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efining Management and Leadership – a scholarly perspective 
There is often debate between the similarities, differences and synergies between management and leadership. From a scholarly perspective, du Toit (2007), define management as a process of activities that are carried out to enable a business to accomplish its goals by employing human, financial and physical resources for that purpose. In contrast, these authors define leadership as the process of directing the behaviour of others towards the accomplishment of predetermined goals.  Furthermore, leadership is defined as the influencing and directing of the behaviour of subordinates in such a way that they willingly strive to accomplish the goals or objectives of the business.

14 Fundamental points of differentiation between management and leadership (Cotter, 2020)
Having worked directly with 174 different companies and according to my work-based research (2020), I’ve found 14 fundamental points of differentiation between management and leadership. These points are tabulated below:


1.    Priorities

The manager is important (selfish)

The followers are important (selfless)

2.    Career fluidity

Occupy space. Managers work themselves into a job.

Create space. Leaders work themselves out of a job.

3.    Talent development

Hoard, monopolize and/or suppress talent

Invest in and Liberate talent

4.    Mindsets

Fixed and Scarcity

Growth and Abundance

5.    Objectives

Compliance and Control

Commitment and Empowerment

6.    Orientation



7.    Source of power



8.    Exercise of influence

Charisma (Pathos)

Character (Ethos)

9.    People Management

Dictate and Motivate

Delegate and Inspire

10.   Employee Engagement

Command and Instruct

Connect and Facilitate

11.   Focus



12.  Change Management



13.  Representation



14.  Impact



The purpose of the above tabulation is not to paint management in a negative light and/or to vilify management and to elevate leadership on a pedestal, but merely to contrast and differentiate management and leadership. Management is the cornerstone of organizational performance and the bedrock of effective leadership. In fact, I have come to the conclusion that management and leadership are not mutually exclusive and that there should be a perpetual quest of discovery to find a hybrid solution i.e. becoming a leading manager – a manager with exceptional leadership skills.

  1. The 7 E’s of the Pathway to Actualizing to a Leading Manager (Cotter, 2018)

The 7-step leadership development process map is listed below:

  • Step #1: Creating a Vision (ENLIGHTENED)
  • Step #2: Articulating that vision in a Compelling and Inspirational manner (ELOQUENT)
  • Step #3: Exercising Positive and Constructive Influence (ENGAGER)
  • Step #4: Guiding and Supporting followers in the pursuit of achievement of the vision (ENCOURAGER)
  • Step #5: Serving as a Role Model (ETHICAL)
  • Step #6: Nurturing, Developing and Empowering followers (EMPOWERER)
  • Step #7: Being a Driver and Agent of Change (ENERGISER)


Leadership is working with goals and vision; management is working with objectives.


Although management and leadership are fundamentally different, they do complement one another. Therefore, the exploratory journey to actualizing to a leading manager is one of introspection, reflection and projection. The development pathway is a dedicated process of intention, aspiration, inspiration and perspiration.  


About Author

Dr Charles Cotter

Dr Charles Cotter is an independent global blended learning practitioner and L&D strategist. He is currently the facilitator of the Prospen Africa Management and Leadership training programme (F2F and/or online).

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