Management and Leadership Essay

“Managers do things right, while leaders do the right thing”
Richard Pascale (Managing on the Edge).

In its most general meaning, management would probably be defined as “the process of planning, leading, organizing, coordinating and controlling people within a group in order to achieve goals”. This definition is based on the ideas Henri Fayol, the French management theorist, who defined five main functions of a manager. No one would certainly claim that these five functions fully disclose the meaning of the term “management” and all the activities needed to be performed to succeed. But this definition enables us to realize in what terms the leadership differs from management and why is it important not to confuse these concepts. From the definition stated above, one may see that leadership is one of the facets of management, one of the functions important for it to be efficient and successful. On a daily basis, managers have to deal with strategic planning, setting objectives, managing resources, deploying the human and financial assets needed to achieve objectives. Another important element of the organizational process is the controlling and measuring results. But, again, the list of activities is far from being complete.

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The important thing is that leadership is a quality that “keeps the fire burning” and lets the team work as an effective and successful union. It is also important to remember that managers’ beliefs, values and assumptions largely influence the overall scheme of performance, and thus the results. Excellent management skills are necessary to support a degree of order and sequence in the organisational performance. Excellent leadership skills are necessary to make people follow you and your ideas.

In his book “The Effective Executive”, Peter Drucker a world-famous management guru, defined leadership as “the lifting of people’s vision to a higher sight, the raising of their performance to a higher standard, the building of their personality beyond its normal limitations” [Drucker, 2002].

It is clear that job performance depends on two main things: the ability and the motivation, with the latter being the fuel and the former being the engine. Without the fuel, the engine will fail to run properly. I believe that leadership is a style of management that is highly motivational, not only though personal example, but also through the ability to build trustworthy and reliable relationships within a team.

It is sometimes claimed that single-person leadership is not effective enough, because “that person would then cease to be a peer and the team interaction would begin to break down” [De Marco, 1987]. But this is not always the outcome. Managerial success often depends on the management techniques and the leadership style used by the manager. Out of the three main styles – the Autocrat, the Laissez-Faire Manager and the Democrat, the manager is free to choose the one that fits his own views and the organization he works for better. Generally, the performance of most managers may be characterized in terms of these styles. In short, the autocrat presses for results and dominates the team, providing guidelines and setting performance expectations for the subordinates. The laissez-faire manager is quite opposite, exercising little control and literally ‘letting’ the subordinates ‘do’ what they consider appropriate in order to achieve the goals. The democrat style is sort of a combination of the previous two – he lets the team be creative, and consults the members before taking the final decision but always leaves this function to himself. They all, certainly, have their minor flaws and in practice the combination of techniques is possible. For example, if the team works properly and knows the goals and how to achieve them, the autocratic style may build resistance. But if the situation is, for example, critical and the problem demands quick and effective solution, the laissez-faire style might lead to a collapse. Democratic approach is more appropriate than the two, but still there has to be certain carefulness when choosing this style – the manager could have been treated as an unsure and diffident. The use of the styles depends on the organisational principles of the company, team work ability and overall level of individual and team performance.

Thus, managers may choose the leadership style to improve the organisational performance. And out of the two most important components of job performance – the ability and the motivation – leadership rather deals with the latter.

The task of the leaders is to focus their attention and efforts on people because they have to encourage, influence, motivate, inspire, empathize, train, evaluate, and reward them to reach the desired results.

The topic of leadership – its concept, the related processes and changes, the outcomes and results – has been determined as the key element of successful performance. Many scholars tried to regulate and systematize the ideas and concepts that gathered around the term. As a result of numerous researches, transactional and transformational theories were developed. The main difference of transformational leadership from transactional leadership (management) is that transformational leadership concentrates behaviour of followers not on their own self-interest, but on the “greater good”.

Some scholars describe managers as transactors and leaders as transformers.
Transactional leaders are leaders who guide, inspire or motivate their followers in the direction of definite purposes by explaining requirements to followers’ role and tasks.
Transformational leaders are individually considerate and intellectually stimulated leaders who also possess charisma.

Both transactional (management) and transformational (leadership) styles are desired in practice.
If I had to support my vision of differences between management and leadership, I would choose to put it into the following citation: “Management controls, arranges, does things right; leadership unleashes energy, sets the vision so we do the right thing” (Bennis & Nanus, 1985).
The leaders are highly responsible for creating and maintaining a healthy organizational culture. Their personal example is one of the most effective ways to achieve this goal. Another one is through the support of the team spirit and appreciation of even the smallest achievements of the team’s performance.

In practice, I often had to use both management and leadership skills and techniques, especially when studying with a group of classmates. And I know that it is better to be a manager if the group is talented, creative and work well together. But if you know what to do and how to do it and you make people feel this certainty, they will follow you and appreciate your support and creativity. Leadership is what enables the team feel the admiration of what they do. It is more useful if the team is unacquainted or does not see the point in performing some type of activities needed to achieve the goal. If I had a change to become the leader of the group I always tried to be the best, in order to set the example for my teammates and, what is more important, I paid great attention to the support of the team spirit and recognition of even the smallest achievements.


Bennis, W. & Nanus, B. (1985). Leaders: The strategies for taking charge. New York: Harper & Row.
De Marco, T. and Lister, T. (1987) “Peopleware”. Dorset House Publishing Co,
Drucker, Peter F. (2002) “The Effective Executive”
by HarperCollins Canada / Collins Busine,
Management. (2006, November 11). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 14:52, November 11, 2006, from
Pascale, R. (1990) ‘Managing on the Edge’, Penguin Book.

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