Last Updated 12 May 2020

Management and Leadership: Defining the Relationship

Category Recruitment
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Management is the process of planning, organizing, and controlling resources towards achieving company goals (Kotter, 2001, p. 86). Leadership can be defined as the process where an individual exhibits the ability to lead his followers towards achieving organizational objectives (Northouse, 2016).

There is natural leadership where an individual is born with leadership traits and there is leadership that is gained through training. Many people tend to think that management and leadership are the same, the fact is that the two are different although they are related (Algahtani, 2014).

Difference between Management and Leadership

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Management and leadership may sound the same but the two have different meanings. In management, the manager plans for the organization whereas in leadership, the leader focuses on setting a strategic direction for goal accomplishment (Kotter, 2001, p. 86). Planning is about identifying activities to be implemented in order to achieve organizational objectives.

In order to start the planning process, organizational objectives must be known by the manager who is responsible for planning. In setting an organizational direction, the leader focuses on the vision, mission, and values of an organization (Zuckerman, 2012).

In addition, organizing and employees recruitment are common practice in management whereas the practice in leadership is strongly supporting employees towards the realization of organizational vision. In the recruitment process, managers hire the best candidate to effectively execute plans. The organization function in management is for the managers to ensure that all company available resources are optimally utilized and directed towards the accomplishment of organizational objectives  ( Wajdi, 2017, pg. 75).

On the other hand the strong employee support provided by leaders is meant to empower employees to focus on the vision, mission and values of the organization as means of efficiently accomplishing organizational objectives.

In management, managers control all activities of the organization whereas in leadership, the leaders motivate employees so that they identify themselves with the organization (Kotter, 2001, p. 86). This means that the management process focuses on managing work and end results while leadership focuses on human resource development.

Roles of Individuals in the Scenarios

After reading the scenarios of Roger and Linda, my personal analysis show that Roger’s roles are to; ensure high quality products, design and maintain work schedules, solve organization problems, assign tasks to his subordinates and, offer guidance when needed. In reality Roger’s roles reflect planning, organizing and coordinating organizational activities which are managerial roles (Radu Raducan, & Ramona Raducan, 2014).

In addition, Roger’s role of offering guidance to his subordinates to complete assignments is a managerial human skill (Algahtani, 2014, p. 74). In my opinion therefore, since all Roger’s roles exhibit traits of a manager and with backing from Radu Raducan, Ramona Raducan and Algahtani, Roger is a manager.

On the other hand, Linda’s roles are to; monitor industry trends, watch competitors’ business behavior, set a vision for organization, cope with changes, and handle staff training. All Linda’s roles reflect leadership. According to Liphadzi, Aigbavboa, & Thwala (2017), leaders have a role to set the vision or direction of the organization.

A leader initiates and determines an appropriate direction for the change (Radu Raducan, & Ramona Raducan, 2014, p. 810). Therefore basing on Linda’s roles and backing from different authors such as Liphadzi, Aigbavboc, Thwala, Radu Raducan, and Ramona Raducan, in my opinion Linda is a leader. Therefore, after identifying the roles of both individuals (Rogers and Linda) and gaining backing from different authors, I am of the view that Roger is a manager whereas Linda is a leader.

Distinction between Managers and Leaders

Since the distinction between management and leadership has already been discussed, then the distinction between managers and leaders will be derived from that discussion and from the roles of the two individuals (Rogers and Linda) as identified. The first distinction is that managers plan whereas leaders set a vision (Kotter, 2001, p. 86).

In addition, managers have a practice of controlling employees but leaders practice employee empowerment (Lunenburg, 2011). Lunenburg (2011) further indicates that managers manage change while leaders initiate change. According to Roger’s and Linda’s scenarios, it can be interpreted that Managers are reactive whereas leaders are proactive.

Similarities between Management and Leadership

Although it has been discussed that management and leadership are different, the two have some similarities. In both management and leadership, there is influencing subordinates and followers (Algahtani, 2014, p. 71). Managers influence their subordinates to do as instructed and leaders also influence their followers to willingly and comfortably work towards realization of the organization’s vision.

In addition, neither the manager nor the leader works in isolation, meaning that both work with subordinates and followers (Algahtani, 2014, p. 71). Human resource is a prerequisite in business and no manager or leader can accomplish organizational goals or objectives without them.


Looking at the differences between management and leadership and the roles involved in there, it is evident that both management and leadership and needed, for the smooth running of the organizations. Planning, which is a managerial role, is very important and at the same time setting a strategic direction, which is a leadership role, is equally important for the accomplishment of organizational objectives or realization of the organizational vision.

Organizing company resources, by managers, ensures optimal utilization of those resources meaning that no resource will be put to waste at any particular time. On the other hand empowering followers, as leaders do, is desirable in business because it promotes creativity and identifying with the organization.

Additionally, the managers practice of controlling employees may ensure optimal production especially for employees who lack self-drive. On the leaders side, employee motivation may create a conducive working environment leading to higher efficiency. However, the similarities of management and leadership (working with people and influencing them) also seem to be extremely important since they are the meeting points.

In conclusion, both management and leadership are essential in running business ventures and they highly complement each other (Lopez, 2014, p. 222). In addition, it is essential to have both (management and leadership) for the organization’s optimal performance (Lunenburg, 2011).

The importance of having both management and leadership could have been the reason why the software firm decided to hire Roger and Linda at the same time. In my opinion however, at present, leadership could be more needed due to the business environment volatility. There is intensive competition in business and companies are very innovative meaning that any organization that cannot cope with changes will be automatically out competed and wiped out.

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