Management vs. Leadership: Functional Application


The concepts of management and leadership have been misused and misinterpreted to mean the same thing. Actually, leadership and management are two distinct concepts that are complex in application and coverage. This report differentiates leadership and management from functional application perspectives. The paper also explores the theoretical application of these concepts in the business environment and their impacts on organizational effectiveness.

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Differences between Leadership and Management

The concept of leadership refers to the capacity to proactively and holistically internalize the setting of an environment within the elements of incorporation and empowerment aimed at a specific group (Sostrin, 2013, p. 46). Capacity building is necessary for creating a definite direction in solving a challenge. On the other hand, the concept of management refers to the strategies put in place to direct or control resources, people, and other factors of production in a group within preset values or principles (Harrison, 2018, p. 23).

The utilization of leadership and management concepts in a corporation is equally different. For instance, leadership capacity integrates skills, ability, or talent to facilitate commitment, empowerment, adaptability, and critical problem-solving. The element of adaptability in leadership application influences the changes or adjustments required to exert persuasion over the present challenge (Baxter, 2015, p. 439). These adjustments trigger innovative tendencies capable of discerning and reassuring the desires and needs of an organization. Moreover, the aspect of empowerment is instrumental in inspiring confidence and self-esteem among the subjects being led in order to systematically align their internal feelings with a specific instinct or intuition (Harrison, 2018, p. 31). As a result, the subjects will rely on the vote of confidence or faith in them to generate solutions for every challenge in that organization.

On the other hand, the utilization of management in an organizational setting involves goal-setting, managing assets, strategic planning, and deployment of resources to achieve preset objectives. In most cases, the objectives are quantifiable and measured over a specific period of time (Baxter, 2015, p. 441). This means that management application in an organization is aimed at inspiring the urge to proactively contribute towards the institutionalization of a suitable business environment by closing potential or existing gaps between a problem and its resolution. Therefore, strategic management is a parameter for a creative response towards effective decision-making. It systematically creates an extensive chain of solution adaptation approaches to the current challenges in an organization (Harrison, 2018, p. 34). In addition, management is characterized by reaffirming a status quo, imitation, and relatively narrow focus on addressing organizational goals. Management functions include planning, executing, and evaluating different strategies aimed at solving a problem. These levels are integrated into a single function to facilitate a smooth transition from one solution to another. In a typical organizational setting, management functions operate differently, depending on the management level. For instance, the decision process becomes more intense as the management hierarchy expands.

Leadership and Management Styles

The transformational leadership style is characterized by constant cooperation between a leader and the employees in the identification of challenges and creation of a guide towards addressing these setbacks (Baxter, 2015, p. 447). The transformational leadership style is associated with inspiration and problem execution as a team through enhanced morale, motivation, and job performance (Harrison, 2018, p. 47). This means that a transformational leader connects with the senses of self, identity, and collectiveness to inspire the employees to perform optimally. On the other hand, the persuasive management style is characterized by the manager having the sole control of the decision-making process, though the employees are informed why the decision made is in the best interest of an organization (Sostrin, 2013, p. 44). This means that the employees are persuaded to understand the rationale behind each decision made by the manager on their behalf. Despite the persuasive nature of the decision process, it is still a one-sided process of encoding and decoding the communication process.

In the strategic decision-making process, the transformational leadership style may be applied to inspire the proactive participation of all the stakeholders through direct engagement. For instance, when faced with a decision on the best option for maximizing productivity, a transformational leader will invite the participants and create a forum for an open discussion on the available alternatives on which the decision will be based (Harrison, 2018, p. 67). During these discussions, the employees will freely contribute and make suggestions that are integrated into a single solution. This means that the decision made in such an environment is generally acceptable to the employees. On the other hand, the persuasive management style is applied in the decision-making process to bring onboard the employees who are expected to accept the decisions made on their behalf (Baxter, 2015, p. 445). The persuasive manager will make a decision and then organize a meeting with the employees to explain his or her actions. For instance, a decision to increase productivity may be made by a manager based on expert experience, after which he or she will persuade the employees to give their support.

Benefits of Good Relationship between Leaders and Employees

A proactive and active leader-employee interaction is instrumental in sustaining inter-and intrapersonal relationships in an organization. Vroom and Yetton’s normative theoretical leadership model discusses the significance of a healthy relationship between a leader and employees (Sostrin, 2013, p. 56). This theoretical framework is focused on participation, thereby increasing decision acceptance. At the same time, higher decision acceptance equals increased effectiveness and commitment towards a set of actions. For instance, in the selection of the best alternative during a decision process, it is important to bring employees on board since they will be responsible for implementing any proposal (Harrison, 2018, p. 53). In the event of a poor relationship between a leader and an employee, the decisions made in such an environment might not survive the test of time due to opposition or laxity in implementation. This means that a leader should strive to bring as many employees on board as possible in the decision-making process for general acceptance. This state may occur when there is a good rapport between the leader and employees.

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According to Vroom and Yetton’s leadership theoretical framework, there are five decision-making procedures denoted by A1, A2, C1, C2, and G2. A1 and A2 are autocratic in nature, that is, the leader takes or gets information from their employees before making a decision on their own (Harrison, 2018, p. 73). C1 and C2 procedures are characterized by the leader sharing the problem with the employees at individual or group levels before making the final decision. The leader under C1 and C2 must listen to an individual or group opinion of the employees before making a decision. Lastly, the G2 procedure is characterized by the leader sharing the problem with the employees as a team and then seeking their opinion from which a consensual decision is made. Clearly, all five procedures involve direct interaction between the leader and their employees (Harrison, 2018, p. 69). Therefore, any procedure adopted is effective or functional when there is a positive and healthy relationship between these parties.

The Vroom and Yetton theoretical model functions on the assumption that the lack of consultation between the leader and employees might result in unpredictable leadership behavior. Irrational behavior might result in making decisions that are controlled by emotions or limited facts due to inadequate information supplied by the employees. Decisions made based on limited information might not lead to improved performance or sustainable organizational functionality (Sostrin, 2013, p. 32). This means that a leader should be rational at all times to make effective and proactive decisions that are holistic and relevant. A good relationship between a leader and employees guarantees sustainable rationality in the organization. However, when there is a poor rapport, the leader might overly rely on experiences and observations that are not adequate. Therefore, the decision-making environment in an organization is effective when the leader is able to access as much information from the employees as possible to improve acceptance indicators. In addition, a good relationship inspires confidence and an internal urge to perform optimally (Baxter, 2015, p. 445).


In summary, I learned a lot about myself in the management self-assessment. For instance, I have realized that an effective management strategy is connected to the ability to balance environmental dynamics and externalities to ensure that the processes of planning and execution are self-sustaining. In addition, before making a decision, it is necessary to examine different alternatives to select the best choice. I am a relatively good manager based on the decision matrix. However, I need to work on my focus and intuition to improve my performance as a leader.


Baxter, J. (2015). Who wants to be the leader? The linguistic construction of emerging leadership in differently gendered teams. International Journal of Business Communication, 52(4), 427-451.

Harrison, C. (2018). Leadership theory and research: A critical approach to new and existing paradigms. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Sostrin, J. (2013). Beyond the job description: How managers and employees can navigate the true demands of the job. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

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