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Leading and Managing: What’s the Difference Research Paper

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Updated: Jun 14th, 2021

The success of any organization depends on the contributions of its leaders and managers. Competent individuals who possess good qualities find it easier to guide, empower, and mentor their followers. Although the concepts of leadership and management are inseparable in nature, they have unique differences that supervisors should learn to take into consideration. The five significant aspects that analysts use to describe these two terms include meaning, basis, focus or goals, emphasis, and philosophy. When it comes to meaning, leadership is a skill or strategy for guiding, directing, or leading others through the continuous application of examples. This means that people in such positions have followers who are inspired and empowered to deliver specific outcomes. According to Milić, Grubić-Nešić, Kuzmanovic, and Delić (2017), management is “a science and art of organizing, influencing, and coordinating a wide range of activities and things efficiently” (p. 13). Its ultimate aim is to ensure that the major functional areas of a specific institution are capable of delivering the intended results.

The second aspect that many people take seriously is that of basis. Arruda (2016) indicates that leadership is a practice that is founded on human trust. This means that followers should have confidence in their leader if they are to emerge successfully. The individual in charge needs to have adequate skills in order to earn the trust of the people he or she leads. On the other hand, the basis or foundation of management is the ability to assert control and make sure that all the units or departments in a given organization are operating harmoniously. Such professionals should be ready to identify what works and implement the suitable systems depending on the outlined objectives.

When it comes to the third aspect of focus, the objective of every leader is to create the vision and guide his or her teammates to consider it. The application of various competencies is critical if the targeted individuals are to turn the idea into something productive (Arruda, 2016). Leadership is founded on the ability to remain exceptional while at the same time applying the proper techniques that can deliver a new change. Professional leaders will create teams and present adequate resources and opportunities in order to make the defined vision a reality. Management is a strategy aimed at setting, achieving, and measuring clear goals that will drive a given organization (Chesser & Cullen, 2018). It entails the power to control situations and maintain the status quo. This is a clear indication that the two can be adopted in a company to ensure that all followers and employees have a vision and pursue the indicated goals in their respective units.

Emphasis is the fourth basis that researchers and scholars use when trying to define leadership and management. Milić et al. (2017) argue that leaders should be able “to inspire people and mentor them depending on the experienced challenges, existing opportunities, and the presented vision” (p. 29). When these people achieve such a goal, the chances are high that all followers will be willing to transform the current situation, solve problems, and create additional avenues for maximizing performance. Leaders have to be involved and ready to tackle obstacles. A good supervisor will also be willing to become a role model and encourage every person to do what is acceptable. Once such followers have someone to emulate, they will find it easier to deliver desirable results within a short period.

Those undertaking managerial roles tend to focus mainly on the activities and initiatives being undertaken in a specific unit, department, or organization. They will embrace the power of policies and procedures in order to ensure that products or services are delivered in a timely manner. Such managers will control financial and human resources in order to sustain the operations of their respective organizations. A study by Chesser and Cullen (2018) indicated that around 18 percent of those in top positions possess adequate leadership skills. This means that 82 percent of managers are not able to lead or apply appropriate leadership strategies (Chesser & Cullen, 2018). This survey reveals that leadership is critical in every business organization that intends to make profits or achieve its objectives.

Finally, leadership and management are two fields that require unique philosophies to empower those in such positions in an attempt to pursue their aims diligently. Leaders usually apply different strategies, approaches, or tactics depending on their personal styles. However, the majority of them are self-aware and capable of influencing their teammates. This ability explains why leaders can experiment with different competencies depending on the nature of the existing problem. Hao and Yazdanifard (2015) go further to indicate that two leaders might offer different solutions to the same challenge since they tend to have diverse philosophies. Managers emulate the behaviors and competencies that have been applied in other parts of the world. They are usually rigid because operations and activities do not change in their respective organizations. Such professionals will use similar leadership styles in order to ensure that the targeted aims are recorded within the stipulated period.


Arruda, W. (2016). Forbes. Web.

Chesser, J. W., & Cullen, N. C. (2018). The world of culinary management: Leadership and development of human resources (6th ed.). New York, NY: Pearson.

Hao, M. J., & Yazdanifard, R. (2015). How effective leadership can facilitate change in organizations through improvement and innovation. Global Journal of Management and Business Research: A Administration and Management, 15(9), 1-6.

Milić, B., Grubić-Nešić, L., Kuzmanovic, B., & Delić, M. (2017). The influence of authentic leadership on the learning organization at the organizational level: The mediating role of employees’ affective commitment. Journal of East European Management Studies, 22(1), 9-38. Web.

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