Management versus Leadership

Leadership, Nature or Nurture. Part 2

Are you in charge of a company?

Leadership is more complex than (hierarchy) management (from a function/task to be the boss)

  • If you manage people within a business context, you may come across similarities and differences between leadership and management. The similarities are probably greater than you think, you can hope that every manager also has leadership qualities.
  • Even as an entrepreneur of a growing company, you notice that the moment has come that you can no longer live up to it on your own.
  • You want to build a team around you, with a common goal and a shared vision.  You will lead, delegate etc.
  • Possibly you are now in the role of manager (or entrepreneur with employees) and in that sense you are also a member of a management team.

There are tools you can use to get started. For example, you can find coherence in the various roles and activities you have to do.

Take a look at the Leaders manual published in Harvard Business Review. 

Leadership: What are the things I want to accomplish (doing the right things)
Management: How can I best accomplish certain things (doing things right)

To zoom in on the question: Management versus Leadership. Maybe you have a – maybe negative – image of a manager (who pulls the strings and determines that things happen in the right way)? And a (rose-coloured) image of the leader, who sows and cares so that the plant (the employee) can grow? There’s a piece of truth in both.

Measured Value of Management

Management is the creation of conditions through which employees can (continue to) use their qualities optimaly in order to achieve the desired results.

The way the manager shapes his corebusiness says something about his managementstyle (and underlying leadership qualities).


There is a common core, possibly a different perspective. The leader puts the dot on the horizon, determines the vision, the strategy, indicates what are the right things to do, possibly provides the framework, sets the goals and KPIs. The manager has more the role of operational control, making sure things are done in the right way. In an ideal situation there is interaction and mutual influence/coordination.

More and more organizations work with the most ‘flat’ organizational structures as possible where tasks, responsibilities and powers are assigned as low as possible. They work with self-organising or self-managing teams. From the point of view of shared leadership: the interactive influencing process leading to a common goal with shared responsibility/roles.

Examine for yourself what current insights you can find in the literature and your own environment:

  • What do you think works and what doesn't (and why?).
  • What would make you feel comfortable?
  • What suits your preferred style (leadership style and personality traits)?