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Leadership and management

Leadership and management are two notions that are often used interchangeably. However, they actually describe two different ways of organizing people.


Though leadership and management are not the same thing, they are complementary in problems solving and decision making processes. Broadly speaking, a manager’s job is to organize, plan and coordinate, when a leader inspires and motivates people to achieve objectives. Leadership is more about setting a new direction or vision for a group of employees. On the other hand, the manager uses a rational, formal method, when the leader mostly stirs emotions. This type of organizing people controls or directs them according to the values and principles that have already been established.

There is a list of the differences between leadership and management composed by Warren Bennis in his book On Becoming a Leader. The author briefly characterizes each type in the following way: when the leader develops something, the manager maintains; when the manager focuses on systems and structure, the leader focuses on people; the manager does things right, the leader does the right thing.

Apart from this division, there are various leadership and management styles. Leadership styles are based on implementing plans, providing direction and motivating people. There are many different leadership styles that can be exhibited by leaders in the business, political or other fields.

One of leadership styles, called laissez-faire, gives the worker all the rights and power to make decisions. Laissez-faire was first described by Lewin, White and Lippit. Using this style, the leaders provide little or no direction to their followers, delegating them different tasks. As a result, it stimulates followers’ productivity and autonomy, while offering a support and guidance of the leader when requested. However, the only condition when the style is effective: followers might be experienced and skilled, independent and confident to accomplish tasks successfully.

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Another often used leadership style is authoritarian style that keeps close regulation of policies and procedures given to followers. Actually, this style is completely different from laissez-faire style. Trying to create a distinct professional relationship, authoritarian leaders keep directly supervising their followers.

Among management styles, there are some very similar to leadership styles described above. Delegative management style allows group members to make decisions. The group gets little guidance from leaders, which often makes people confused when they are solving problems. The principle of this style is the same as that of laissez-faire leadership style. Followers are free to choose and decide in both situations. However, management requires organizing people to work towards their ultimate goals and needs supervision and consistent guidance as well as help. In reality, this style is more effective for a leader than for a manager in gaining the best results.

One more leadership style is autocratic management style, where the manager makes decisions unilaterally not paying much attention to suggestions of workers. That is why decisions often reflect the personality of the manager, which is necessary to make the business well-managed. On the one hand, using this method can cause losing initiative among workers because of limits on decision-making freedom. On the other hand, a thoroughly planned job would be done quicker under the professional supervision and managing. When using autocratic style of organizing people, it is necessary to take into consideration one’s personal role. Probably, it would not be so helpful for a leader, because the task is not to impose personal opinions, but stimulate people to find new ways of solution.

The ethical environment people work in requires leaders to practice ethical decision making and support their facility’s ethics program. It should be mentioned that ethics is a priority in any case of managing people.

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