The distinction between management and leadership came to the fore through the work of John Kotter at the start of the 1980s. Although he wasn’t the first to stress the importance of this distinction, his book entitled A Force for Change: How leadership differs from management (1990) was to become a modern classic. In essence he described management as about creating order and some stability through activities such as planning and budgeting, organizing and controlling, while leadership is about motivating and inspiring individuals to energize them to overcome barriers to change, aligning them behind a clear vision, and creating productive change that enables the organization to achieve its ambitions. He regards the presence of both as essential for success (Passmore, 2010, p. 212).
Leadership is not simply about getting people to do things. It is about getting them to want to do things. Leadership, then, is about shaping beliefs, desires, and priorities. It is about achieving influence, not securing compliance. Leadership therefore needs to be distinguished from such things as management, decision-making, and authority. These are all important and they are all implicated in the leadership process. But, from our definition, good leadership is not determined by competent management, skilled decision-making, or accepted authority in and of themselves. The key reason for this is that these things do not necessarily involve winning the hearts and minds of others or harnessing their energies and passions. Leadership always does (Messick & Kramer, 2005, p. 69).
Managers vs. Leaders
Lussier and Achua(2010) stated that, there are differences between managers and leaders. Managers focus on doing things right, and leaders focus on doing the right thing. Managers are concerned with stablility and the best way to get the job done, and leaders place greater concern on innovation and change (p. 17). Successful leaders are also good at managing, and successful managers are good leaders (p. 18).
Lussier, R. N. & Achua, C. F. (2010). Leadership: Theory, application, and skill development (4th ed.). Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.
Messick, D. M. & Kramer, R. M. (2005). The psychology of leadership: New perspectives and research. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Passmore, J. (2010). Leadership coaching: Working with leaders to develop elite performance. London, UK: Kogan Page Limited.