Leadership Vs. Management Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Leadership and Management

Managing means responding to the needs of the organization; leadership means responding to the needs of subordinates (Plachy 2009:53). Although leadership and management may overlap, they are still two distinct functions of organizational behavior and must be recognized as such. Leaders provide vision and intrinsic motivation while managers are responsible for the technical oversight and details needed for meaningful change. To add to the confusion, leadership is often portrayed as something more positive that management, which may be denigrated as a purely technical, negative exercise of control. Ideally, managing begins with leadership and a vision but "when leaders continue after stating a vision to manage the accomplishment of the promise, they enter a new role that may require decisions not perfectly consistent with the vision and values promised" (Plachy 2009: 54).

One problem with leadership positions, however, is that the nature of the ways in which leadership positions are structured in an organization means that leader are insulated from the practical realities of the organization -- in effect, they lose touch with the essential functions of management. "One colleague explained his view of a successful leader when reflecting on how he had missed the boat -- 'They get to keep people like me waiting outside their office while they do more important things'" (Blunt 2008). This insulation from the feelings and input of subordinates can lead to poor decision-making on the part of the leader. However, other management experts have warned that "by feigning interest in building rapport and agreement with organization members…the manager risks losing the leadership stature that could be used to move the organization forward in human terms to accomplish the organization's purpose" (Plachy 2009: 55).

However, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article on the subject, the attempt to divide leadership from management is an increasingly foolish and artificial exercise:…

Sources Used in Document:


Blunt, R. (2008). The successes of leaders. Govleaders.org. Retrieved from:


Plachy, R. (2009). When to lead? When to manage? T+D, 53.

What is the difference between leadership and management? (2014). The Wall Street Journal.

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