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Leadership and Management: Differences and Similarities


Management and leadership are two closely related disciplines. These disciplines complete each other since there are instances when a manager has to show leadership qualities. Similarly, managerial skills are required of a leader. Despite the close correlation between the two disciplines, there are key disparities between the two disciplines as will be shown in this discussion. One of the key disparities is the management is more disciplined and follows a system and set rules while leadership requires more of an individual’s institution rather than adhering to certain guidelines or procedures (Robbins & Coulter, 2005).

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Importance of management and leadership

Management is exceedingly crucial in organizations. This is because organizations encounter various challenges or constraints. As such, they create certain mechanisms or procedures that will help them overcome the hurdles they encounter. In contrast, leadership is about overcoming hurdles that cannot be addressed by such procedures. Such challenges would include leading an entity in a new direction, which may entail changes to a company’s philosophy (Schermerhorn, 2002). Leadership involves unearthing and utilizing employees’ potential fully. Company procedures are repetitive and limit application of creativity and innovation. Contrary, leadership requires innovation and creativity since a leader does not encounter structured problems that managers encounter. Managers normally utilize structured or textbook solutions. Leadership has the capability to inspire people towards the realization of a certain goal. Nonetheless, managements’ approach limits its ability to inspire or change the manner in which employees think or undertake their work owing to its rigid nature. Leadership always require management since management is stringent and enables leaders to consolidate their accomplishments through proper governance provided by management. Management is exceedingly critical since it enables consolidation of accomplishments (Raatma, 2003).

Differences between leadership and management

From the above, it is evident that leadership focuses on the people or employees. Conversely, management focuses on the enforcement of procedures. This means that psychology is crucial in leadership. A leader needs to know his/her followers. Once the leader understands his/her employees, then he/she acquires the capability to lead. Contrary, management requires minimal psychological skills that will help the manager understand his junior staff members. Therefore, allocation of work in management is based on skills rather than the ability to unearth people’s ability. This has resulted in many companies being over-managed rather than being led. Entities have many managers and very few leaders. Therefore, companies predominantly concentrate on enforcing procedures, which is repetitive. The repetitive nature of management results in boredom among employees, Boredom results in low productivity among employees. Leadership has the capability to invigorate employees resulting in massive productivity. However, the current business environment is unforgiving. Hence, entities have to limit their losses by enforcing procedures. Leadership is at times too risky for organizations since it requires leaders to embrace risky alternatives. The corporate world embraces decisions following thorough evaluations. Subsequently, the corporate world takes a cautious approach in relation to leadership (Marriner-Tomey, 2009).

Integrating management and leadership

According to Mitchell Alegre, management and leadership should work in tendon. These two aspects should complement each other. It is critical to establish a balance in the application of management and leadership. The article identifies circumstances, which will suit each of the two aspects. If an organization is inefficient or encountering financial hurdles, management is the best tool. This is because management will enact procedures, which will enforce prudence and compliance. Such a process will diminish wastage and enhance efficiency. Leadership entails inspiring or getting people to realize an objective by altering their manner of thinking. Therefore, leadership can be useful in the modern business set-up where the variables are changing often. Such an environment will demand stronger leadership since it requires innovation rather than procedures. The article reveals that an organization requires both managerial and leadership skills. Application of these skills should be timely to ensure progress in an organization (Marquis & Huston, 2009).

Assessing success in leadership

Assessing leadership is a subjective task. The success of a leader will depend on the metrics utilized in making the assessment. Some leaders such Napoleon and Caesar were extremely accomplished in their undertakings. In spite of their success, they experienced some losses, which acted as a platform to propel them forth or end of their reign. In the current set up, the success of a leader may be evaluated by examining how the leader utilizes his influence (Mabey & Finch-Lees, 2008). A successful leader will utilize his position and leadership skills towards the realization of goals. First, if a leader in a failing company rallies his employees to turn around the fortunes of a company, then he/she is a successful leader. There are other ways of assessing, such as assessment of accomplishments, innovations and risk taking. Leader should also be role models to their partners or employees. Being role model entails possessing value such as wisdom and courage, which are central to the success of any leader (Giuliani & Kurson, 2002).


Despite the differences, there are minimal similarities between the two. Leadership management requires boldness and good social skills. These characteristics will enable a leader or a manager to put forward their ideas for implementation successfully (Drucker & Maciariello, 2008). Being a good manager will entail having the ability to lead employees in a certain manner. On the other hand, being an exemplary leader will demand having opposite management skills. Management and leadership overlap widely since they circumnavigate the same principles (Armstrong & Armstrong, 2009).


Armstrong, M., & Armstrong, M. (2009). Armstrong’s handbook of management and leadership: A guide to managing for results. London: Kogan Page.

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Drucker, F., & Maciariello, A. (2008). Management. New York, NY: Collins.

Giuliani, W., & Kurson, K. (2002). Leadership. New York: Hyperion.

Mabey, C., & Finch-Lees, T. (2008). Management and leadership development. Los Angeles: SAGE.

Marquis, L., & Huston J. (2009). Leadership roles and management functions in nursing: Theory and application. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams& Wilkins.

Marriner-Tomey, A. (2009). Guide to nursing management and leadership. St. Louis,Mo: Mosby Elsevier.

Raatma, L. (2003). Leadership. Mankato, Minn: Bridgestone Books.

Robbins, P., & Coulter, K. (2005). Management. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

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Schermerhorn, R. (2002). Management. New York: Wiley.

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