Unformatted text preview: The Relationship Between Leadership and Management
Walden University The Relationship Between Leadership and Management
Is it important to differentiate between leadership and management? Many people think it
is, as evidenced by academic debates and internet searches. Virtually all organizations, including
large corporations, military branches, government agencies, and academia, as well as MBA
programs, organizational development consultants, industrial psychologists, leadership theorists,
and human resources professionals are concerned about the difference and believe it is important
Conceptualizing and defining leadership and management have always been difficult. The
two terms are often used interchangeably in the workplace, creating confusion (Bass, 1990;
Kotter, 1990). However, Kumle & Kelly (2000) assert that leadership and management are two
opposing styles of employee supervision actively used within today’s business.
In an effort to provide clarity between these opposing styles, many leadership theorists
have contended that leadership is a multidirectional influence relationship and management is a
unidirectional authority relationship. Whereas leadership is concerned with the process of
developing mutual purposes, management is directed toward coordinating activities in order to
get a job done (Rost, 1991).
Furthermore, Kotter (1990) asserted that management produces order and consistency,
whereas leadership produces change and movement. After synthesizing the results of research
conducted by their peers and predecessors, Kirkpatrick & Locke (1991) contended that “it is
unequivocally clear that leaders are not like other people.”
According to Bennis & Nanus (1985), managers accomplish activities and master routines,
whereas leaders influence others and create visions for change. In addition, leaders and followers
work together to create real change, whereas managers and subordinates join forces to sell goods
and services (Rost, 1991). Looking at the differences from a more narrow perspective, Zaleznik (1977) contended
that managers are reactive and prefer to work with people to solve problems but do so with low
emotional involvement, whereas leaders are emotionally active, involved, and seek to shape ideas
instead of responding to them.
To further clarify the difference between leadership and management, the following two
scenarios were thoroughly evaluated. In the first scenarios, Roger works for a business software
firm and is passionate about his work. He is committed to delivering high-quality software
solutions on schedule. He maintains a precise and accurate project schedule with meticulously
detailed documentation of product design specifications and processes. Roger’s subordinates
never have to guess about expectations. When the rigorous quality assurance process uncovers a
problem, Roger can proceed largely unfazed. He knows the capabilities of the developers on his
team so well that he knows exactly who to assign to fix the issue. He is quick to offer
encouragement and guidance when needed. Roger’s team is productive and happy.
Kotter (1990) emphasized that some of the distinguishable characteristics of leaders
included establishing direction, aligning people, and motivating and inspiring others. In this
scenario, Roger maintains a precise and accurate project schedule with meticulously detailed
documentation of product design specifications and processes (establishing direction), knows who
to assign to fix issues (aligning people), and offers encouragement and guidance (motivating and
inspiring others). Based on Roger’s actions in this scenario, he is definitely serving in the role of
leader. In addition, Roger is exhibiting a task behavior approach to leadership. Leaders who
exhibit task behavior help their followers achieve established goals (Northouse, 2016).
In the second scenario, Linda works at the same company as Roger. She closely monitors
industry trends. She is watching the rapid rise of mobile computing and sees competitors
introducing new mobile applications with rapid speed. The company has yet to attempt to design software for a mobile platform, but she knows that the company can be competitive in the
industry if it makes changes quickly. She is working hard to gain support from members of the
executive board and is planning a kickoff meeting for the employees to announce the company’s
entry into the new market. She wants to make certain the employees see the change as a great
opportunity and know that training will be available. She already has the company’s first mobile
project and an ideal timetable in mind. She is anxious to hit the ground running.
In addition to establishing direction, aligning people, and motivating and inspiring others,
Kotter (1990) also asserted that leaders communicate goals, seek commitment, and build teams
and coalitions. In this scenario, Linda creates a timetable for the mobile project (communicates
goals), gains support from the executive board (seeks commitment), and plans a kickoff meeting
for the employees (builds teams and coalitions). Based on Linda’s actions in this scenario, she is
definitely serving in the role of leader.
However, Linda’s involvement in the company’s planning, organizing, staffing, and
controlling also means that she is involved in management functions (Zaleznik, 1977). Ibrahim &
Cordes (1996) contended that there were clear differences between management and leadership;
nevertheless, the two constructs overlap. Furthermore Ibrahim and Cordes asserted that an
effective manager is someone who must first be a leader. According to Northouse (2016),
managers who influence a group to meet its goals are involved in leadership, and leaders who
participate in planning, organizing, staffing, and controlling are involved in management.
In this scenario, Linda is filling the role of both leader and manager. Linda is also
exhibiting a relationship behavior approach to leadership. Leaders who exhibit relationship
behavior help their followers achieve established goals (Northouse, 2016).
According to Kumle & Kelly (2000), leadership and management are two opposing styles
of employee supervision; nevertheless, Kotter (1990) contended that organizations need employees with both of these skills in order to be successful. Furthermore, Kotter concluded that
organizations without a healthy balance between leadership and management are subjected to
experiencing a lack of efficiency and effectiveness in its daily operations. To be effective,
organizations need to nourish both competent management and skilled leadership. References
Bass, B. M. (1990). Bass and Stogdill’s handbook of leadership: A survey of theory and
research. New York: Free Press.
Bennis, W. G., & Nanus, B. (1985). Leaders: The strategies for taking charge. New York: Harper
& Row. Ibrahim H., & Cordes, K. (1996) Leader or Manager? Journal of Physical Education,
Recreation & Dance, 67(1), 41-42.
Kirkpatrick, S.A. and Locke, E.A. (1991), “Leadership: do traits matter?”, Academy of
Management Executive, 5(2), 48-60.
Kotter, J. P. (1990). A force for change: How leadership differs from management. New
York: Free Press.
Kotterman, J., (2006), “Leadership vs. Management: What’s the difference?” Journal for Quality
& Participation, 29(2), 13-17.
Kumle, J., and Kelly, N. J. (2000). “Leadership vs. Management.” Supervision, 61(4), 8–10.
Northouse, P.G. (2016). Leadership: Theory and practice (7th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage
Rost, J. C. (1991). Leadership for the twenty-first century. New York: Praeger.
Zaleznik, A. (1977). Managers and leaders: Are they different? Harvard Business
Review, 55(3), 67–78. ...
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- Spring '18
- Management, Kotter