Are Management and Leadership in a Relationship

Are Management and Leadership in a Relationship

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Leadership and management are two concepts that are usually used interchangeably; however, the two are different. Leadership refers to when employees are guided to willingly work towards an organisation’s goals (Erasmus, et al., 2016, p. 243). Management, on the other hand, refers to when activities are fulfilled for a business to achieve its goals by enlisting human, financial and physical resources for that purpose (Erasmus, et al., 2016).

Not all managers “exercise leadership” (Lunenburg, 2011) and not all leaders are managers. This suggests that leadership is usually executed by those who are not managers. For example, an informal leader may be able to motivate his/her fellow employees to work hard towards achieving a company’s goals. Whereas a manager may be there to just allocate the human resources and leave them with instructions to follow on what exactly they need to do. This portrays the difference between leadership and management as leaders are concerned with employees having the willingness to work while managers are there to exercise authority.



Additionally, management and leadership differ in what they involve. On the one hand, leadership involves setting a vision for the business organisation and aligning the employees with that vision (Stanley, 2006) and spreading the message to everyone ensuring that they understand. For example, Haagen-Dazs’ vision is to create super-premium ice cream, so leaders would communicate this vision with the workers and motivate and encourage them to work in that direction. On the contrary, management involves planning, organising, controlling and problem-solving (Bush, 2007). So, within Haagen-Dazs the managers would have to plan for what is to be done, organise the necessary resources, lead workers in the right direction and control them, meaning they should ensure that the job is carried out by constantly checking up on the workers and correcting wherever they may go wrong. This goes to show that management and leadership are different and that leadership is one of the functions of management and they involve different aspects.


Moreover, leaders build relationships while managers create ways of processing and systems. Leaders ensure that they have relationships with their stakeholders such as employees and customers and so they tend to build trust with all those people to help them when executing their commitment (Bush, 2007). An example would be a leader of Standard Chartered Bank creating relationships with the customers. This would encourage them to keep banking with that bank since they trust the leader they then trust the bank as a whole. On the contrary, managers come up with the systems necessary while depending on their skills. They build the necessary systems to reach the goals they would have set for the organisation. For example, managers of Standard Chartered would come up with systems of who loads the ATMs with money and how that particular process should be done. This conveys how leadership is about creating relationships with the stakeholders involved while management is involved with building systems and processes necessary to reach the goals they set for the organisation.


You must think of one without the other to see the differences that exist between them. Management without leadership controls resources to maintain.

There are many different types of leadership and management styles where different situations, groups, or cultures, may require the use of different styles to set a direction or ensure that it is followed.


One way to decipher which of the two you may be is to count the number of people outside your reporting hierarchy who come to you for advice. The more that do, the more likely it is that you are perceived to be a leader.


John Kotter, Professor of Leadership at Harvard University fears that too often, employers use the terms synonymously. If an organisation is run effectively, leadership and management will exist in tandem.


Mentoring and formal training can help employees utilise and use their leadership skills. According to research by the Chartered Management Institute, 90% of members who have completed a management and leadership qualification found the experience improved their performance at work. There was also a “ripple effect”, with 81% of those surveyed passing on their knowledge to colleagues.


Celebrating individual leaders can also cause some to forget that it is never just one person running the show. Not everyone who is in charge of a team is both a leader and a manager, to have a successful organisation, there needs to be a mixture of both.

Many people are both, having managed people but realised that you cannot buy people to follow you down a difficult path, and so act as leaders too. The challenge lies in making sure you are both leading your team as well as managing your day-to-day operation. Those who can do both will create a competitive advantage.


Mind-set can also have a powerful effect on the success of a leader. Understanding Emotional Contagion can be a tool for success.

Leadership and management are different in that leadership is part of the functions of management. These two aspects of management have their varying differences and so should not be mistaken as being the same concept. Managers are not always able to lead effectively due to a lack of leadership skills, hence not all managers are leaders and vice versa. Leaders persuade and motivate employees while managers maintain the functioning of the business organisation.


A successful business owner needs to be both a strong leader and manager to get their team on board to follow them towards their vision of success. Leadership is about getting people to understand and believe in your vision and to work with you to achieve your goals, while management is more about administering and making sure the day-to-day things are happening, as they should.

Management researchers concede that leadership is an integral part of a manager’s job, but how much depends on the circumstances. Although some companies use job titles like “team leader”, a leader fulfils a role rather than a position. Anyone in an organisation could be a leader, given the right situation.


Sifiso Dingani is a Talent Management Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd a management and human resources consulting firm. Phone +263 4 481946-48/ 481950/ 2900276/ 2900966 or cell number +26377 551 7211 or email or visit our website at 

Sifiso Dingani
This article was written by Sifiso a Guest at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd

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