Differences in Management and Leadership

Essay by jstaiUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, June 2006

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Management is "the process of leading and directing all or part of an organization, often a business, through the deployment and manipulation of resources" ("Management", www.wikipedia.org, 2006). Leadership is "the process of influencing the activities of an organized group toward goal achievement" ("Leadership", www.wikipedia.org, 2006). These two definitions lead the reader to believe that management and leadership are synonymous. Management and leadership, however, are quite different. They work best together but often are found separately.

Managers have a responsibility to both the organization they work for and the people that work for them. Therefore, managers must not only be leaders but they must possess a sense of authority to be successful. The best managers respond to situations according to company policy. They have a set of rules that must be followed and breaking the rules is most often accompanied with severe consequences. This can make it difficult for managers to obtain loyalty from their subordinates as employees may feel as though their manager is not standing up for them, when really the manager is just abiding by company policy.

Leadership is a facet of management. A successful manager will possess strong leadership abilities, while staying within the guidelines written by the company. This can sometimes be a difficult task as people tend to follow ideas that ignite passion as opposed to rational ideas. A well thought, formal, and rational proposal is much more likely to be accepted by upper-level management than an overzealous request; even if the subordinate support behind the proposal is less than that of the request.

Managers are usually derived from individuals with experience and proficiency in their field. Most managers have worked their way into their position by displaying knowledge and expertise in their line of work. Leaders, however, can emerge from new arrivals...