Live as if you were to die tomorrow; learn as if you were to live forever – Mahatma Gandhi

The Difference Between Leadership and Management

The Difference Between Leadership and Management


Management and leadership are terms that are frequently used interchangeably, however, they are not the same thing – they have quite distinct meanings. The two do have similarities but they also have important differences. The difference between leaders and managers lies in the conceptions held by them. Managers seek stability and control and try to resolve the problems faced by the organization quickly, sometimes even before the significance of the problem is fully understood by them. On the other hand leaders can tolerate lack of structure and chaos. In order to understand issues more comprehensively, leaders are willing to delay the closure. This way there is a lot of things which the business leaders in common with scientists, artists and other creative thinkers as compared to managers (Kotter, 2001). To become successful both leaders and managers are required by the organizations but for developing both, organizations need to reduce their focus on strategic exercises and logic and create and environment which allows imagination and creativity to flourish (Neely and Adams, 2000).

Characteristics of Leaders:

Leadership is a process through which individual can influence a group of individual with a view to achieve a common objective. Going by the various definition of leadership we can say that it is a process which involves influence and takes place in a group context. It also involves the achievement of goals. There are certain characteristics which are found in leaders. These include confidence, creativity, empathetic listening skill, awareness of realistic condition, maintaining a balance between the needs of the individual and team needs. Leaders are visionaries with strong self-esteem, trust, service mentality, sincerity, sense of priorities and a willingness to share responsibility. Leaders also have technical or contextual expertise and they are ready to share credit or recognition (Zaleznik, 1997).

An effective leader needs four basic characteristics which are:

Honesty:  An effective leader should be truthful and trust worthy and should also have integrity and character. Honesty of the leader can be measured from the degree of the consistency which is present between what he says and what he does in reality. Employees are not likely to trust people who do not demonstrate their ethics, values and standards of behavior. Trust is essential in leadership and to be trusted, a leader needs to demonstrate trust first of all.

Competence: An effective leader should be productive, capable, efficient and through. Competence does not necessarily relate with the technical abilities of the leader but is more related with a feeling or belief held by the followers in the abilities of their leader.

Forward Looking: A leader needs to be visionary, foresighted and concerned about future. He should also have a sense of direction. Employees tend to follow leaders whom they believe that they know what they are doing.

Inspiring: A leaders should also be enthusiastic, uplifting, cheerful, energetic and positive about the future. Only having a dream or vision of future is not enough. The leader should also inspire his followers. The vision of the leader has to be communicated the followers and they should be inspired to work for the achievement of the goal. The leader should have the ability to excite the employees and get them moving towards the achievement of the goals.

On the other hand effective manager have creativity, intuition, commitment, knowledge, versatility, discipline and focus. Managers have a vision for the future regarding the position, market share and competitive edge of the organization. Managers are not resistant to change and look at the changes in the organization as the healthy process. Managers are also specialized in recruitment, training and retaining the employees of the organization.

Characteristics of Managers:

Creating Productive Environment:

Good managers should be capable a creating a productive environment and to achieve this purpose different approaches need to be adopted depending on the context. Managers need to encourage the employees to share ideas, work together and remain highly motivated.

Team Player:

A manager needs to the committed towards the working with a team to achieve the objective of the organization. Manager is not only concerned with his individual goals but is interested in the growth of business as this growth would result in benefit to the manager as well as the people working with him for the achievement of these goals (Yukl, 2010).

Ability to Delegate Effectively:

A good manager should have the ability to select the most suitable employees to give responsibility. Such delegation needs to be conducted in a way which ensures understanding. Managers also need to follow up through regular progress reports to ensure that the intended results are being achieved. Efficient managers can use delegation as a way to save their time and also use it as an important tool for upgrading the skills of the employees.

Adherence to Policies of Fairness:

Efficient managers always adhere to the policy of fairness while reviewing and assessing the performance of the employees. These policies are also followed by the managers while administering discipline and all other matters. An effective manager is completely impartial and scrupulously fair and bases his judgment on objective observation (Kotterman, 2006).

Managers and Leaders: Are they different?

There is a continuing controversy about the difference between leadership and management. Not all managers exercise leadership. Often it is assumed that anyone in a management position is a leader. Not all leaders manage. Leadership is performed by people who are not in management positions. Some scholars argue that although management and leadership overlap, the two activities are not synonymous (Bass, 2010). The degree of overlap is a point of disagreement (Yukl, 2010). Leadership and management entail a unique set of activities or functions.

Managers are the people to whom this management task is assigned, and it is generally thought that they achieve the desired goals through the key functions of planning and budgeting, organizing and staffing, problem solving and controlling. Leaders on the other hand set a direction, align people, motivate and inspire (Kotter, 2001).

Other researchers consider that a leader has soul, the passion and the creativity while a manager has the mind, the rational and the persistence. A leader is flexible, innovative, inspiring, courageous and independent and at the same time a manager is consulting, analytical, deliberate, and authoritative and stabilizing (Capowski, 1994).

Management and Leadership Behaviour According to Kotter

Managers Leaders
·         Seeks order and consistency ·         Seeks change and movement
·         During planning and budgeting – establishes agendas, sets timetables and allocates resources. ·         Establishes a direction- Looks at the big picture, clarifies the situation, creates a vision and determines strategies.
·         With relation to staffing – provides structure, job placements and defines rules and processes. ·         With relation to people – aligns people, communicates goals, builds teams, looks for commitment
·         Focuses on control and the solving of issues by taking actions to correct issues, creating solutions and defining incentives to reward good ·         Focuses on motivating and inspiring people through empowerment, looking at how to satisfy unmet needs, and energising people.


As a catering manager in a busy higher secondary school of 1400 pupils the challenges are endless, I manage a small team of 9 staff who are on different job levels. My main role is hiring, training, supervising and motivating permanent and casual staff, it is easy said than done, because not all staff agree with your decisions there is always disputes and disagreements amongst the staff. Having studied this module it has boost my confidence making the correct decision. With 22 years’ experience in the industry I have developed my style of working with staff.

Self-Motivation: An effective manager can’t motivate others if I can’t self-motivate. Self-motivation, the ability to get yourself going, and take charge of what’s next for you, is a vital personal characteristic for a manager. You have to keep yourself going — and motivate those who work with you.

Integrity: People trust a good manager because they know he or she has personal integrity. Workers need to know that you will fight for them, do what you say, and follow the rules.

Dependability/Reliability: As a person, you should be dependable and reliable. Your superiors, as well as your subordinates, need to know that you can be counted on. Others in the organization should be able to rely on you.

Optimism: An optimistic attitude can help build morale in your employees. Your positive attitude can inspire others, and help them feel good about getting things done.

Confidence: You need to be able to make decisions in confidence, and show others that you are capable of making good decisions. Your confidence will rub off on others, and can be of benefit.

Calmness: As the manager, I can’t afford to break down when the pressure is on. The ability to remain calm and do what needs to be done is essential in a good manager.

Flexibility: A certain amount of flexibility is needed by a manager, be it either to adapt to changing situations or be flexible staff.

Action Plan

Action Plan
Aspect of leadership to  be improved  

Why it needs to be improved

What needs to be improved (include a measurable factor) How the improvement will be made – key actions and opportunities Resources and support that will be required Identification of how you will know it the improvement has been made Date (s)  for review  

Summary of any progress made










There has been on many occasions that I have been more aggressive with decisions and this has had an impact on the daily operations I intend to be more assertive and listen to my staffs’ opinions  Act upon them which will make my job easier and the end results could be better. Have more staff meetings, one to one discussions Smooth daily operation in an organised manner 02/12/2015 Had a staff meeting to discuss Christmas function. Had very enthusiastic ideas and a positive attitude from staff.

Stress Management








To manage the organisation and to make better decisions. To manage stress, and work in calm way Take regular Breaks, Practice relaxation techniques, eat healthy and get enough sleep. Engage socially. Get help from team members and managers. Working very calmly and no negative consequences At the end of the day.
Aspect of leadership to  be improved  

Why it needs to be improved

What needs to be improved (measurable factor) How the improvement will be made – key actions and opportunities Resources and support that will be required Identification of how you will know it the improvement has been made  

Date for review


Summary of progress made










Trying to handle the task on my own adds extra pressure and causes stress Delegate the jobs to the team Delegating a task to other team members.

Discuss timelines and deadlines.

•Agree on a schedule of checkpoints at which you’ll review project progress.

•Make adjustments as necessary.

•Take time to review all submitted work

Identify the right people to delegate to, and delegate in the right way. Give them adequate support. Ensure the project’s success through ongoing communication and monitoring as well as provision of resources and credit.





In the end we can say that managers and leaders have overlapping functions. Sometimes managers need to become leaders and set a tactical vision for a performance initiative or a project. At the same time there are many leaders at the executive level who need to manage the employees and also undertake these functions like writing status reports and coordinating budgets. In this way, although different task are performed by managers and leaders, their functions cross each other sometimes. It is also true that organizations cannot afford managers who cannot lead and leaders who cannot manage. Leaders in organizations generally occupy top management positions. Despite the profound difference between leaders and managers, both are important for the organizations.



Bass, B. (2010). The Bass handbook of leadership: Theory, research, and managerial   applications.

Kotter, J. (1990). A force for change: How leadership dif­fers from management.

Kotter, J. P., (2001), “What leaders really do?” Harvard Business Review, Vol. 79 Issue 11, p.85-96

Capowski, G., (1994), “Anatomy of a leader: where are the leader of tomorrow?” Management Review, Vol. 83 Issue 3, p.10-18

Kotterman, J., (2006), “Leadership vs Management: What’s the difference?” Journal for Quality & Participation, Vol. 29 Issue 2, p.13-17

Neely A., Adams C., (2000), “The Performance Prism to boost M&A Success”, Measuring Business Excellence, Vol. 4 No 3, p. 19-23

Yukl, G. (2010). Leadership in organizations (7th Ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

An interesting theory I came across about the difference between manager and a Leader

The manager administers; the leader innovates.

– The manager is a copy; the leader is an original.

– The manager maintains; the leader develops.

– The manager focuses on systems and structure; the leader focuses on people.

– The manager relies on control; the leader inspires trust.

– The manager has a short-range view; the leader has a long-range perspective.

– The manager asks how and when; the leader asks what and why.

– The manager has his or her eye always on the bottom line; the leader’s eye is on the horizon.

– The manager imitates; the leader originates.

– The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it.

– The manager is the classic good soldier; the leader is his or her own person.

_ The manager does things right; the leader does the right thing.

Organisational Culture and Leadership

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