There is a lot of literature available on leadership and management, but we tend to talk more about leaders than managers. In fact, there is more need for managerial leaders in this century to lead global organizations.

What is the difference between leadership and management?

Leaders vs. Managers

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” (Peter F. Drucker).

Leaders create vision, set a direction, and inspire and align people to accomplish goals. They build new relationships and structures. Managers plan, organize, budget, coordinate, control and execute activities within existing structures. While leaders focus on roles, managers focus on functions. Leaders pull employees to achieve organizational goals and objectives, while managers push employees to achieve them. Leaders influence, inspire and drive people, while managers make sure the day-to-day activities are executed effectively. Leaders think out of the box, while mangers think within the box. Leaders live for tomorrow, while managers live for today. Leaders are visionaries, while managers are missionaries.

What is Managerial Leadership?

“Leaders walk their talk; in true leaders, there is no gap between the theories they espouse and their practice” (Warren Bennis).

We need a blend of both leaders and managers to lead global organizations in the current business environment. This role can be called a managerial leader — someone who can reshuffle their roles and responsibilities according to the situation to accomplish goals. Managerial leaders must be flexible, humble and down-to-earth. Leaders emphasize soft skills, managers emphasize hard skills and managerial leaders emphasize conceptual skills. They adopt autocratic, democratic or delegative leadership as the situation requires and can shift from leader to manager and vice versa.

Managers are likely to have a fixed mindset, while leaders are likely to have a growth mindset. Managerial leaders must have a growth mindset, exploring and experimenting with their ideas and executing their vision.

Managerial leaders must have several skills and attributes:

    • They think strategically and build effective teams.
    • They create a healthy organizational culture.
    • They resolve conflicts, embrace change and inspire others.
    • They overcome volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity.
    • They are strategists, global thinkers, entrepreneurs, mobilizers and change drivers.
    • They are transformational leaders.

Managerial leadership calls for exploring soft leadership, which is the need of the hour in today’s world. Soft leadership emphasizes a people orientation. Employees appreciate working with soft leaders, who treat their employees as colleagues rather than as followers. With mushrooming numbers of knowledge workers, there is a greater need for managerial leaders than ever before, because these workers appreciate working with soft leaders, not under bosses.


Global organizations need leaders who know how to manage and managers who know how to lead. They need a judicious blend of leaders and managers who can shift their roles and responsibilities based on the situation. Hence, global organizations must provide soft leadership training to groom managerial leaders to overcome volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity; to save time; and to avoid costly mistakes. Managerial leaders really are the need of the hour in the 21st century.