Management and Leadership


Discussion of the essence and relationship between management and leadership possesses a central place in the works of leading scientists and researchers from different spheres of the modern business life. Indeed, there are numerous approaches to the interpretations of the meaning of these concepts and relationship between them. Leadership and management play key but different functions in organizations. Management usually supports stability in the company, while the leadership drives change. Leadership stimulates changes in the organization, focusing on employees’ inspiration. Management focuses on their performance monitoring. With the aim to succeed companies need both leaders and managers. Some researchers argue that most managers should be leaders, not all leaders must be managers. Others think that individuals should combine these roles. This essay discusses key skills and tools that are applied by managers and leaders and critically analyses the relationship between management and leadership to show the core essence of these concepts within an organizations in private and public sector.

Management and Leadership: Essence and Relationship between the Concepts

It is often said that leadership and management roles are blurred. However, Holmes (2010) argues that these concepts should be regarded from different perspectives and levels within an organization. The author underlines the definite separation of the management and leadership roles. In fact, ‘leadership is defined by the capacity to understand the realities of a particular direction for said organization’ (Holmes 2010). This means that a leader analyses the internal and external environments of the organisation, react on the changes and challenges that such changes create and corrects the chosen development path for the organisation. Moreover, it is a unique task for the leader to formulate such a vision for the company that is easy to identify, understand and follow by each employee of this organisation. 

When giving a definition to a main manager’s task within an organization, the author highlights the communicational aspect of the company’s governing. Manager is the person who is accountable for the ensuring that the information is communicated in a proper way creating a well-organised communication network. This process should be observed and analysed from the power distance and individualism concepts that are the base of the particular organizational culture within the company.  Besides, Holmes (2010) points out that management and leadership roles and relationship should be studied in the problem solving realm especially. While manager regulates “the rules of game” for the employees it is his task to solve the problems that are related to the disruptions in these rules as a result of a weak communication network. Leader solves problems on the environmental and directional levels. Leader has to adjust the chosen path for the organization as an answer to the constant challenges from the external environment where that company operates. Holmes (2010) makes a conclusion that the relationship between leadership and management roles is quantity based. This means that the more and stronger is a leadership role the less is the need for the management of communication network within the organization. 

The nature and relationship between managers and leaders in the public sector is specific. This statement is supported by the arguments that are presented by Dukakis and Portz (2010). The authors point out that in-depth analysis of the conducted interviews with seven leader-managers - representatives of the public sector - revealed six key practices and skills that were applied. In contrast to Holmes (2010) who puts an emphasis on the differences between management and leadership, Dukakis and Portz (2010) argue that the United States needs a “universal soldier” in the public sector. The authors argue that there is a time for leader-managers, time for those who can inspire others to overcome all problems they face and possess a high degree of competence to be able to implement governmental policies efficiently. It should be stated that such persons have to create a strong vision for the society and to demonstrate and implement skills to organise existing resources with the aim to deliver high quality public services.  

Dukakis and Portz (2010) state “at different times, the same individual might utilize a different package of leadership and management skills”. Naturally, the essence of these concepts is different but both the leaders and managers should facilitate support and collaboration among key stakeholders outside and within the organization, create such an effective environment where the best skills of those who work for such an organization can be shown and applied. The authors point out that leader-manager should implement the following practices to be successful: motivating people, listening and learning, fostering support and collaboration, building effective organizational structure and culture, communicating with the public. 

It is evidently that an effective manager and inspiring leader must have a set of skills and tools to demonstrate the best of his/her role. Developing the key thought about common practices for a leader-manager described by Dukakis and Portz (2010), Stacey (2012) underlines managers are perceived as the technicians in the organization. They are those people who make rational decisions to guarantee a stable work and implement clearly defined strategy and routes accepted within the organization. Leaders are the creators of a long-term strategy of the organization, people who empower others to follow a vision developed by them considering the internal and external business environment factors. 


It is essential to underline that in each of the analysed works it is proved that management and leadership roles are different. Leaders are responsible for creating a long-term vision that will be strong, understandable and clear for the employees. Managers are the regulators of the “rules of game” within an organization, the moderators of the resources and time to reach organizational goals. However, it is a tendency to search for the leader-manager who can combine creativity and vision with the rationality, logic and facts and act as a leader-manager within an organization.

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