Leadership Studies Essay


Discuss the differences between leadership and management and between leaders and managers.


Leadership is the process through which people’s behavior is guided and directed in the work environment (Nelson & Quick, 2013). In contrast, management is the process through which uncertainty is reduced and stability strengthened within the organization. One of the main roles of leaders is to agitate for change while that of managers is to advocate for the status quo and stability (Nelson & Quick, 2013). Managers differ from leaders along four dimensions; namely conceptions of work, attitudes towards people, sense of self, and relationships with people (Nelson & Quick, 2013). \


Effective leadership brings about change within the organization whereas good management leads to effective control of the entire organization together with the environment (Nelson & Quick, 2013). The activities undertaken during the management process include planning, organizing, and controlling. These activities are critical in efforts to stabilize the organization as well as to reduce uncertainty.

In contrast, the activities undertaken in the leadership process include setting a new direction within the organization, aligning all people with this direction through constant communication, and motivating followers to pursue particular actions through basic-need gratification and empowerment (Nelson & Quick, 2013). Therefore, whereas management produces certainty and stability, leadership brings about uncertainty and change within the organization.

These differences between leaders and managers create a dynamic tension between them, making it difficult for mutual understanding to be established (Nelson & Quick, 2013). However, in some cases, some people tend to have the capability to play the role of strategic leaders. Strategic leaders are able to offer the stability expected of managers while at the same time exhibiting the abilities of leaders in a way that creates contextual synergy (Nelson & Quick, 2013).

In the personality dimension, the manager tends to have an impersonal and functional attitude towards goals. On the part of the leader, the attitude is usually personal and active. The manager believes that goals arise from reality and necessity. In contrast, the leader believes that goals are established because of the existence of desire and imagination.


Nelson, D. & Quick, J. (2013). ORGB 3. Mason: South-Western.

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