Organisations: Leadership and Management Role


The modern times have become competitive and very challenging for managers and leaders. In as much as the challenges face leaders and managers, very few individuals understand the differences that exist between managers and leaders. In some cases, people use the two terms interchangeably. It is fundamental to explain that irrespective of the misguided perceptions held by people concerning leaders and managers there are several differences that delineate the two entities.

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A study on the two entities, leaders and managers, reveals the differences and clarifies the fact that indeed the two play distinct roles in organisations. Consequently, the traits and values that leaders and managers should possess are in several cases similar. The similarity in the values and traits emanates from the fact that both leaders and managers have people who believe in them and expect their guidance and advice. It is within this backdrop that the literature review examines the differences between leaders and managers.

Differences Between Leadership and Management

Apparently, there are a number of distinctions that exist between leaders and managers. Motivation, guidance, dynamism, and resource governance are some of the concepts that distinguish leaders from managers. Although managers can execute tasks that may appear as similar, the manner in which they undertake these tasks reveal whether they are managers or leaders. As such, it is very easy to point out a leader or a manager just by looking at the way they undertake their operations and how they control those around them.

Lashinsky (2016) explain that while managers may be domineering and controlling, leaders are more interactive and guide those around them to emulate what they do. In the same vein, it is imperative to explain that leaders act as role models whereas managers follow the stipulated blueprints and ensure that a particular task meets the required datelines in quality and quantity.

Concepts That Distinguish Leaders From Managers


Notably, motivation is one of the concepts that draw a line between managers and leaders. Due to the desire to maintain status quo and ensure that tasks match the set requirements, managers are less motivating in relation to leaders. As such, managers encourage those under them to follow the rules and maintain the set procedures. Managers are unlikely to invent things that are out of the box when undertaking a particular task. Any attempt by an individual to introduce new processes usually attracts rejection and criticism. According to Schroeder (2012), managers love doing things following the guidelines laid down by the organisations.

In effect, managers stick to the rules and set procedures even if these rules and procedures do not yield the expected outcomes. In some occasion, managers have rejected proposals that could change the performance of organisations due to their unwillingness to change the status quo. Moreover, by being reluctant to change the status quo, people who work around them do not get the motivation to exercise their creativity.

On the other hand, leaders are very motivating and inspiring. Their outgoing nature makes them encourage people who work with them to think outside the box and come up with concepts that change the overall operations. While managers struggle to maintain the status quo, leaders are constantly devising ways that can change the manner in which a product is developed with the view to improve organisational performance.

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In essence, leaders motivate the people around them to optimise their thinking skills and expertise so that they can come up with new things. According to Gopee and Galloway (2017), organisations that have leaders in place of managers are likely to sustain the increasing competition experienced by modern organisations. The ability to sustain the rising competition emanates from the motivation inculcated by the leaders on those who work with them. Motivation is a concept that that makes employees work hard and invent new things that match consumer requirements.


Guidance is another concept that makes leaders different from managers. Managers are less likely to guide their subordinates. Managers always provide rules that their subordinates need to follow. Instead of guiding the employees working under them, managers supervise how they are undertaking the work. In actual sense, the focus of managers is to make sure that the work follows the rules that they provide.

Those who follow the rules do not always get in trouble with managers as compared to those who try to invent things and deviate from the set procedures. In the words of Goetsch and Davis (2014), some managers may be individuals who have very little knowledge on the subject under their management, but undertake their duties by following rules and guidelines. Therefore, managers do not instil components that guide their juniors on how certain tasks can be completed.

On the contrary, leaders provide lots of guidance to those who work with them. Since leaders need people who emulate their actions, they usually provide insights into how the juniors can complete a task in a manner that is similar to theirs. Instead of providing rules and supervising the implementation of these rules, leaders help subordinates and train them on how they can implement a task.

They interact with employees and guide them. Due to their nature of being inspiring, leaders usually train their colleagues to achieve tasks in a manner that they best understand. Instead of having subordinates follow rules, leaders focus much on the achievement of tasks. As such, the design followed by employees in achieving a given task is not the perspective of the leaders. The implication of the focus held by leaders is an increase in the rate of motivation and innovation among employees.


Another concept that is useful in differentiating leaders from managers is the scale of dynamism. Notably, managers are less dynamic as compared to leaders. The less dynamic nature of managers occasions from the fact that they follow rules set by organisations. Instead of watching market trends, managers look at the rules and procedures set by the organisation and supervise their implementation.

In addition, the outcome of low dynamism exercised by managers transpires from the routine engagement of activities that eventually lead to boredom among employees. In the end, those working under managers specialise in their respective fields, a phenomenon that limits learning and hampers the progress of an organisation. In the words of Stevenson (2014), managers instil the stereotype culture in organisations. The stereotype culture takes effect when those working under managers stick to the rules set by organisation and practise them on a daily basis.

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Consequently, leaders are very dynamic and do not stick to particular guidelines. Leaders are trendy and usually change with the marketing environment. Leaders are among the best researchers who take their time to study the market and strive to conform to the trends advanced by the market. Their desire to be in touch with market expectations compel them to break the away from routine activities. Remarkably, those working under leaders tend to be more proactive and multitask. Multitasking implies that the employees do not stick to their offices but undertake a number of tasks around the organisation.

By multitasking employees learn new ideas and acquire skills on how to improve the manner in which services or products reach the target clients. Barling (2014) alludes that leaders encourage their colleagues to be dynamic and, in the process, make them deliver the best out of themselves. The statement clarifies the trendy and innovative behaviour of leaders and differentiates them from managers.

Governance of Resources

The manner in which leaders and managers supervise resources makes them distinct from each other. Managers lay lots of focus on systems, machines, and devices used in executing a task. By laying a lot of emphasis on the systems, machines, and devices used, managers do not take much attention on the employees who use them. The implication of the focus results in managers who work hard to make sure that the systems are efficient and operational so that the human resources undertake their duties within the required timelines. In most cases, managers respond swiftly to devices that require repair and maintenance unlike in scenarios where employees need advice on certain issues (Schroeder 2012).

The focus accorded to systems and operations makes managers be a bit controlling. The managers supervise the operations undertaken by those working under them and ensure that they adhere to every detail outlined by the organisation.

On the other hand, leaders focus much on the human resources. Leaders understand that for organisations to operate smoothly and achieve the desired success, it has to treat its human resources with fairness. Fundamentally, leaders understand that without just treatment, human resources can fail to deliver the best and, in the process, dissatisfy consumers. Therefore, unlike managers, leaders take more time addressing issues that affect employees.

Gopee and Galloway (2017) argue that other than spending time on malfunctioning machines, leaders interact with employees and try to understand the challenges that these individuals face in the process of service or product delivery. The argument substantiates the focus that leaders accord to employees in organisations. In effect, the focus is one of the concepts that make organisations that have leaders operate in a manner that matches client expectations.

Mode of Operation

The manner in which leaders and managers undertake their duties makes the two entities unique from each other. Managers for instance, are bossy and spend most of their time controlling and supervising their subordinates.

In the course of undertaking their activities, managers give directives and ensure that those who work under them follow a certain set of regulations. It is important to clarify the fact that managers have people who work under them because they work well when they have people that they can control. Stevenson (2014) explicates that people work under managers an implication that they act a juniors and are fully within their control..As such managers can only optimise their duties if the people they are working with are under their control. By being under their control, managers can compel them to follow their rules and finish tasks on time.

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Consequently, leaders unlike managers are not bossy and do not give directives. Instead, leaders interact with their colleagues and show them how things are undertaken. In actual sense, leaders take their time to understand their colleagues and embrace their unique abilities. Furthermore, leaders encourage their juniors and colleagues to optimise their skills and fulfil the task in a manner that surpasses the expectations of the employers.

Gopee and Galloway (2017) allude that leaders are interactive, level headed, and do not have dictatorial features. Apparently, successful organisations are those that have leaders because these individuals show the way that other employees need to follow. They lead by example and do the things that the employees will then emulate. Unlike managers who in most cases give orders without doing the tasks, leaders do the tasks and encourage their colleagues to work with them. The interactive nature of leaders and their mode of operation introduce the phrase that ‘leaders work with employees’. In other words, leaders involve their colleagues to complete a particular organisational initiative successfully.

Comparing and Contrasting Contingency and Trait Theories of Leadership

Contingency Theory of Leadership

Contingency theory is one of the theories advanced by scholars in the field of leadership. The theory came emerged in the early parts of 1960s and has triggered debate among scholars around the globe. The theory has continued to introduce debates among those who support it and the ones opposing it. Apparently, the cornerstones of the theory revolve around the fact that leadership is an activity that requires support and innate characteristics.

The theory clarifies that for people to lead, they should receive support and encouragement from those around them. Moreover, those individuals should have some qualities that make them unique and able to convince their colleagues to adopt and follow their ideas. According to Miner (2015), contingency theory employs support and innate traits as critical components that trigger leadership in an individual. The theory states that in the absence of these components leadership skills may not be evident.

To optimise their leadership skills individuals require their colleagues to stand by their side at all times and encourage them that they have what it takes to lead. In contingency theory, leaders also require guidance from other leaders who have similar roles as them (Dugan 2016). For instance, leaders who have led countries can need advice from ministers and senators before undertaking a certain activity.

The essence of looking for advice from other leaders emanates from the fact that these leaders have people who believe in them and expect that they will deliver according to their expectations. Fundamentally, the innate characteristics of individuals help them to deliver their roles as leaders effectively. However, the theory explains that these innate features limit the leadership skills of an individual to certain fields. From the theory, people can only deliver to their best in fields that that they are best suited.

Trait Theory of Leadership

Trait theory of leadership states that leaders should possess certain characteristics only acquired from birth or though experience. According to scholars championing for the theory, leaders should have qualities that make them stand out from the rest in the society. In effect, the theory alludes that leaders have characteristics that make successful in guiding others. Without these traits according to the theory, one cannot succeed as a leader. As a result, it is clear from the theory that leadership is a preserve of the few who possess the required set of features. Since its presentation in 1940s, the theory has received criticism and support in equal measure. Some of the major drawbacks associated with the theory include the sample used in the study and the limited of viability in the results.

Some of the features that the scholars supporting the theory present to qualify leadership include creativity, vision, responsibility, and intelligence. According to Miner (2015), intelligence and creativity are among the major points of view held by trait theory. The implication of the perspective held by the scholars championing for the theory is the seclusion of those individuals who do not have the qualities. As such, the claim by the theory that leaders acquire the traits from birth becomes practical. The practical nature of the claim presented by the theory transpires because these traits are innate and only passed down to an individual by parents or caregivers.

The theory justifies the fact that with good upbringing that inculcates values that qualify one to be a leader, the chances of a person being a leader during adulthood is high as opposed to those who are deficient of the traits. It is imperative to note that the theory lays a lot of emphasis on the traits that one acquires from parents, caregivers or through training.

Similarities of Contingency and Trait Theories of Leadership

In the quest to compare contingency and trait theories, the review examines the factors that demonstrate similarities between the two theories. Apparently, one of the major factors that are evident in the two theories is the issue of innate abilities and features. The two theories state that for individuals to serve as leaders, they should possess distinct characteristics. A study on the two theories reveals the fact that both substantiate the relevance of innate abilities acquired through either parenting or training. Dugan (2016) asserts that in contingency theory innate features of an individual play a pivotal role in determining whether the person eventually becomes a leader.

The assertion compounds the similarity that exists between contingency and trait theories. In the words of Miner (2015), trait theory uses innate ability and features of a person to demonstrate the fact that leadership emanates from an individual’s personality. Therefore, it is in order to claim that the similarity that exists between contingency and trait theories of leadership centre on issues of innate characteristics that one possesses.

On the other hand, the two theories also have factors that make them different. Support and the role played by innate characteristics are some of the major differences evident from the theories. While contingency theory combines the role of innate characteristics with support from the colleagues of an individual to explain leadership, trait theory explains that once individuals have the features they automatically lead. Moreover, contingency theory explains that regardless of having the requisite values and features that qualify one to be a leader, absence of support and productive environment hampers the ability of a person to lead (Miner 2015).

As such without support and an environment that help leadership to flourish, people cannot exemplify their leadership skills even if they possess the necessary qualities. The use of support, productive environment together with innate features of an individual makes contingency and trait theory different from each other. It is important to explain that trait theory excludes the environment and support. Instead, it only considers the traits that help a person to lead.

Apple’s Leadership Selection and Training Program and Its Effectiveness

Apple Inc, a leading manufacturer of smartphones, is a company that has continued to enjoy stability and increasing revenues even in the face of cutthroat competition. The secret behind the company’s success lies in its leadership, selection, and training strategies. It is important to highlight that the major changes that took place recently in the company comprise the shift in leadership from its founder Steven Jobs to the current CEO who is Tim Cook.

The change was momentous because it involved the top most level of leadership. Notably, while other competing brands focus on their gadgets, Apple Inc has continually emphasised on training employees and creating a spirit of leadership, motivation, and creativity among them. Some of the strategies that have made the leadership selection and training programs of Apple Company effective include aligning leadership with vision and mission of the company, and making sacrifices. The company also coaches and involves employees in company initiatives and engages them in continued learning.

To ensure that its leadership selection and training programs are effective Apple Company educates its leaders on the objectives that propel it towards success. By updating leaders who are also the company employees on its objectives, Apple places itself in a good position of maintaining stability in the market. When leaders understand the objectives of the company, they lead others in the organisation towards these goals. The company also challenges its leaders to make sacrifices that promote its performance.

During an interview with Forbes, Steven Jobs the present CEO of Apple Inc confessed that he has made several sacrifices for the betterment of the company (Lashinsky 2015). The implication of the confession is the fact that leaders in the company make sacrifices that, in turn, propel it to its goals. Besides making sacrifices, Apple also trains its leaders to be coaches who involve their juniors in the initiatives that they undertake.

Overtime, the company has realised that to succeed it has to involve its employees in operations that concern the company. By involving their employees, Apple creates a feeling of appreciation in the hearts of the human resources who eventually strive to deliver the best out of themselves. Another aspect that has amplified the effectiveness of leadership training programs in the company is the continued learning that it undertakes.

The company has continued to train its leaders on aspects that concern its products. Apparently, several companies that fail to succeed stick to regular training, which limit their rate of creativity and dynamism, a factor that is not practical in the modern trendy and ever-changing society. Utility of the aforementioned factors has enabled Apple Company to maintain its performance and revenues. These factors have also helped the company to have a stable workforce, which is subject to minimal adjustments as well as being in a better position of introducing products that match client expectations.

Implications of Present and Future Change in the Field of Management and Leadership

As companies gradually understand the differences that exist between management and leadership, scholars project a shift from management to leadership. Barling (2014) outlines the fact that smart organisations have observed that leaders inspire, motivate, and encourage their juniors and colleagues to think outside the common notions and introduce new ideas. Based on the inspiration, employees working in the respective organisations develop products that, in most cases, match client demands leading to an eventuality of increased revenues and consumer base. As such, it is likely that organisations will in future focus much on training their managers to be leaders. The leadership change in Apple Inc is a classic example of a shift from management to leadership.

According to Tim Cook the current Apple CEO, while his predecessor led by manipulating and convincing employees to deliver in accordance to certain rules, he is involving and interactive (Lashinsky 2015). The statement by Mr Cook indicates the shift that many organisations may undertake in the face of tight competition. With leaders, organisations can enjoy service from motivated and inspired employees. It is fundamental to clarify that motivated and inspired employees are the best asset desired by organisations. Therefore, since leaders have the power to introduce such features and instil them on employees of a particular company, the shift towards leadership is likely to dominate future operations of organisations.

Training Managers to Be Leaders

Over the recent past, the need to convert management skills and align them towards leadership has increased. As such, it is essential to examine whether managers can acquire leadership skills. Notably, managers can learn and acquire leadership skills if organisations undertake well-formulated training. The ability of mangers to adopt and apply leadership skills hinges on the qualities that they possess. Therefore, to instil leadership skills on managers, organisations need to encourage the spirit of motivation and creativity among them. When organisations introduce motivation and creativity among managers, they successfully achieve the focus on converting them into leaders.

In Goetsch and Davis (2014) point of view, organisations cannot succeed if its managers are not in possession of leadership skills. In the same vein, the society will overtime phase out managers who are unwilling to transform into leaders. The present organisations are no longer adaptive to medieval styles of management, which exclude employees from the company and treat them as tools used in achieving certain set of deliverables. Therefore, it is in order to declare that managers can indeed learn and acquire leadership skills.


The changing societies characterised by increasing competition has initiated that need to relook at the differences between management and leadership. The relevance of relooking at the differences emanate from the benefits that take place in the aftermath of utilising leadership in an organisation. Overtime, organisations have realised that leaders are more efficient in maintaining the stability and success, unlike managers.

The drive and enthusiasm that leaders make them better placed as opposed to their management counterparts. To understand the differences that exist between leadership and management comprehensively, the review examined Apple Inc. The examination covered aspects of leadership training and the impact of these programs on the stability and revenues of the company. From the study and the assessment of the differences between managers and leaders, it is in order to state that leadership overrides management.

Reference List

Barling, J 2014, The science of leadership: Lessons from research for organizational leaders, Oxford University Press, New York.

Dugan, J 2016, Leadership theory, John Wiley & Sons, London.

Goetsch, D & Davis, S 2014, Quality management for organizational excellence, Pearson, Upper Saddle River.

Gopee, N & Galloway, J 2017, Leadership and management in healthcare, SAGE, New York.

Lashinsky, A 2015, Apple’s Tim Cook leads differentWeb.

Miner, J 2015, Organizational behavior 1: Essential theories of motivation and leadership, Routledge, New York.

Schroeder, C 2012, Leadership and management – A closer look on differences and managerial roles, GRIN Verlag, München.

Stevenson, J 2014, ‘Management and leadership’, Foundations of Early Childhood: Principles and Practice, vol.1, no. 1, pp. 283-290.

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