Management and Leadership Differences

Subject: Management
Pages: 8
Words: 2090
Reading time:
7 min
Study level: College

Introduction to management and leadership

Management and leadership are two words with relatively different meanings; however, the two words are often used interchangeably. These two elements are equally very important when it comes to the running of organizations and hence need to be applied effectively without confusing one for the other. Managers in any organization should possess both management and leadership skills if they are to develop an effective team and achieve the goals of the organization.

Leaders need not necessarily have managerial skills. Some of the most successful business organizations, such as Wal-Mart, have learned the importance of integrating these two components in their management processes. Leadership, however, does not apply to the managerial level only but to the subordinate staff as well. Every person in the organization needs to possess leadership skills to ensure responsibility and accountability.

Management is defined as the process of directing people in an organization towards the achievement of the stated objectives and within the organization’s resource capacity. This involves planning the required tasks, organizing them, allocating the duties to different members of staff, and analyzing to ensure that they are all working towards the correct direction. Managers are also responsible for resourcing the organization, and this involves the process of deploying and manipulating the available resources at different levels.

Leadership, on the other hand, is more of a social aspect as it involves influencing people in a way that will challenge them to work towards a specific direction. The main responsibility of a leader in any given capacity is to ensure that the resources at the disposal are utilized in a way that will result in output maximization. This involves more of organizing the resources already available.

From these definitions, it is possible to derive some differences between management and leadership. First, management is more concerned with administration issues such as developing the organization’s plan, budgeting, and monitoring the progress. Leadership, on the contrary, is concerned with the organizational changes by encouraging the people in the organization to change towards the relevant direction. Maccoby (2000, p. 57) summarizes this difference by stating, “Management is a function that must be exercised in any organization while leadership is a relationship between the leaders and the led that is meant to energize the organization.”

Second, management involves different departments in the organization since management roles differ from one department to another. For example, financial managers are responsible for the financial resources while human resource managers manage the organization’s workforce and so on. Leadership skills, on the other hand, are applicable to all departments alike. For example, when the leader requires the people in the organization to develop a flexible mindset and be in a position to embrace new technology, all can actually acquire such skills.

The third difference between leadership and management, as stated by Bateman (2007, p. 45), is “managers think incrementally while leaders think radically.” This implies that managers perform their tasks according to the organizational procedures and policies, while leaders rely on intuition in taking actions. Leadership is most important in the development of teams and creating an environment of trust in the organization.

This creates an environment for the management to implement their plans and procedures. The fourth and final difference is that management principles are based on obedience, while leadership is more about setting standards to be followed. This explains why most organizations today have team leaders and managers at the same time. Team leaders are just employees whose performance was exemplary and were therefore promoted to a higher level while managers are the main decision-makers in the organization.

Despite these differences, management and leadership are integrated elements such that the success of the organization is dependent on both. In cases where there is leadership but no management, the staff will have the picture of the vision that they are to work towards but lack the guidelines on how to get there. On the contrary, the existence of management with no leadership means that the organization is being steered towards the attainment of the set goals, but there is no motivation and organization among the staff members.

The available resources will be allocated effectively, but the desired results will be hard to attain owing to the lack of organization and motivation among members of staff. The presence of both leadership and management in an organization ensures that the desired goals and objectives are determined, and the relevant resources and skills are available to achieve these goals and objectives (Bateman, 2007). Both leaders and managers have a similar goal, which is developing a healthy organization defined by factors such as employee turnover rate, levels of profits, and the working conditions of the employees.

Roles and responsibilities of organizational managers and leaders

From the discussion above, it is notable that it is not possible to separate managerial roles from leadership ones. In fact, managers are bound to be leaders despite the fact that leaders do not have to be managers. One of the roles that directly involve both managers and leaders is that of allocating resources. For a successful and healthy organization that is operating on profits, resources need to be utilized in ways that ensure high returns while increasing the value accrued by the customers. Leaders and managers in the organization have to collaborate to develop cost plans that will minimize the cost of production and maximize the returns. This involves the integration of all factors of production in the most effective quantities so that there is no over/underutilization of these resources.

The second role involving both managers and leaders in an organization is developing the culture of the organization. Culture, in this case, refers to the guidelines and ethics governing the behavior of employees within the organization towards the management, each other, and the customers as well. Organizational cultures vary from one organization to another, and they directly determine the success of the organization.

The reputation of an organization is dependent on the culture, therefore, and the level of adherence to the same. Some of the factors considered when developing culture in an organization are the ethics that will govern activities within the organization, rules governing deployment and dismissal of employees, and other such factors that determine the level of performance. Considering the fact that organizational culture affects the policies as well as employee satisfaction, managers and leaders need to work hand in hand to come up with or amend the existing cultures, which is where different people take up the managerial and leadership roles (Maccoby, 2000).

The third is the creation of an encouraging working environment in the organization. This is a requirement for a good performance as well as low labor turnover rate. Employees are the main players in any organization, and they are a major determinant of the success of the organization. The creation of an encouraging environment involves providing employees with a working incentive such as daytime meals, medical cover, and performance incentives for exemplary performance.

They should also be provided with training sessions to enable them to embrace any changes being introduced in the organization. This will ensure that the employees cooperate well with the management and will reduce the rate at which employees leave the organization. The organization will, therefore, be able to maintain its workforce, which is an asset hence improve their performance by the day, as opposed to having to hire a new team each now and then.

The final role played by both managers and leaders in an organization is the encouragement of the effectiveness and efficiency in the use of resources. This will only be possible if the managers and leaders work hand in hand in cases where different people handle these responsibilities. Resources, in this case, refers to all the factors of production, namely, natural resources, financial resources, and human resources. For the organization to operate in a healthy environment, these resources have to be utilized in a way that will maximize the organization’s profit and performance while ensuring sustainable use of the same.

Effects of globalization on management and leadership across the border

With the increasing levels of globalization, management, and leadership roles are being revolutionized in a way that the management of organizations across borders can be carried out from one central location. One of the greatest advantages that organizations accrue from globalization is the widening of their scope of operation such that they can be in a position to operate in different parts of the universe without having to incur high managerial costs. This has been made possible by ICT developments such as the internet, teleconferencing, and video conferencing facilities. With these, it is now possible to hold a meeting with people in different regions without necessarily having to travel to these regions.

Second, on the effects of globalization on management is the ability to outsource employees from different regions depending on the region’s area of expertise. Exchange of labor ensures that people are able to exchange ideas hence strengthening their workforce base. From this, managers are also able to learn the laws and rules governing employees in other countries and can be in a position to apply what they consider beneficial to their organizations.

As a result, the organization is in a position to adopt international standards hence improved on its international operations. The other effect of globalization on management is the increase in the level of competition, which requires the management team to develop effective strategies to counteract this competition. Organizations are now competing with international companies, and this has increased in the responsibilities of the management who are now required to be on the lookout for any arising opportunity.

According to Maccoby (2000, p. 58), “different cultures and social standards in different countries have a great effect on the management and leadership of the organization.” What is acceptable and favorable in one country could not be considered pleasant in another country. Managers and leaders are therefore compelled to learn the ethics of any country they consider setting up operations in. This could mean that more time is spent on the learning and adapting to the ways of a country. The whole process is resource consuming in terms of both financial and time resources, especially where the training sessions have to be conducted by professionals.

From these kinds of training, the leaders and managers are able to acquire skills that will make them more competitive globally. These, according to Maccoby (2000, p. 58), include “business knowledge, awareness, and sensitivity to cultural differences and standards, courage, commitment, integrity, and language.” Management is, therefore, affected by globalization in terms of increased market opportunities, increased competition, and the integration of the international workforce into the organization. Leadership, on the other hand, has been affected in terms of being compelled to adopt foreign cultures, standards, and customs.

Strategies used by organizational managers and leaders to create and maintain a healthy organizational culture

Strategies are well-developed plans of action used in organizations to improve and maintain a competitive advantage against competitors. One of the most important strategies that should be adopted by the managers and leaders at Wal-Mart is “to evaluate the organizational capabilities and intellectual capital and synthesize and integrate models to establish a framework for the application of duties to the employees so as to create a good healthy working condition” (Bateman, 2007).

The main aim of this strategy is to motivate the organization’s staff in their respective capacities, hence improving their performance. This will also increase the level of resilience in the organization since employees will be in a position to go out of their way for the sake of organizational development. As a result, the organization will be able to overcome many challenges in the market, owing to a cooperative workforce.

The second strategy is the integration of social, physical, technological, and behavioral factors in the organization. This will provide the people in the organization with an encouraging environment while at the same time, promote proper use of the available resources. Employee comfort is one of the most important factors to the success of an organization, such as Wal-Mart, whose operations involve direct contact with the customers. The behavioral factors specifically should be encouraged to ensure that the employees develop a professional form of conduct hence be able to attract more customers and retain the existing ones.

Reference list

Bateman, T. S. & Snell, S. (2007). Management: Leading & Collaborating In a Competitive World. Boston, Mass: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.

Maccoby, M. (2000). Understanding the Difference between Management and Leadership. Research Technology Management, (43), 1, pp. 57 – 59.