Leadership is defined as the art of motivating a group of people to act toward achieving a common goal. In a business setting, this can mean directing workers and colleagues with a strategy to meet the company’s vision or mission.

What Is Leadership?

Leadership captures the essentials of being able and prepared to inspire others. Effective leadership is based upon ideas—both original and borrowed—that are effectively communicated to others in a way that engages them enough to act as the leader wants them to act. 

Leadership is also about the essentials of BEINGNESS of a leader, or the quality, state, or condition of having existence in this social world. How they act, how aligned they are to values and vision, the qualities they exhibit and the actions they take in line with those values and vision all roll up into beingness.

A leader inspires others to act while simultaneously directing the way that they act. They must be personable enough for others to want to follow their requests; and they must have the critical thinking skills to know the best way to use the resources at an organization’s disposal.

How Does Leadership Work?

In business, leadership is linked to performance and even to impact on the bottom line, depending on the department you are attached to and whether there are targets to be met.

While there are people who seem to be naturally equipped with more leadership abilities than others, anyone can learn to become a leader by improving particular qualities and skills. History is full of people who, while having no previous leadership experience, have stepped to the forefront in crises. For example, look at what happened recently with Covid. These leaders often persuade others to follow their suggestions. So what was it about them that had others follow and why? They possessed skills, traits and qualities that helped them to step into the role of leadership, regardless of their position in the hierarchy, as leadership is not a role or a title, it is a WAY OF BEING, combined with skills.

Leadership vs. Management

The terms “leadership” and “management” are often used interchangeably. While there is some overlap between the work that leaders and managers do, there are also significant differences. One definition between leadership and management is described as the intersection between what motivates and causes individuals to behave the way they do, and the ability to draw out the best of them with a purpose in mind.”

Leadership, we think, is the creation of positive change, including the creation of a vision to guide that change and strategies that empower people to make the vision happen despite obstacles!  It is also about the creation of positive, also known as anabolic energy, that causes momentum that can move change forward.  To summarize, effective leadership is centered on a vision to guide change with motivation, intent on thinking ahead and capitalizing on opportunities. Leadership requires traits that extend beyond management duties.

Management is about getting the individual contributors who might be highly motivated, or might be confused, misguided, unmotivated, and misdirected, to then accomplish a common purpose on a regular, recurring basis. Managers are more intent on thinking ahead and capitalizing on opportunities, to achieve organizational goals, through implementing processes, such as budgeting, optimization initiatives, organizational structuring, and staffing, etc.

May or may not be a managerMay or may not be a leader
Fosters or deliberately builds a cultureMay not be concerned about the culture
Inspire followersMay or may not inspire those under them
Has a vision and establishes directionMight or might not have a vision, but does deliver on one
Emphasizes innovationEmphasizes rationality and control
May be unconcerned with preserving existing structuresSeeks to work within and preserve existing corporate structures
Sometimes operates with relative independence, although not alwaysTypically a link in the corporate chain of command
May be less concerned with interpersonal issues, depending on roleMay be more concerned with interpersonal issues

The concepts mentioned here are generalities and don’t address every type of leader or manager. Many managers are leaders and vice versa—but not all are.

Another difference between leaders and managers is that leaders emphasize innovation above all else. Whereas a manager seeks to inspire their team to meet goals while following company rules, a leader may be more concerned with setting and achieving lofty goals—even at the expense of existing corporate structures. When an individual contributor has a radical new idea for how to tackle an issue, a leader is likely to encourage that person to pursue the idea.

Managers may be more likely to preserve existing structures because they themselves operate within that structure. They may have bosses above them, so they have less freedom to break rules in the pursuit of lofty goals. Leaders, on the other hand, often operate fairly independently. That allows them to tolerate a greater amount of chaos, so long as they believe it will be worth it in the end.

However, the leader’s devotion to innovation can sometimes come at a cost. Chaos and high-pressure work environments can create interpersonal issues. When such issues arise, a manager is more likely to see it as their duty to smooth over problems between employees. Leaders can sometimes be so singularly focused on achieving lofty goals that they let interpersonal issues and employee welfare fall to the wayside.

BEINGNESS of Leadership?

Looking beyond pure skills and going further into the traits and qualities of leadership, we see that leaders exhibit qualities that managers often don’t. Qualities such as BEING inspiring, being motivators, driven, passionate, big picture thinkers, future driven & leading with vision, mentors and coaches to teams, taking charge and leading the way. 

However, unlike skills, qualities are not so easy to teach. How do you teach someone drive and passion? Usually qualities and traits are ingrained as part of someone’s identity. To change someone’s identity and hence their intrinsic qualities takes a paradigm shift. Put another way, a change in their perspective, or mindset. This sort of shift can be achieved with the help of a good coach. The coach can help identify the limitations, blocks, assumptions and interpretations one has about life, themselves and others, that often get in the way of becoming a stunning leader. 


To summarize the differences between leadership and management;

  • Leadership is the art of motivating a group of people to act toward achieving a common vision.
  • Organizations refer to upper-level personnel in their management structures as leadership.
  • To be an effective leader in business, you must possess traits that extend beyond management skills and duties.
  • Leadership skills can be taught and leaders may evolve through coaching and learning
  • Leadership is not a role, or hierarchy, it is a way of being that you exhibit
  • Leadership and management are different. A person may be referred to interchangeably as both a “leader” and a “manager,” though the two terms are not necessarily synonymous.
  • Working with a coach on Intrinsic qualities can cause a shift in mindset to happen, so other qualities start to be exhibited

Transformative visions can help coach you to becoming a stunning leader, reach out to us to find out more.