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The Difference Between Leadership and Management

Apr 09, 2020

Leadership and management. What’s the difference? The terms are frequently used interchangeably but there are some key differences to consider when we discuss the two. Instead of creating my own definition here, I’m going to share the brilliant example my ten-year-old daughter came up with to explain the difference which is, honestly, better than I could’ve said it myself.

When asked the difference, Lila said:

“It's like when we're walking in the line at school. The manager is the person that's responsible for keeping everybody together, the right distance away from each other, and moving at the same speed. The leader is the person that stands at the front of the line, looks forward, and decides where we go.”

Yup, she said that. And no, I don’t have her running her own practice (yet!).

What Marks a Manager

Every once in awhile, I’ll encounter a dentist who is very self-aware. They’ll recognize that they are career employees and will understand their lack of management skills. What they often don’t understand is that it isn’t enough to just accept that as fact and move on.


Because being a manager isn’t just about managing assistants, hygienists, or other core team members in your life. It’s about managing yourself; holding yourself accountable and showing up every day, performing, and constantly improving. Whether you like it or not, you need management skills to uplevel yourself first.

The Leader Life

You are the leader of your own life. You get to make the choice, write the story, and live it out. And as a dental professional, whether you own your own practice or not, you have that role and responsibility for yourself, your family and your team in whatever capacity.

Management + Leadership = Multiplication

Management and leadership skills are what will allow you to multiply your impact and your results in life. They allow you to positively impact other dentists and professionals. They allow you to help your patients realize their vision of dental health. Management and leadership skills allow you to create that domino affects outward so that the momentum of your efforts begin taking life and working on their own so you can maximize your output on the world, on your own life, on your family, on your friends, on your employees, and in absolutely every facet of your existence.

If you’re ready to experience exponential growth, reach out. We’re here to help you every step of the way.