate the two is likely to cause more problems
than it solves.
Still, much ink has been spent delineating the differences. The manager’s job is to plan, organize and
coordinate. The leader’s job is to inspire and motivate. In his 1989 book “On Becoming a Leader,”
Warren Bennis composed a list of the differences:
– The manager administers; the leader innovates.
– The manager is a copy; the leader is an original.
– The manager maintains; the leader develops.
– The manager focuses on systems and structure; the leader focuses on people.
– The manager relies on control; the leader inspires trust.
– The manager has a short-range view; the leader has a long-range perspective.
– The manager asks how and when; the leader asks what and why.
– The manager has his or her eye always on the bottom line; the leader’s eye is on the horizon.
– The manager imitates; the leader originates.
– The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it.
– The manager is the classic good soldier; the leader is his or her own person.
– The manager does things right; the leader does the right thing.
Perhaps there was a time when the calling of the manager and that of the leader could be separated. A
foreman in an industrial-era factory probably didn’t have to give much thought to what he was
producing or to the people who were producing it. His or her job was to follow orders, organize the
work, assign the right people to the necessary tasks, coordinate the results, and ensure the job got done
as ordered. The focus was on efficiency.


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