Management and leadership are two terms that get tossed around as identical in the business world. Management and leadership are two different but crucial functions of businesses large and small. A manager is adept at keeping structure and maintaining a company's well-being. A leader is someone who guides a company's future. John Kotter covers the three common mistakes that people make and discusses the difference further at the Harvard Business Review.
Mistake #1: People use the terms “management” and “leadership” interchangeably. This shows that they don't see the crucial difference between the two and the vital functions that each role plays.
Mistake #2: People use the term “leadership” to refer to the people at the very top of hierarchies. They then call the people in the layers below them in the organization “management.” And then all the rest are workers, specialists, and individual contributors. This is also a mistake and very misleading.
Mistake #3: People often think of “leadership” in terms of personality characteristics, usually as something they call charisma. Since few people have great charisma, this leads logically to the conclusion that few people can provide leadership, which gets us into increasing trouble.
Managers and leaders both help a company thrive but with different means. A manager can be a leader and a leader can be a manager but one does not imply the other and establishing the difference will help to avoid this common error. Management and leadership are terms commonly used synonymously but have very different meanings and we hope that you will avoid this mistake in the future.