Connection Between Management and Leadership


Management and leadership is an essential topic for discussion in the context of business because they have a direct and significant impact on the operation and require specific competencies, especially in the modern world were globalisation is changing the competitive advantages of firms. To fully understand the concepts that will be reviewed and their connection to business operations, it is necessary to review several academic definitions of leadership and management. According to Amanchukwu, Stanley, and Ololube (2015, p. 6) leaders are people who have the “experience, knowledge, commitment, patience, and most importantly the skill to negotiate and work with others to achieve goals.” Hence, having proper communication skills is a vital part of being a leader.

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Management is defined as a set of characteristics and practical knowledge referring to operations, planning, and overseeing activities of employees. However, Kaehler and Grundei (2018) argue that traditional definitions of management written in textbooks do not outline specific characteristics that would help understand this concept or skills necessary to become a good manager, for instance, Boddy (2017) argues that management can be defined as a universal activity of humans in different settings.

Kaeher and Grundei (2018, p. 3) concluded that management is a “steering influence on market, production and/or resource operations in an organisation and its units that may address both people and non-people issues and is exerted by multiple organisational actors through either anticipatory norm-setting or situational intervention with the aim of achieving the unit’s objectives.” This paper aims to address the relationship between management and leadership since the two concepts are connected but relate to different strategies and approaches to leading a company.


The critical analysis of the two notions – management and leadership, reveals that although the two share similar characteristics, they are very different. By examining different concepts of management and specific characteristics of each approach, one can state that most articles cite planning as the critical feature of proper management. Bateman, Snell and Konopaske. (2017) argue that management is connected to working primarily with people and developing strategies for managing resources to reach a specific goal.

A similar view of the connection between foals of the business and management is described by Daft (2015), who states that managers should focus on attaining the firm’s goals through planning and leadership. This is consistent with some of the definitions of leadership; however, it is evident that managers have to have a good understanding of operations, planning and human resource management to be efficient.

Leaders, on the other hand, focus more on communication with the followers and on providing motivation. Grint, Jones, and Holt (2017) state that leadership is connected to defining a direction for a business and managing change. Hence, leaders are capable of introducing innovation and communicating its importance to the personnel. Therefore, the definitions and descriptions of management and leadership presented in the academic literature provide an understanding of the fact that the two are different. Companies cannot rely on only having good managers or good leader since the two categories are connected to different tasks and capabilities. Ideally, leaders should understand the processes that are essential for organisations to be adequate managers as well and vice versa.

The similarities between the two concepts exist; for example, both have to align their efforts with the objectives of an organisation and affect the employees through their actions. The review of different definitions and approaches to management and leadership reveals that both concepts are somewhat similar and have a single main objective – attaining a goal that a business defined through its strategy (Robbins & Coulter 2016).

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However, one can argue that the theory of management is more focus on planning and supervising while leadership emphasises the relationship between an executive and his followers. This becomes evident from examining the notions of leadership and comparing it to that of management; however, the connection between the two is necessary for achieving organisational success.

One can argue that management is not a substitute for leadership, while proper leadership cannot provide necessary results without applying techniques and approaches of the management theory. Therefore, management and leadership go hand in hand with each other, which means that executives should possess the necessary skills and knowledge associated with the two. Examples that can help evaluate the limitations of management and improper leadership companies to the impact on personnel and perceptions of the executives. The 2015 report focusing on the managers in the United States and the efficiency of their work revealed that one out of two employees chooses to quit their job because of poor management (Adkins 2016).

Hence, the first limitation is the direct impact of management on employee retention, turnover, and job satisfaction that affect the operations of a business. Fortune Editors (2016) present a list of the world’s most disappointing leaders and explain the impact of their bad skills and improper competencies on the organisations they lead. The primary implication is that corrupt leaders and managers demotivate personnel and cause harm to a brand’s image, which inevitably affects the operations.

Other limitations of leadership and management are connected to the personality of an executive. Garrahhan (2019) created a similar list, and according to his evaluation, Martin Sorrell, a CEO of WPP is an example of the harmful impact that a leader can have on his or her company. Sorrell was excused of unethical behaviour and stealing money from the company, resulting in an investigation. Garrahhan (2019) reports that he will have to pay approximately £200,000 to the PR firm as part of his deal with WPP.

The implication of this example is that while Sorrel was a good manager because he helped his company be successful and receive profits over the years, his personal behaviour and characteristics reveal that he is a bad leader. The effect of his actions on the personnel of the WPP is unclear, but because most definitions and scholars examined in this paper argue that leaders should be an example for their followers, it can be argued that Sorrel’s actions affected WPP negatively, both financially and in the managerial context.

The effectiveness of applying both management and leadership can be seen when examining success cases. Lavoi (2016) argues that managers should lead their employees and provide an excellent example with their work to ensure a positive environment and adequate work conditions. The author argues that best organisations are known worldwide, such as Amazon or Facebook have leaders and managers with exceptional competencies and skills.

Also, Michelle McQuaid and the VIA Institute on Character surveyed over 1,000 employees and found out that 71% believed that their managers were aware of their strengths (Adkins 2016). Subsequently, these respondents felt engaged in their daily work and believed that their executives were working to ensure that their personnel feels energised by the tasks. Hence, one can argue that the benefits of proper management include the ability to motivate and engage others.

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Two Management and Leadership Frameworks

Firstly, McKinsey’s 7s framework is a valuable tool for managers because it allows examining an organisation using seven key characteristics, each referring to a distinct activity that affects the daily operations. According to the Mind Tools Team (n.d.), this framework was developed by McKinsey’s consultants in the 1970s. The primary objective of this approach is to align seven critical elements of operations to ensure that a business can reach its goals.

The 7s framework can help examine the operations of a company from different perspectives, which is especially valuable for managers. The main feature is that each of the seven elements is labelled as either “hard” or “soft” (The Mind Tools Team n.d., para. 3). The first category contains the company’s characteristics such as strategy, structure and systems while the second focuses on shared value, skills, staff and style.

Arguably, the hard elements can be easy identified by the leadership and affected through planning and change within the hierarchy of an organisation. The other four elements, however, referred to the culture of a business and can be challenging to evaluate and impact. For example, the shared values element explains the ethics and behaviour of employees, which are an integral part of the corporate culture. Therefore, the advantages of this framework are the ability to review to tangible and intangible elements of the organisation’s operations and connect the strategy for future development with these components.

Additionally, the flexibility of this approach allows applying it in different situations, for instance, during mergers or when planning a team project. However, disadvantages exist as well since it fails to account for the external environment and specifics of the industry (“McKinsey 7s change model” n.d.). Also, not a lot of empirical studies were conducted to prove the actual impact of this alignment on a company’s efficiency. Another limitation is that the 7s framework can be interpreted differently by individuals, meaning that the accuracy of each assessment is questionable.

This framework can help improve the efficiency of organisations by allowing for an in-depth review and establishment of approaches that can be applied by leaders to communicate with followers and improve operations. One example is Netflix, which was examined by U’Rean (2015), who argues that the operations of this online business can be examined using the adaptation of the 7s model.

The company is well known within the entertainment industry because of innovation it applied towards viewing television shows and the disruption that this strategy caused. U’Rean (2015) applied the 7s framework to analyse Netflix and determine new strategies that can enable growth and development after the organisation is established in major markets. While the mentioned article reviews all seven aspects of operations, only the primary elements will be examined in this paper.

Netflix’s strategy is focused on delivering high-quality content at low costs (U’Rean 2015). It has a flat, functional structure, which is considered to be a novelty in human resource management and operations, providing a competitive advantage to this business. The systems are connected to obtaining content, packaging it, exhibiting, distributing, and selling to the consumer. As was mentioned, the limitation of this model is that it is difficult to examine some elements accurately; in this case, the soft internal characteristics of Netflix.

Secondly, the leadership grid is a method that can be used by managers to develop an understanding of their leadership style. This method was created in the 1960s and is still used, which suggests that this concept remains to be valid (“Leadership grid” n.d.). There are two main aspects of this model – either task orientation or focus on relationships. The first element means that a manager is more focused on how his or her employees approach tasks and accomplish them and on providing rewards for successful work.

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The latter implies that the interpersonal element of work is essential for a leader. The results are one of the five leadership styles – “impoverished management, task management middle-of-the-road, country club, or team management” (“Blake and Mouton’s managerial grid” n.d. para. 10). In essence, any company can apply the leadership great to help improve its operations, for example applying the grid to analyse Jeff Bezos’ style of leadership can help reveal how he approaches strategic decisions at Amazon (Dening 2018).

Based on the characteristics provided by the author, it can be argued that Bezos uses a team management approach where the focus is both on people and tasks equally. By implementing this approach to define leadership styles of all managers at Amazon, the company can improve the cooperation between departments since each leader will be aware of the focus that others have.

The advantages of this model are that by using it, managers can identify the strategies they use by answering a questionnaire and focus on improving some elements. It should be mentioned that there is a possibility of receiving biased answers that can affect the outcomes of this leadership evaluation. Another disadvantage lack of incorporating all aspects of contemporary leadership models; for instance, it does not outline leaders that focus on innovation and change. The two frameworks can help organisations gain a better understanding of different elements, such as strategy or culture that impact the revenue and assess leadership styles used by managers to determine if those align with the needs of the business.


Overall, this paper reviewed the concept of leadership, its definition, and the relationship between leadership and management. The definitions of both notions highlight the fact that management is more focused on planning or supervising, and the direct impact on processes is required from managers. Leaders are more focused on their followers, building the relationship with their employees and the approaches to motivating and creating a vision that will enable success. However, the primary goal of both concepts is to help a company achieve its goals and success in the market it operates in by influencing the daily workflow.

Globalisation was examined as part of this paper since the changes in the relationships between countries and innovation make it necessary for leaders to address global competition. The competencies that managers have to develop to face the issue were reviewed, and specific recommendations help organisations implement specific changes that will address the globalisation problem. The McKinsey 7s model was developed by the consultants of the firm to help evaluate the three hard and four soft elements of operations.

The example of Netflix provides an understanding of how the company’s leadership can develop strategies that will help increase revenue after Netflix is established in all core markets. Leadership grid can be used by organisation’s managers to evaluate their leadership style. This paper provides an in-depth assessment of leadership and management concepts that will allow applying the best practices associated with each theory for the benefit of organisations.

Reference List

Amanchukwu, RN, Stanley, GJ, & Ololube, NP 2015, ‘A review of leadership theories, principles and styles and their relevance to educational management’, Management, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 6-14.

Bateman, TS, Snell, S, & Konopaske, R 2017, Management – leading & collaborating in a competitive world, 12th edn, McGraw-Hill Education, New York, NY.

Boddy, D. (2017). Management – an introduction, 7th edn, Pearson Education: Harlow.

Blake and Mouton’s managerial grid n.d. Web.

Denning, S 2018, ‘The seven things a highly agile CEO does: Jeff Bezos’, Forbes. Web.

Fortune Editors 2016, The world’s 19 most disappointing leaders. Web.

Adkins, A 2016, ‘Employee engagement in U.S. stagnant in 2015. Web.

Garrahan, M 2019, ‘WPP asks Martin Sorrell to repay £200,000 in personal expenses’, Financial Times. Web.

Grint, K, Jones, O, & Holt, C 2017, ‘What is leadership’, in J Storey, J Hartley, JL Denis, P Hart, & D Ulrich (eds), The Routledge companion to leadership, Routhledge, New York, NY, pp. 3-10.

Kaehler, B, & Grundei, J 2018, ‘The concept of management: in search of a new definition’, Springer Briefs in Business, pp. 3–26.

Lavoie, A 2016, Here are 4 problems that occur with poor management skills. Web.

Leadership grid n.d. Web.

McKinsey 7s change model n.d. Web.

The Mind Tools Team n.d., McKinsey 7-s framework. Web.

Robbins, SP, & Coulter, MA 2016, Management, 13th edn, Pearson, London.

U’Rean, B 2015, Netflix, EFNP-104, Bond University, Robina. Web.

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