Leadership and Management - A closer look on Differences and Managerial Roles

Seminar Paper, 2010

14 Pages, Grade: 1,7




1. Introduction

2. Definitions
2.1. Management
2.2. Leadership

3. Differences between Management and Leadership

4. Management Skills and Management Roles
4.1. Management Skills
4.1.1. Overview
4.1.2. Technical Skills
4.1.3. Human Skills
4.1.4. Conceptual Skills
4.2. Management Roles
4.2.1. Overview
4.2.2. Interpersonal Roles
4.2.3. Informational Roles
4.2.4. Decisional Roles
4.3. A typical manager’s day

5. Conclusion

6. Bibliography


Table 2: Mintzberg’s managerial roles

1. Introduction

Today’s business is based on the division of labor. Different people have to work together in order to create values and offer products or services. But these people are individuals with different needs and wants, different skills and abilities. They have different social, economical or cultural backgrounds as well as different working methods. They have opposing interests and suffer from a lack of information about what others need and want. Therefore, the division of labor requires a coordinating element: a manager or a leader.

It is their task to coordinate all the individuals creating a unified direction of work. By this, all efforts can be focused on a common goal.

Commonly, the terms “management” and “leadership” are used synonymous with reference to the coordination function in business or administration.

This raises the question whether there is a difference between the two terms “management” and “leadership” and if so, how this difference can be described and defined.

Sometimes one can hear the saying that “managers do the things right, but leaders do the right things”. This adage states a significant difference between leadership and management. However, there is a heated debate about this topic. The opinions differ widely about this topic.[1]

This paper will discuss the terms “management” and “leadership” in a theoretical and practical way. These two terms will be defined as well as differentiated from each other. A special focus will be laid on the management functions and managerial roles and activities. This will be discussed from a theoretical point of view. In addition, a practical example will clarify the theoretical angle.

2. Definitions

2.1. Management

When it comes to distinguish the two terms management and leadership, a definition of both terms is a good starting point. However, as mentioned above, the discussion whether management and leadership can be distinguished, leads to different definitions of what management and leadership is.

Robbins defines management according to Henri Fayol as four functions a manager conducts: planning, organizing, leading and controlling.[2]

A manager defines and sets the goals an organization strives to achieve. Management also defines the means for achieving. This planning function persists of short term as well as long term or strategic planning. The aim of the planning is to coordinate all activities in the area of responsibility.[3]

According to Robbins, organizing is also part of a manager’s responsibilities. Here, management determines what tasks have to be done by whom. The concentration of tasks as well as the reporting structure is defined by a manager. Overall, the structure of the organization is defined by the organizing function of a manager.[4]

Robbins state that also the leading of people is part of management. Because organizations are made of individuals, these people have to be coordinated. The leading functions implies motivation as well as communication.[5]

The author lastly mentions the controlling function. It is the responsibility of management to ensure that activities are in accordance with the initial plans. They have to compare the plans with actual behavior and figures.[6]

It can be subsumed that management in the definition of Robbins is like a technique a manager has to apply to the organization and its members.

The definition of management according to Kotter is similar to Robbin’s definition. Kotter emphasizes that management “is about coping with complexity”[7]. He states that management incorporates the functions of planning and budgeting, organizing and staffing as well as controlling and problem solving.[8]

This paper will follow Robbin’s definition of management as it states differences between management and leadership and its accordance with Kotter’s point of view.

2.2. Leadership

In contrast to the definition of management, Kotter states that leadership “is about coping with change”[9]. By that, leadership fulfills an important task in a fast changing environment. Similar to Kotter, Wood et al. define leadership as “a special case of influence that gets an individual or group to do what the leader (or manager) wants them to do”[10].

Ricketts emphasizes that leadership is a process that involves influence and that occurs in a group context. This process of leadership also involves goal attainment.[11]

Robbins as well as Wood et al. distinguish between formal and informal leadership.[12]

Formal leadership is based on the formal structure and authority of an organization. The leader is official appointed to or in other cases elected. The leader holds official authority but, as Robbins underlines, this does not automatically lead to success.[13]

Beside formal authority, informal leadership is the second manifestation of leadership. According to Wood et al., leadership emerges with an individual who becomes influential because he or she has special skills.[14] With reference to Robbins, in contrast to formal leadership, informal leadership can be very important.[15]

Contrary to management, leadership can be assumed not to be a technique easily applied to the organization. The inter-personal aspect of leadership on affecting other people is clearly emphasized in the leadership definitions.

Kotter’s definition of management will be used in this paper. It makes the difference to management more apparent in comparison to the definition of Wood et al..

3. Differences between Management and Leadership

Management and leadership have aspects in common. Both are situated in organizations in exchange with other individuals. They both try to attain a common goal and align a group of people towards this goal. However, management and leadership show clear differences.

As she writes, the products of management and leadership can be seen as two sides of a medal. The result of management is order and consistency. In spite of this, leadership produces change and movement.[16]

She sums up the competencies of both into three groups.

The first group consists of competencies that affect actions regarding the future. On the management side, planning and budgeting as well as setting timetables and allocating resources are mentioned. On the leadership side, the creation of a vision, the setting of strategies plus clarifying the big picture are quoted.

In the second group the author lists competencies with regards to coordination. Organizing and staffing, provision of structure and establishing of rules and procedures are listed on the management side. In contrast, aligning people, building teams and seeking commitment is verbalized on the leadership side.

The last set handles human imperfections. Management does controlling and problem solving, takes corrective actions and generates solutions. Leadership focuses on different aspects. Motivation and inspiration as well as empowering of subordinates are mentioned here.[17]

This short list states the most vivid differences between management and leadership according to the definitions. With regard to this list, managers and leaders do different things and behave differently in an organization. They need, according to Kotter, different skills and trainings.[18]

4. Management Skills and Management Roles

4.1. Management Skills

4.1.1. Overview

Having a closer look on what it takes to be a manager and fulfill the above mentioned management tasks, it clearly shows that being a manager requires different skills. On the one side, planning as a management function needs the ability to cope with the uncertainty of the future and structure unclear opening positions. This requires a manager to have conceptual skills. However, also human skills are needed in order to communicate this plan to subordinates. Lastly, technical skills are required not only to use modern technologies such as computer planning and forecasting tools. A manager needs competencies in his or her working field such as at least basic engineering knowledge when working in the development department in an automobile company.[19]

4.1.2. Technical Skills

The first skill a manager needs is the technical skill. It encompasses, according to Robbins “the ability to apply specialized knowledge or expertise”[20]. This knowledge can be learned through formal education or on the job. The expertise also depends on the current job and its requirements. This means that technical skills have to be adopted to the actual position and job profile of a manager.[21]

However, Weber argues that technical skills are loosing their importance regarding to other key qualifications a manager has to have.[22]

Such technical skills can be engineering knowledge in an industrial company or expertise in information technology in a software firm.

4.1.3. Human Skills

With regard to Robbins, humans skills are defined as the “ability to work with, understand, and motivate other people, both individually and in groups […]”[23]. This skills is momentous because the final work in an organization is done by other people than managers. The task of communicating and coordinating others is one of the main managerial tasks. Human skills enable managers to employ his or her subordinates in the work environment effectively and efficiently. The importance of human skills in contrast to technical skills derives from the fact that humans differ fundamentally from machines or technologies in the way they interact, behave or work.[24]

As well, Weber writes that managers communicate with their subordinates most of the time. Communication is one of the most time consuming tasks a managers does.[25] The interpersonal competence shows to be one of the most important managerial competencies.[26]


[1] See Wood et al., Organisational Behavior, 2004 p 77.

[2] See Robbins, Organisation, 2001 p 20.

[3] See Robbins, Organizational Behavior, 2005 p 5.

[4] See Robbins, Organizational Behavior, 2005 p 5.

[5] See Robbins, Organizational Behavior, 2005 p 6.

[6] See Robbins, Organizational Behavior, 2005 p 6.

[7] Kotter, Leaders, 2001 p 4.

[8] See Kotter, Leaders, 2001 p 4.

[9] Kotter, Leaders, 2001 p 4.

[10] Wood et al., Organisational Behavior, 2004 p 78.

[11] See Ricketts, Leadership, 2009 p 1.

[12] See Robbins, Organisation, 2001 p 370 and Wood et al., Organisational Behavior, 2004 p 79.

[13] Wood et al., Organisational Behavior, 2004 p 79.

[14] Wood et al., Organisational Behavior, 2004 p 79.

[15] See Robbins, Organisation, 2001 p 370.

[16] See Ricketts, Leadership, 2009 p 3.

[17] See Ricketts, Leadership, 2009 p 3.

[18] See Kotter, Leaders, 2001 p 10.

[19] For an example of IT planning tools see Wöhe, Betriebswirtschaftslehre, 2008 p 363ff.

[20] Robbins, Organizational Behavior, 2005 p 7.

[21] See Robbins, Organizational Behavior, 2005 p 7.

[22] See Weber, Managementkompetenz, 2006 p 3608.

[23] Robbins, Organizational Behavior, 2005 p 7.

[24] See Robbins, Organizational Behavior, 2005 p 7.

[25] See Weber, Managementkompetenz, 2006 p 3608.

[26] See Robbins, Organizational Behavior, 2005 p 7.

Excerpt out of 14 pages


Leadership and Management - A closer look on Differences and Managerial Roles
AKAD University of Applied Sciences Pinneberg
FGI 03
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
440 KB
leadership, managerial, roles, management skills, mintzberger, management, manager, leader, organization
Quote paper
Dipl.Kfm, Christopher Schroeder (Author), 2010, Leadership and Management - A closer look on Differences and Managerial Roles, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/200215


  • No comments yet.
Read the ebook
Title: Leadership and Management - A closer look on Differences and Managerial Roles

Upload papers

Your term paper / thesis:

- Publication as eBook and book
- High royalties for the sales
- Completely free - with ISBN
- It only takes five minutes
- Every paper finds readers

Publish now - it's free