Leadership and Management: Characterizing a Good Leader

Leadership can be described as a process of social influence in which one person is able to solicit or join up the activities, undertakings and support of other people, in a certain field, task or activity with the main objective or goal of accomplishing that task and in unity. According to Richard ,P(1990), it is the act of providing for a way for people to put in their skills, values and knowledge to put into existence or make something amazing and extraordinary happen. Leadership is a virtue characterized majorly by one’s individuality, personality, and behaviors. Among the major leadership traits a leader should possess are: integrity, social interaction, power, authority, vision and good values, charisma, and intelligence. Leadership traits in a person are more innate than acquired. Many of the effective leaders are born-leaders, i.e. they are born with leadership skills rather than being mould or influenced by the any other external factors such as political, socio-cultural, or economic status of the society. Even though these factors still play a role in moulding the optimal refinement of the leader, on their own can not make an effective leader especially one who lacks the main leadership traits.

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Management on the other hand can be described as the process of getting activities, tasks, assignments, duties, chores etc done, performed, completed and accomplished with use of minimum resources i.e. efficiently and more effective through the mobilization of other people’s efforts. Managers can use power and authority to make things done even if they may be lacking the values and traits of a leader.

A manager’s function is mainly to plan for the activities to be performed by the subordinates, organizing the procedures and resources required for the task to be performed, directing, coordinating and supervising the workers and all the necessary requirements for the optimal achievement, excellence and success of the task in hand.

A manager has got to have a plan. Any successful management starts with planning, and thus a management must be a good planner with good and sound planning attributes, skills and knowledge, for proper planning prevents downfall of any management. In this plan managers should set clear the objectives goal and to put in place measures on how to achieve the goals. The relevant resources required, how to acquire those resources, i.e. they should choose among the best individuals and resources. After having the plan in hand, the next step is to organize the workers and other resources. In organizing they should make sure that the workers are provided with all what they require in the process of performing the task ahead. Resources required should be availed and should be the best of all available. Now having organized every thing in place, the next thing is to start the actual performance of the task by telling the people what to do, how to do it. This is the directing act performed by the managers. Now that every thing has kicked on, still there is the need to monitor and supervise these people to make sure that every thing is operating the ay bit should, for the actual realization of the objectives and goals set by the managers.

Therefore management can be described as an art as well as a science. It is the art in the sense that it incorporates mobilizing people to make them more effective and productive than they would have been in your absence. It is a science it systematically organizes and coordinates those people and the required skills in how to accomplish those tasks successfully. By direct the people who will make it happen, and continuous supervision and monitoring, the manager will be able to know the effectiveness of the change after incorporating management of the activity. The main objective of man38668.docx is to increase value to what is being done. For example if a company employs a manager to improve the productivity of that specific company, the manager is obliged to improve its productivity, otherwise the manager will be out of value if no significant change in terms of productivity is registered.

Therefore leadership and management have close link between themselves. As per the definitions and description above on leadership and management, leadership is the process aimed at changing results for the better, while management is aimed at the reliability or consistency for better results of an activity.

According to Warren Bennis, the act of management involves getting people to do or perform what needs to be done, while leadership entails getting people to want to do and develop a passion of what needs to be done or required of them.. The managers are like pushers, while leaders are like haulers of something.

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The main duty of managers is to command people, while leaders are more involved in communicating to people including their ideas into discussion about what they want them to achieve. In fact there exists a direct relationship between leadership and management in that a good management includes some or all aspects, traits and attributes of good leadership and on the other hand, good leadership incorporates aspects of good management. A person who is a leader and lacks vital management skills and values as well as a manager lacking any or most of those vital leadership capabilities and abilities will automatically fail or be unsuccessful in their practices.

Managers and leaders are both planners. Planning is a common trait for both successful leaders and managers. A leader plans on the best means to keep in line with the people being led. Planning for the best leadership skills to employ on the subordinates are much crucial, since devoid of sound planning in the leadership can lead to withdrawal of the people led. Crucial planning is also required in management in order to make people deliver productively or effectively. Hence planning is common for both leaders and managers.

Differences between leadership and management

Management is concerned with delivering while leadership is concerned with leading/directing. As stated above, a manager strives to get people performing or doing what needs to be done for accomplishment of a specific task. A manager is less

38668.docxConcerned whether those people are interested in the activity or not. A manager may employ authoritative leadership traits to get the work being done. On the contrary a leader has to convince people those people being led that they can make a decision to follow him or her. If authoritative traits are incoporatated in leadership, in most cases the long term objectives are not realized (difference between leadership and management, n.d)

Leaders usually communicate their ideas to people they are leading. They involve their subordinates in decision making in matters pertaining their activities. This involvement may be in form of dialogues achieving consensus and even persuading the people being led. Managers on the other hand command their subordinates to keep them performing. They are not mach interested in involving their subordinates in matters of decision, but their decisions are final. Most of the managers employ an autocratic form of leadership where subordinates have little or no say on what is expected of them in terms of performance (Northouse, 2007).

The act of management should be exercised with perfection, with precision, detailed and usually should have got time limits. On the contrary, leadership requires a much sensitive approach and involves togetherness in goal-setting and lack time criticality in the achievement of a certain task. To manage means that you are in need of the exact results i.e. what you want as a manager is what you want the subordinates to give. A manager expects the exact results as opposed to leaders who might need to include some changes in the performance of the task in hand due to some factors which may be affecting performance of the task (Matlock, 1994).

The main component of management is to achieve maximum profits. A manager is mainly aimed to optimize the productivity of the organization, while leadership is concerned with setting an example to be emulated by the followers. Therefore a leader should be a role model to the subordinates.

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Managers and leaders have a difference on their perspectives. Managers perception is on doing things right. This means that managers are tied to the set policies of performing a certain task. Leaders’ perception is focused on doing the right things. Leaders follow their own insight, which in most cases is usually more beneficial to everyone including the people being led.

Visions, values and good behaviors are the pillars of support of action in leadership rather than attempts to control people as practiced by managers. Hence leaders are more emotional and sensitive to their subordinates as opposed to managers (difference between leadership and management, n.d)

There is loyalty in leadership. Subordinates are usually more loyal to their leader than a manager. Leaders usually takes responsibility in mistakes they do, appreciates their subordinates achievements etc these builds loyalty between the leader and the people being led are often more loyal to a leader than a manager.

A leader is followed while a manager commands the subordinates. People follow a leader by their own choice while a manager has to command people to be obedient to him or her. Managers usually obtain authority not because of leadership qualities but power given by the institution or organization managed. Leader may lack organizational skills, but their vision unites and brings together people being led.

Managers are usually people who have the technical expertise in their field of operation. They have the know how of how the systems works. Leaders sometimes lack the experience but might have new fresh ideas to the organization (difference between leadership and management, n.d).

In conclusion, there exists a direct relationship between leadership and management in that a good management includes some or all aspects, traits and attributes of good leadership and on the other hand, good leadership incorporates aspects of good management. A person who is a leader and also a manager should possess both leadership and management skills and values. The person should perform the management functions while incorporating all traits that characterize a good leader. Therefore among many assets a successful manager should possess, leadership should be on top.


  1. Bennis, W. Theory and Practice at a Very Good Price. Cape Town, Oxford. University Press.
  2. Northouse, P (2007). Leadership: Theory and Practice (4th Ed), San Francisco. Pearson Education Inc. Press.
  3. Matlock, J (1994). Leadership and Management. Winnemucca NV, Wiley/IEEE Press.
  4. Richard, P (1990). Managing on the Edge. London, Oxford University press.
  5. The difference between leadership and management. 2009.
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