Leadership vs Management Characteristics

by Greg Skloot
Management   |   2 Min Read
The difference between managers and leaders

This question comes up often: what are leadership vs management characteristics? If you are doing things right, the manager and leader should be the same. Someone who is managing others and helping them be successful is also leading them by creating a clear vision for what everyone is working towards.

A simple rule of thumb is leadership may refer to strategy and management may refer to tactics. A successful organization needs both. Depending on the size of your team, sometimes different leaders play different roles (i.e. one person is the “vision” creator and the other is the “execution” implementer). In this scenario, I’d argue both people are leaders, and the executor is also focusing more on management.

To take a closer look, consider the following traits associated with each:

Someone with management characteristics focuses on:

Someone with leadership characteristics focuses on:

Shorter meetings. Real accountability.
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If you are operating a small team or leading a startup, you need just about every characteristic listed above. If you have resources to split vision (leadership) and execution (management), and that aligns with the skills on your executive team, go for it. Most organizations need managers that have classic leadership traits, because it’s unrealistic to have a separation between the person managing and leading a team.

The bottom line is that effective leaders must set a clear strategy and tactically guide their team to execute on it effectively. This requires a mix of management and leadership skills. If you oversee a team of people, it is best to develop all of these characteristics to become a better at leadership and management.

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