Leadership vs Management. Which Degree Should You Study in 2023?

Leadership and Management aren’t confusing terms, but they’re often used as synonyms, even though they’re not. Leaders and managers are related, work together, and even share some goals, but how they work and their overall impact is different.

But which degree should you choose if you haven’t decided between Leadership and Management? Let’s go through the fundamentals and the main differences to clear everything out.

Leadership vs Management: What’s the difference?

Leadership and Management are like two sides of the same coin. You can’t separate them, they’re different, and they complement each other. To achieve sustainable and long-term success, companies of all sizes need both leaders and managers.

Leadership is about inspiring people, sharing a goal, an ambitious mission and making others follow you. Leaders are people we admire, people who make our hearts smile when they speak and who make us feel like we’re part of something bigger, like what we do matters, like all the effort is worth it.

Management is about planning, coordinating, and the day-to-day administration of tasks. Managers follow a leader’s vision and make sure that employees — through their activities and work — get the company closer and closer to that vision.

It goes without saying that not all leaders are good managers, and not all managers are true leaders. However, you can be both, although it is far more common for leaders to simply inspire the people around them (including managers) and trust that they will do the right thing.

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Universities we recommend for Leadership studies

Universities we recommend for Management studies

Leadership vs Management specialisations

Numerous degrees in Leadership and Management are available. While many are general, all-in-one programmes, students can also enrol in a specialisation. These are only some of the most popular options out there:

Leadership specialisations

  • Organisational Leadership  
  • Educational Leadership  
  • Nursing Leadership  
  • Agricultural Leadership  
  • Strategic Leadership  

Management specialisations

  • Project Management  
  • Design Management  
  • Healthcare Management  
  • Engineering Management  
  • International Hotel Management  

Leadership vs Management classes

Each university is free to decide the structure and curriculum of study programmes. To offer you a general idea, the following are some of the most common classes you might take during a Leadership or Management degree:

Leadership classes

  • Leadership Fundamentals
  • Leading Teams
  • Ethical Leadership
  • Global Leadership
  • Leadership Communication
  • Conflict and Adversity
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Cross-Cultural Leadership
  • Strategic Analysis and Decision Making
  • Leadership Styles

Management classes

  • Business Environment
  • Applied Finance
  • Business Models
  • Financial Analysis and Reporting
  • Operations Analysis and Control
  • Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility
  • Strategic Management
  • Presentation Skills
  • Global Marketing
  • Organisational Behaviour

Presentation during a business meeting

Top universities where you can study Leadership or Management

To study the best Leadership and Management programmes, choose one of the universities below. According to the ranking created by TopUniversities, these are the best educational institutions for future leaders and managers:

Different rankings use different criteria to evaluate business schools from all over the world. Other top-ranking worth checking out are:

Skills you’ll develop with a Leadership or Management degree

The following skills are essential to become a successful leader or manager:

  • Communication, both verbal and written
  • Presentation (especially for leaders)
  • Problem-solving
  • Delegation
  • Offering and receiving feedback
  • Time and people management (especially for managers)
  • Strategic thinking and planning
  • Mentoring

It’s also worth mentioning that both leaders and managers work with people. Sure, the nature of the relationship might be different, but interpersonal communication is always the key.

That doesn’t mean you necessarily need to be an extrovert to be a great leader or manager; in fact, introverts can be amazing leaders, but you shouldn’t overlook the constant human interaction.

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Leadership and Management jobs

Leaderships and Management jobs guarantee high salaries, but not necessarily stability. Leaders and managers have numerous responsibilities, and when positive results fail to show up, they are the first ones who need to provide answers.

You can occupy a managerial or administrative position with either degree, especially at the start of your professional career. But there’s also the opportunity to go into entrepreneurship. This might be especially attractive for leaders, who want to see their vision materialise in the world.

Now, let’s look at some of the most common Leadership and Management jobs and the average salaries in the US, according to PayScale:

Leadership jobs

  • Human Resource (HR) Manager – 68,170 USD/year
  • Organisational Trainer – 56,680 USD/year
  • Executive Director at Non-Profit Organisation – 67,590 USD/year
  • Social Service Administrator – 55,990 USD/year
  • Sales Director – 100,830 USD/year

Management jobs

  • Project Manager – 74,680 USD/year
  • Engineering Manager – 94,900 USD/year
  • Healthcare Administrator – 69,820 USD/year
  • Operations Manager – 66,260 USD/year
  • Office Manager – 48,970 USD/year


Although Leadership and Management overlap in many areas, they aren’t the same. You should take some time and decide what you want to do. If you’re motivated by inspiring people, and you want to be a positive force of change in the world, then choose a Leadership degree.

If you want to oversee the activity of other people, help them improve and stay productive, then become an awesome manager. Your subordinates will appreciate you big time for that.

All in all, things aren’t so definitive. A good manager can transform into a leader with enough experience and desire to change, and a leader can take a managerial position if they’re willing to adjust.

Whatever you do, go out there and follow your passion. It’s the little thing that makes you eager to wake up in the morning and start working on what matters.

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