According to Northouse (2004), the distinction between leadership and management lies in its conceptual and functional differences.

His description of management is as a function that results in order and constancy and also notes that management was “created as a way to reduce chaos in organizations and to make them run more effectively and efficiently.” ┬áMoreover, he branches management out into a) planning and budgeting, b) organizing and staffing, and c) controlling and problem solving. He also suggests that this identification of managerial functions similar to those as suggested by Fayol in 1916 maintains its relevance till today’s time. In defining leadership, Northouse (2009) considers leadership as a trait, as every leader is endowed with their unique attributes and qualities. Second, he exemplifies leadership as an ability as leaders require the aptitude or skill to do what others are not comfortable or capable of doing.

Third, leadership is defined as a skill since leaders require extraordinary competency to carry out tasks and obligations and seeing it to completion. Fourth, leadership is a behaviour; largely since it foresees a leader’s approach and perspective when dealing with complications or setbacks. Finally, Northouse defines leadership as a relationship, through which the ‘relationship between leaders and followers in an inclusive process’ are central to its concept. Overall, this distinction serves as a starting point for those that require change to happen in organisations to understand how exactly to reach a point of transformation in the workplace. This notion is supported by Warren Bennis (1989) who notes: “To survive in the twenty-first century, we are going to need a new generation of leaders – leaders, not managers.

The distinction is an important one. Leaders conquer the context – the volatile, turbulent, ambiguous surroundings that sometimes seem to conspire against us and will surely suffocate us if we let them – while managers surrender to it.”.


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