Leadership and Management Discussion

Leadership and Management Discussion

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Leadership and Management Discussion

The book On Grand Strategy is an excellent guide to the leadership art. Gaddis (2019) incorporates his knowledge of history to satisfyingly address the rigorous study of leadership. He draws on history and the associated classical lessons to offer insights into preparing future leaders for leadership responsibilities.

Based on his suggestions, leadership is the systematic and purposeful process of influencing, directing, guiding, and inspiring people’s behavior towards attaining desired goals in diverse uncertain situations. It entails using insufficient means and realistically limited information to select goals prudently, balance ambitions and aspirations against practical uncertainties and constraints, and leverage common sense to navigate cluttered, ambiguous, and changing environments to augment the probabilities of successful goal accomplishment. Gaddis (2019) further alludes that leadership involves demonstrating the capacity to align actions and goals across time, coordinate actions in dissimilar settings, and adapt plans to changing circumstances. This allows leaders to articulate goals, plans, and purposes effectively, seize new opportunities objectively and flexibly and realize their goals and plans amidst unpredictable events without forcing these opportunities and events to fit into preconceived schemes.

Conversely, management is the administrative and coordinative process for reaching desired goals by working with and via people and other organizational resources. Management entails demonstrating accountability, stewardship, and responsibility for organizational resources in the attainment of established goals. Management also involves applying principles associated with the functions of organizing, planning, controlling, directing, and coordinating to harness human, technological, informational, and other resources in organizational goal attainment, hence optimizing efficiency (Pal & Bansal, 2011). Based on these descriptions, leadership is inspiring people towards work while management is getting work done by and through people. Leadership focuses on the effectiveness of resources to attain quality while management focuses on resource utilization efficiency to optimize time.

The contrast between leadership and management has been debated extensively. Some people in the leadership verse management debate view one construct as a subset of the other. Those who support this notion sustain that doing wrong things right does not imply good leadership or good management, and likewise, doing right things wrong does not infer bad leadership or bad management. However, some believe that leadership is a subset of management because good managers must primarily have leadership skills such as directing and influencing people to propel them towards getting the work done. Others argue that management is a subset of leadership because an individual truly leads effectively and inspire others when management is combined with leadership elements of offering purpose, motivation, and positive character traits (McCarthy, 2016). The leadership description derived from the suggestions by Gaddis (2019) shows that he would view management as a subset of leadership. Irrespective of this debate, both management and leadership are different but critical to organizational success.

In practice, managers perform leadership roles and leaders perform management roles. Also, managers do not necessarily make excellent leaders, and similarly, leaders might fail to excel at management, implying that there are leaders who cannot manage and managers who cannot lead. Essentially, this means that great managers can be poor leaders, and great leaders can be poor managers depending on their skills deficiencies.


Gaddis, J. L. (2019). On grand strategy. New York, NY. Penguin Books.

McCarthy, B. (2016). Do we need leaders or managers?. Company Command: Building Combat-Ready Teams. United States Army.

Pal, K., & Bansal, H. (2011). Management concepts and organizational behaviour. Guru Jambheshwar University.

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