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It is common for one to use the terms “leadership” and “management” interchangeably, but in reality, there is a great distinction between them. One can be a manager and fail to be a good leader at the same time. Management entails holding a position of power within the organization whereby an individual is expected to oversee the attainment of the set goals and objectives of the organization, delegate duties to the juniors, and participate in decision-making process (Kelly, 2012). Leadership, on the other hand, involves the capability to influence others through aspects, such as good interpersonal skills. The power that managers exercise comes from the responsibility conferred upon them by the organization in their ranks while leaders get their power from their capacity to influence others through respectable interpersonal skills and effective communication (Anderson, 2012). In nursing, one can be a good nurse leader without holding any position of power within his or her organization. This paper, therefore, examines the disparity that exists between leadership and management in the contemporary society. In so doing, the paper will focus on the concepts that portray great disparities between the two terms.
Management engages in activities, such as planning, delegating duties, staffing, and decision making with the aim of attaining the goals of the organization (In Huber, 2018). The management team is usually assigned duties in line with the organization’s goals and objectives. The accomplishment of such duties inches the organization closer to attaining these set goals. According to Anderson (2012), one of their duties is planning, which is vital in ensuring that the activities of the organization proceed in an orderly manner. Secondly, they delegate duties to the junior staff and also, disciplines them for any wrongdoing within the organization setting, such as absenteeism without prior notice (Kelly, 2012). In addition, the management is involved in the recruitment of new employees who meet the demands of the organization. Nurse managers, for example, partake in planning the nursing activities, delegation of nursing responsibilities, and recruitment of new nurses. The role of the management team in attainment of the set objectives and goals of any organization is centered on the responsibilities conferred on them by the organization. On the other hand, the role of leadership in the realization of the organization’s goals is centered on their ability to inspire others to embrace their responsibilities and perform well in their duties. Leaders normally accomplish this role by working productively in their sectors and portraying enthusiasm towards the set goals (Grint, 2014). Nurse leaders, for example, inspire the rest of the nurses by devoting themselves to provide quality healthcare to patients, empowering other nurses to perform well, and working towards attaining the set goals and objectives. This way, leadership is involved in arousing the employees’ interests in partaking in activities that are geared towards the improvement of their current situation. Leadership relies on the ability of one to persuade the rest of the employees as opposed to control, which management practice (“Leadership and learning,” 2015).
Leadership is a vital component that every management team ought to incorporate in their day to day activities. The practice of leadership, however, by a management team due to their position of power differs from that of true leadership. According to Kershaw (2013), true leaders embrace the democratic leadership model where they involve the other members in areas, such as the pinpointing and establishing goals coupled with decision making. This way, teamwork is encouraged whereby all the members tend to actively partake in development and implementation of the measures and the strategies that are aimed at achieving the set goals. Good leaders value the opinion of every member who takes part in the decision-making process (“Leadership Q&A,” 2016). As such, they foster the sense of trust among the members of a particular team and inspire the members by acknowledging the contribution of each one of them to the team. Nurse leaders, for example, make use of democratic leadership by involving every other nurse in decision-making and formulation of measures to address health-related complications in the society. Management, on the other hand, mostly practice autocratic and transactional leadership. Autocratic leadership is seen where the managers exercise control over their subjects and solely base their decision on their judgments without taking into account the opinions of their subjects (Sullivan, 2018). The need to distinguish themselves from their subjects drives most managers into exercising this form of leadership. Management also exercises transaction leadership whereby they reward the efforts of an individual employee and also, reprimand those who violate the prescribed code of conduct in the organization. Nurse managers may exercise both autocratic and transaction leadership by solely making the decisions, rewarding best-performing nurses, and reprimanding those nurses who do not act according to the set code of conduct (Kelly, 2012). In this case, the distinction between a true leader and a manager, therefore, occurs in the form of leadership exercised. Some managers, however, may be true leaders and, therefore, they may practice democratic leadership.
Another aspect that brings about the distinction between leadership and management is the risk-taking propensity. Leaders are risk-takers; they undertake tasks in which there is an uncertainty of the results to expect (Ellis ; Bach, 2015). They overcome their fear of failure in situations, such as those that involve trying to come up with new approaches to fulfill the needs of their clients. Finding themselves in comfort zones does not stop them from stepping out in an attempt to find new and innovative ways of fulfilling their responsibilities to the society at large. These leaders do not, however, just take any risk in an attempt to venture the unknown; they assess the risks to distinguish those worth taking time to venture. This way, they can be said to take calculated risks (Wittmann-Price ; Cornelius, 2013). Nurse leaders, for example, take risks in ways, such as trying to find out new and innovative ways to dispense healthcare to patients in the society. The quality of nursing care provided today may be satisfying to others but for them, they constantly look for easier ways to accomplish the same task. Managers, on the other hand, try to manage risks, that is, instead of embracing the problems and trying to find solutions, they seek to avoid them. To manage the risk, they employ a number of methods. Firstly, they may employ transference, a risk management strategy that involves transferring the impacts of the risk to someone else (Marquis ; Huston, 2017). In so doing, they exploit their position of power and try to assign their subjects the role of venturing into the risky situations. This way, they shift the blame away from themselves in case anything is to go wrong and otherwise, take credit for initiating the project if everything goes well. Another way that they may employ in risk management is the mitigation strategy (In Briggs, In Coleman, ; In Morrison, 2016). This involves the implementation of policies that bar the problems from ever occurring in the first place or even measures to be undertaken in case of occurrence of the risk. Nurse managers, for example, try to prevent the occurrence of certain diseases by implementing policies that minimize the conditions favorable for the occurrence of the disease. Moreover, they may come up with measures to combat the disease in case it occurs.
More distinction between leadership and management occurs in the uniqueness of the ways that they approach their responsibilities. Managers rely on copying the policies that have been proven to provide good results. Instead of defining their own leadership style, they mimic that exhibited by their mentors. Their attempts to lead successful careers and attain the organization’s goals explains why they opt to copy mechanism instead of coming up with their own way of leading (Ellis & Bach, 2015). They incorporate the behaviors and the principles of successful managers who came before them to help them accomplish the roles conferred upon them by the organization. Normally, the goals of the managers are short term and, therefore, it becomes better to adopt a copying technique, which may provide the desired results in a short period of time rather than establishing a new leadership style, which may take quite a while for both the managers and the subjects to adjust to it (Gaskell, 2011). Nurse managers, for example, employ the practices that have been known to be successful to enhance their leadership, such as the use of evidence-based research, which is currently widely-held as the most successful technique in the delivery of nursing care. On the other hand, leaders are unique; they define their own style of leadership (Lussier & Achua, 2016). There are various aspects that distinguish leadership. These include leading by example, inspiring without intimidating, being driven by vision, and acknowledgment of each of the team members for their individual contribution. Leading by example is where the leaders set up a good culture that the rest of the team members can emulate (Foster, 2014). Leaders do not intimidate but rather inspire the other team members by having an open mind to the ideas that they give and also, partaking in effective communication with them (Kershaw, 2013). Unique leadership is also depicted by the fact that leaders do not take all the credit for themselves but rather acknowledge everyone’s contribution to the success of a given project. Nurse leaders, for example, may portray unique leadership by being visionary and inspiring the other nurses to take action in bringing the visions to life.
Lastly, the other distinction between leadership and management lies in the acceptance of change. Managers tend to contend with the status quo, that is, the established state of affairs (Osborne, 2015). There are a number of reasons that contribute to the acceptance of the status quo by the management. Firstly, the fact that most managers practice autocratic leadership where they are sole decision makers, they are more likely to make decisions that are aimed at maintaining the current situation of affairs rather than trying to implement change (Kershaw, 2013). Sole decision-making is what leads to the managers making the same decisions over and over again since they fail to look at affairs from the point of view of their subjects by not seeking their opinions. Secondly, most managers believe in the notion that as long as everything is running smoothly, then there is no need to bring about change, which might be disastrous (Connolly, James, ; Fertig, 2017). In a dilemma between implementing change and maintaining the status quo, the managers will not hesitate to make decisions in favor of maintaining the status quo if their instincts give them the sensation that the organization is doing well. In addition, some managers are driven by the need to lead successful careers and, therefore, they will be reluctant to the implementation of change since they are scared of taking the blame in case the process results in disastrous impacts (Pavlov, 2015). In nursing, a nursing manager would tend to comply with the current state of affairs if the current measures have been proven to be effective in the provision of quality healthcare. Leadership, however, does not contend with the status quo but rather strive to attain change within the organization (Ellis ; Bach, 2015). There are several traits that leaders exhibit in their attempts to achieve change. The first trait is that they are willing to risk rejection from the rest of the team members for their open rebellion to the current state of affairs. They also have an inquisitive mind that aims at challenging the status quo rather than accepting it. They ask themselves questions about the missing aspects, which if incorporated would enhance the current state of affairs (Canadian Journal of Nursing Leadership, 2016). Moreover, the leaders are characterized by the ability to accept mistakes and take them as lessons. This way, they are willing to try out new ways even if the chances are that the end-result might either be failure or success, that is, there is uncertainty in the end-result in which to expect. Nurse leaders, for example, exhibit these traits by trying to revolutionize the practice of nursing.
In conclusion, it can be seen that there are clear differences between leadership and management and, therefore, the two terms cannot be used interchangeably in whatsoever condition. Management entails a situation where one holds a position of power within the organization in which they are expected to perform a range of duties, which include, participation in decision making, the delegation of duties to the junior staff, and ensure the attainment of the set goals of an organization. Management team mostly practice autocratic and transactional leadership. Autocratic leadership is seen where the managers exercise control over their subjects while transactional leadership is witnessed where they reward employees for their efforts and punish those that violate the code of conduct prescribed by the organization. Moreover, management tries to manage a risk rather than embracing the problems and trying to seek solutions. Management also involves mimicking of certain leadership skills of the mentors and the contentment with the status quo. Leadership, on the other hand, entails the capability of an individual to have an influence on others and inspire them even without holding any position of power. Leaders mostly exercise a democratic form of leadership, which involves taking into account the opinions of each member of the given team. In addition, leadership relies on the risk-taking propensity to provide solutions to certain problems encountered in the society. As opposed to management, leadership tries to bring about change rather than contending with the status quo. Leadership is a vital aspect that ought to be possessed by every managerial team in order to ensure success in the day to day activities of the organization. Every leader can be a good manager, however, not every manager is a leader (In Henwood, 2014)

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