Leadership cersus Management

Management vs. Leadership – How Everything DiSC Profiles Differ

One of the thorniest questions often circulating in business is: ‘What’s the difference between management and leadership?‘ I’ve often included an exercise exploring this question in my training courses. It’s important to establish that there IS a difference as the two functions are often paired together as if they’re the same and, of course, they’re not.

The reality is that there is often an overlap and many individuals in an organisation will be called upon to do both. It’s therefore often more helpful for an individual to consider ‘What function do I need to step into now’ rather than ‘What does my title say I am’ so that you can intentionally wear the right hat for the right task!

For increased clarification, Wiley’s personalised Everything DiSC profiles very helpfully distinguish between the two functions as follows:


Wiley’s Everything DiSC ‘Work of Leaders’ model and Everything DiSC profile very nicely sets out what it means to be in leadership mode. The functions here can apply to leaders at any level and often apply, even when the job title says ‘manager’.

Leadership is described as a ‘one to many’ relationship. It’s strategic! The message is ‘this is where we’re going, follow me, it’s going to be worth it, let’s get cracking on what needs to be done to get there’!

The role of a leader is set out clearly in three steps and there are 18 best practice behaviours – 6 for each step to guide the leader as to how to approach each one.

The first step is to create a vision or translate the big, organisational vision for your team or department. Often more junior leaders in the hierarchy will need to explore with their teams ‘what does the big vision mean for us?’

Next, the leader needs to ‘gain alignment’ or buy-in from their people to the vision and again, there is guidance as to the best practice behaviours associated with this.

And finally, the leader needs to take responsibility for the nitty-gritty activities that will make the vision a reality. In the model this is referred to as ‘championing execution’ and again, best practice behaviours offer guidance here.


Wiley’s Everything DiSC Management profile addresses ‘one to one’ relationships. This is all about considering the individuals you have responsibility for and how you can bring out the best in them.

The profile specifically focuses on important people management functions; directing and delegating, motivating and developing individuals in your team or department. The message is… ’You probably have your own preferred way of doing things – but what about the people you manage? What are their needs and preferences? How can you flex and adapt your management style to bring out the best in each person?’

So, many individuals responsible for a team will need to change roles back and forth, sometimes several times a day, depending on the needs and demands of the situation. For example:

  • Let’s get really clear about the vision as a team (leadership)
  • I need to motivate a member of staff (management)
  • I need to inspire the group (leadership)
  • I’m now going into a one-to-one appraisal (management)
  • I need to analyse the plans to make sure we’re on track (Leadership)
  • Are people clear about what we’re trying to do (leadership)

For further clarity, you can see sample profiles here

In Conclusion

Sadly, it’s all too common that many people get thrown into management and leadership at the deep end and without any arm bands! That’s why good quality leadership and management training development programmes are so crucial. 

The  Everything DiSC models and personalised profiles bring role clarity, guidance about best practice behaviours, helpful strategies and tips, self-awareness about your individual strengths and development areas and a whole lot more!

You can learn how to train and coach individuals using the Everything DiSC suite of profiles by attending our three, half-day online DiSC certification training course. 

If this might be of interest, please do get in touch and we can explore if it’s right for you.

Want to find out how you can become trained in Everything DiSC? Check out our upcoming DiSC Certification training

If you wish to discuss, please email me (Julie French)  or  call me +44 (0) 800 2982 614. I look forward to speaking with you.