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10 Differences Between Leadership and Management

October 9th, 2007 · 2,217 Comments

Leadership and management are not entirely different, but they are different in many ways.  Comparing and is more accurately the comparison of a combination of strong and management skill with a level of management skill where the leadership component is missing.  It is a difficult comparison to make explicitly, but examples in real life abound! 

The following matrix offers a good grouping of characteristics to think about for project managers:

Leadership Skills

Management Skills

More concerned with vision More concerned with implementation than the vision
Oriented toward “driving” change,     and anticipating environmental changes Oriented toward “adapting” to change, not taking the initiative
Concerned with dynamics of a situation, which provides hints on how to leverage or shape; concerned with setting or changing the culture Concerned more with technique; sometimes preoccupied with maintaining order and the status quo, but otherwise with adapting to the culture
Concerned with empowering Concerned with BEING empowered
Actions demonstrate skill, but are strongly character based Actions tend to be more strongly skill-based
More concerned with positive possibilities More concerned with negative consequences
Concerned with building and/or reshaping the organization; willing to use skills of persuasion to advance vision and ideas of possibilities – regardless of position Concerned with filling out the prescribed organization; adopt behavior and attitudes according to level or position; tend to be more protective of position, information, and knowledge; may feel that a situation is out of their control or influence
Understand their strengths and weaknesses, and are willing to learn from their mistakes and grow; able and interested in helping others do the same Tend to avoid risks for self protection, and hence growth is more limited; might understand strengths and weaknesses, but unaware of how to manage them to achieve goals
See relationships as opportunities for growth; personal goals in alignment with organizational goals; recognize that interdependence is the best way to achievement See a more limited web of relationships in terms of immediately adjacent areas; tend to focus mostly on goals set by others, and work more independently within organizational limitations   
Build ‘systems’ to support goals, empower others, and provide direction; promote sharing and collaboration; concerned with removal of performance barriers; and continued growth of team members Concerned with segmenting areas of responsibility; become ‘indispensable’ and part of the ‘system’; overly concerned with what team members do and how   

Evaluate yourself on these and think about what you need to do to raise your level of leadership.

John Reiling, PMP Project Management Training Online Lean Six Sigma Training Online    






Tags: Soft Skills