Leadership vs. Management: What’s the Difference and Why it Matters

Angela Dodd
3 months ago

Every manager isn’t a leader, and every leader isn’t necessarily a manager. It’s easy to assume that the two positions are one-in-the-same, but they’re actually not mutually exclusive. And if that’s true, then the concept of leadership and management must be vastly different. So, what is the difference between leadership and management, and why does it matter? Let’s dive in.


What is Management?

Indeed.com defines management as “the coordination and administration of tasks to achieve a goal. Such administration activities include setting the organization’s strategy and coordinating the efforts of staff to accomplish these objectives through the application of available resources.” All that to say that a manager is the person responsible for administering and guiding the tasks. Common skills of a manager include critical thinking, problem-solving, time management, goal setting, and execution. They’re the tactical person on the team that sets expectations, plans, performs, and manages the team along the way.


What is Leadership?

Leadership is the act of leading. It’s when an individual, group of individuals, or organization is in a position to influence or guide others. Leaders motivate employees to accomplish a common goal and lead by example. They’re innovative, empathic, communicative, and have a vision. Leaders are self-aware employees who focus on developing others for the common good of the individual and the organization.


Key Differences Between Being a Leader and Being a Manager

The key difference between managers and leaders is that managers define goals and instruct employees to achieve them while leaders inspire employees to achieve those goals. Leaders earn the respect of others and foster a respectful team environment. Their actions speak louder than words, and they make the right decision even when it’s not the easiest decision.


Why it Matters & How You Can Become a Leader

Great managers are also great leaders, but great leaders can come from any level in an organization. A manager, by definition, is in a position of authority at a business to manage a team. But leaders, on the other hand, can exist at any level of a business no matter where the individual is in their career. From individual contributors to managers to executives, everyone has the ability to lead others.


So, what steps can you take today to position yourself as a leader in your organization? Try these:


Lead By Example

Be the type of leader you want to work with by leading by example. You never know who is watching and who may become inspired by your actions because everyone can inspire.


Develop and Foster Relationships

Connect with individuals across your organization. From interns to directors, everyone matters, and everyone plays an integral part in a company’s success. Make it a point to foster the working relationships you have and reach out to those you don’t know.


Be Equitable and Inclusive

Leaders are thoughtful. They take everyone into consideration when making decisions, and they’re equitable. From their views on gender parity and race to remembering to pick up a special treat for the employee with a food allergy during a birthday celebration, they’re inclusive and recognize every individual’s efforts and contributions.


Communicate Effectively

Regardless of your position, communication is vital. Every employee needs to be able to communicate their aspirations and needs. Great leaders communicate often and effectively.


Have a Positive Attitude

Carrying around a negative attitude isn’t going to inspire or motivate anyone. There’s always a silver lining to be found, even in the toughest of situations. Be kind and have a positive attitude. It’s more contagious than you think.

For more career resources, networking, and job opportunities, check out our membership community Females in Food. Our mission is simple – to advance women into senior leadership positions across every segment of the F&B industry and close the gender gap.

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