Management Training Vs. Leadership Training: Which Is Best For Your Workplace?

management training vs leadership training which is best

Most organizations provide management training to some degree. In fact, on average, companies spent $1,286 per learner this year. But does that training help make those managers better leaders? Who are your company’s leaders? Who might lead your company in the future? A better understanding of the differences between managers and leaders should help you decide whether your organization will benefit from leadership training.

At A Better Leader, we specifically provide leadership training focused on creating engaged and inspired leaders that establish a strong company culture. 

Your company may need a form of leadership training, or you may benefit from something more geared towards “management”. We will break down the differences of management training vs. leadership training, so you can have a better understanding as to what you need to implement in your workplace.

By the end of this article, you will:

  • Recognize the differences between management and leadership
  • Understand the differences of management training vs. leadership training
  • Realize the importance of good leaders
  • Identify some of the skills required to excel as a leader

Management vs. Leadership

Though commonly used interchangeably, “management” and “leadership” are different concepts. Yes, there is overlap. But there are significant distinctions between the two.

Basis of Authority

For managers, authority comes from the position; for leaders, authority comes because they’ve earned trust.

  • The organization grants managers legitimate power, and people obey those exercising that power, regardless of the person actually in that management role. In other words, managers get people to do what they ask them to do because people believe they must.
  • Leaders, however, are viewed as deserving of their followers’ trust and respect. People choose to follow leaders because they want to do so.

What’s the Purpose of Managers vs. Leaders?

A commonly cited difference between managers and leaders concerns the focus of each. Managers manage things, and leaders lead people.

  • Management primarily concerns making efficient use of resources. For example, a manager must monitor day-to-day operations and production goals, keeping in line with budget limitations, scheduling employees’ work schedules. The point of management is to accomplish the status quo, to make sure people do their assigned tasks according to plan.
  • Leadership mostly involves making people more resourceful. The purpose of leadership is to ask questions, to help people move toward a vision of change.

What Methods Do Managers and Leaders Use?

When it comes to methods of accomplishing action, managers rely on instructions, and leaders inspire.

  • Managers give directions, and their direct reports must follow their instructions. Employees follow managers’ directives because they risk losing their job if they do not.
  • Leaders show people a direction, and their followers want to work to reach their goals. People follow leaders because they are inspired to do so.

Management Training vs. Leadership Training

Since managers differ from leaders, the training for each also differs. Overlap certainly exists between the two different styles of training. But management training tends to cover more operational, administrative topics, while leadership training builds interpersonal strengths and emotional intelligence. 

Management training tends to train people on maintaining the status quo, whereas leadership training equips people to innovate and to bring about change. Additionally, management training teaches supervisors and managers on how to fulfill their roles in the organization. 

“Management training tends to cover more operational, administrative topics, while leadership training builds interpersonal strengths and emotional intelligence.”

Leadership training is not necessarily restricted to people holding management positions. Ideally, your organization probably would benefit from having managers with good leadership skills, as well as having leaders at other levels in the company hierarchy.

If your company is simply focused on managers, the rest of this article may not be beneficial to you. We’ve covered the differences between management training vs. leadership training. We are going to focus on the skills and benefits specifically for leadership training.

The Skills That Create Leaders

Legendary coach Vince Lombardi famously claimed, “Leaders are made, they are not born.” And how do you make a leader? 

  1. You provide ongoing training and practice. 
  2. Equip them with the tools to motivate and support their teams. 
  3. You teach them how to better connect with those they lead. 
  4. You give them a foundation for ongoing improvement, not only of themselves but those they lead. 

Good leaders require a range of qualities, including skills in the following areas.


Leaders need to motivate others to work toward a shared vision.

  • To motivate through leadership, one must know how to gain people’s trust.
  • Leaders not only need to be adept at setting goals, but they also need to know how to inspire people to achieve those goals.


To be effective, leaders must know how to connect with people.

  • Connection comes from engagement, listening, and communicating.
  • Connection also comes from observation, recognizing where disconnects interfere with morale.
  • Leaders involve employees in decision-making.


Good leaders support their teams. This support is in the workplace as well as interpersonally.

  • Leaders support people in their development and in their well-being.
  • Leaders understand the importance of a healthy work-life balance.
  • They support an inclusive, harassment-free environment.


Leaders must evolve and continually improve, and they help others be and do better as well.

  • Leadership requires flexibility and adaptation.
  • Leaders inspire change, and they must be prepared to help followers respond to changes.
  • Leadership benefits from coaching skills.

Benefits of Good Leaders

Much research exists that highlights the benefits brought by good leaders. Employee satisfaction and engagement increases when people feel their work is not only appreciated, but that work contributes to a larger purpose. 

Good leaders boost morale. More satisfied, happier employees perform better and are more productive. They also are less likely to leave the organization.

Is Leadership Training or Management Training Right For You?

Long-term success for most organizations requires both effective management and inspirational leadership. Consider your organization and where it hopes to be in the future. Do you have a pipeline of people with the potential for leadership? Do you have the resources in place to not only make leaders but support great leaders? If you find yourself unable to answer those questions, or simply struggling with the first steps to take to make it happen, we would love to help. 

A Better Leader offers online leadership training that focuses explicitly on creating engaged leaders that contribute to your company’s culture. We believe it could be the missing link in your workplace that transforms your leaders from good to great. 

We help you provide every leader in your organization the skills they need, right when they need them. Learn more about what A Better Leader has to offer.

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Jennifer Orechwa

In over 25 years of helping companies connect with their employees, Jennifer has gained a unique perspective on what it takes to build a culture of continuous improvement. By blending a deep understanding of labor and employee relations with powerful digital marketing knowledge, Jennifer has helped thousands of companies achieve behavioral change at a cultural level.