Leadership versus Management

There is no universally accepted definition of leadership; not least as it is not at all easy to define. But what is clear is that leadership is an essential element of management. There are many definitions of management, but put simply, it is the direction, coordination and control of assets. The exercise of management includes the process by which a manager makes decisions, impresses will on team members, and transmits intentions.

Management can be seen as consisting of three core elements; authority, responsibility and accountability.

Authority involves the legal right to enforce disciplinary measures. A manager may delegate authority, but not ultimate responsibility. This is liability and an obligation to answer to senior management/board members for the use of delegated responsibility, authority and resources. This includes the duty to act. The manager who delegates responsibility should grant sufficient authority to enable the individual to fulfill the role; while the individual remains accountable for his actions. 

If we now look at the roles of managers we can identify three essential components namely decision-making, control and leadership.

For the effective manager the art of effective and timely decision-making is a key role, particularly with regard to major decisions that impact on organisational strategy. Minor decision-making should be delegated as far along the chain as possible, in line with the requisite experience, capability and capacity of the more junior manager.

Managers must also have continuing oversight, direction and coordination of their resources, although the detailed activity is often not undertaken directly and is a province of their team. Most activities within this area of responsibility should be delegated; however the reality is that many managers spend more time than they should undertaking control functions.

Leadership is the art of motivating and directing individuals into action to accomplish outputs. Leadership is ultimately based on interpersonal relations. It is natural and a learned ability, a skill, and a set of personal characteristics that influence people to take desired actions. 

In simpler terms, you lead people; you manage things.

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