What is the Difference Between Leadership and Management?
The discussion between the differences of leadership and management has fuelled an ongoing heated debate. In acknowledging the vast differences between leadership and management, the aim of this essay is thus to illustrate these differences whilst displaying that they overlap. I will also explore the effects of their functions on organizations and explain that a combination of elements from both leadership and management is the most productive way in dealing with subordinates. According to Bennis, “There is a profound difference between management and leadership, and both are important. To manage means to bring about, to accomplish, to have charge of or responsibility for, to conduct. Leadership is influencing, guiding in a direction, course, action, opinion. The distinction is crucial.” (Bennis, 2010) It is from this, leadership and management can easily be seen as both vital and complementary. Unique in nature, leadership and management continue to remain two indispensible techniques of actions in any environment. In order to be able to differentiate between leadership and management, definitions with in endemic framework will need to be settled upon.
Leadership is a fluid concept, multiple in its dimensions, and as such, is a subject that is difficult to define. In order to achieve clarity however, for the purposes of this essay, leadership will be defined as “...a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal.” (Northhouse, 2010, pp. 3). It is, as Northouse states, “...a highly sought-after and highly valued commodity” (Northhouse, 2010, pp. 1), and has consequently come under fierce academic scrutiny from those who seek to identify the quintessential essence of the subject. The profound influence of leadership can be evidenced from the numerous social, military, sporting and business achievements, which have resulted throughout history as an outcome of a given person’s ability and willingness to lead a group in a manner conforming to the definition previously provided. “Leadership is more than a set of skills; it relies on a number of subtle personal qualities that are hard to see but are very powerful. These include things like enthusiasm, integrity, courage and humility. First of all, good leadership springs from a genuine concern for others.” (Dalglish & Evans, 2007)
Management has only recently made its way into our society though the industrialization of the 20th century. “Management was created as a way to reduce chaos in organizations, to make them run more effectively and efficiently.” (Northhouse, 2010, pp. 9). Managers within a business context perform particular functions, hold a formal title and fulfill designated roles. Managers can be held accountable for not only their staffs’ productivity and overall performance but also the company as a whole. As management only emerged around the turn of the 20th century and leadership can be traced as far back to Aristotle, management has a much more modern approach to solving problems. Still exemplified in the field of management today, theorist Henri Fayol first identified the primary functions of management being; planning, organizing, staffing and controlling. According to Fayol management does not focus on relationships with subordinates rather an objective orientated approach (Northhouse, 2010, pp. 9). Management is about having the authority over your subordinates whilst leadership is influence over your subordinates to achieve a common goal. A fundamental difference is that subordinates will follow a manager even if they do not necessarily want to because of the authority binding them to do so, while they will follow a leader because on the influence they have on them.
Kotter argues that the main functions of leadership as management are relatively dissimilar which is illustrated in figure 1. Leadership’s key function is to produce change...
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