For a long time, I have not been interested in word gymnastics about management and leadership. There are many books and articles that do just that. I always used to think as leadership as good management, and management as mediocre or poor management. This used to annoy people that considered them as vastly different things. But in my flippant disregard for language, what I meant by being a good manager, and therefore a leader, is simply that you set your own work for you and your team rather than simply carrying out the instructions from above - mediocre or poor managers can do that. This is what led to my disdain for a difference in language as I could not see why anyone would be a manager that did not want to plot their own course. And I did not see why any leader would want a manager that did not want to help decide in which direction to work towards. If a manager is simply managing, then why do we need them? Cut out the middleman.
On a recommendation from my day-job boss, I have started read Leadership Plain and Simple, which has solidified my previous thinking, although the book too does draw a distinction. This book brought to life the part that I was trying to convey. The future.
Leaders have a vision of the future. Something they are striving for. Something that needs to be different. When people think leadership and management are different it is surely the future element that is missing from the latter. This is what I mean when I say leadership is just good management because I was blind to the fact that anyone would not want to plot their own course for the future if they were a manager.
If word gymnastics are in order, then a clearer distinction should be between leader/manager and manager/supervisor. If you just want to baby sit some employees and be a message regurgitate, then you are a supervisor. If you think up some better version of the future and then put that into action? Now you are a leader.