McBride for Business Blog

Leadership versus Management. What’s the Difference Anyway?

April 13, 2017 // R. Shawn McBride // No Comments »

If you’re not careful, you can confuse the words leadership and management. After all, a lot of people use them interchangeably – “The leadership of our company”, “the management of our company”, management, leadership, they go back interchangeably, but they really are different concepts if you look at the fundamental meanings of the words.

Managers manage. They have something they’re managing in a particular way. They’re following rules and processes.

Leaders are setting the direction. They’re determining where things go. They’re setting the tone for the company.

These are fundamentally different concepts and ideas, and they will have fundamental differences on the business. Leadership or management – you’ve got to know which philosophy you have in your company. Strong companies have leaders throughout, and you can lead from the bottom, you can set the right tone for the company even if you don’t have a senior position.

Managers take the role of making sure things happen a certain way. While this is necessary, we’ve talked again and again about the need for processes and procedures and for ways businesses work, (, a manager will typically follow those rules and won’t think about innovations and changes and ways to do it better.

Leaders are going to look for ways to change and evolve. While they may be managing to the rules, and of course good employees should follow the processes and procedures, a leader is going to question when the process and procedures aren’t right for the business or the customer, or they create problems with values, and they’ll look for new directions. Leaders take ownership of the business, managers merely process, and the difference between your business and the outcomes is huge.

How’s your organization functioning? Do you have leaders or do you have managers? Join us in the comments below and let us know about your experience.

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This posting is intended to be a tool to familiarize readers with some of the issues discussed herein.  This is not meant to be a comprehensive discussion and additional details should be discussed with your attorneys, accountants, consultants, bankers and other business planners who can provide advice for your circumstances. Each case is unique.  Past results do not guarantee future outcomes. This article should not be treated as legal advice to any person or entity. viewer765.

About the Author

R. Shawn McBride is the Chief Innovation Officer at McBride For Business, LLC. His signature keynote, The 3 Laws of Empowerment (, gives audiences an entertaining look at how they can prepare, plan and protect themselves. You can reach R. Shawn McBride at or (214) 418-0258.


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Posted In: Business, Management

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