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Skip to 0 minutes and 10 seconds So leadership is quite an interesting concept in the fact that there are lots of potential definitions which we can offer as to what makes a good leader and what doesn’t make a good leader but a common distinction which is often made is between a leader and manager. So a manager for instance is often quite task focused and is just simply process driven and trying to get the employees from a starting point to an end point. Now a leader on the other hand makes much more of an effort to try and develop and grow the skillsets within their team and to encourage group participation, new ideas, creativity, innovation and all of these extra facets which can lead to greater organisational success.

Skip to 0 minutes and 52 seconds The leader is somebody who actually gives a direction, sort of, motivates, enthuses people to go with him or her in terms of where the organisation is going, whatever it is that the organisation is trying to achieve. They galvanise people to work together and the practicalities are, its about getting people to go with you in terms of taking an organisation forward in whether its developing a product, delivering great services, whatever line of business you’re in. So I guess you know, the strict definition of leadership is somebody who either leads an organisation or a group of individuals.

Skip to 1 minute and 40 seconds The way I look at leadership and I guess the way I have lead teams you know, throughout my career is I see it as my role to create a vision, inspire and motivate people to follow that vision by creating a mission, a set of objectives, and I guess wrapped around that a set of values that, if you like, are our guiding light as we sort of move together to achieve this vision and of course from a governance point of view putting a set of KPIs around just to make sure that we are kind of managing ourselves in the correct way and we will reach our target and goals.

Skip to 2 minutes and 20 seconds So I guess put simply my view of leadership is to create that vision, inspire and motivate people to achieve those goals.

Is leadership the same as management?

Watch the video above in which Anthony Thompson, lecturer in Occupational/Business Psychology at Coventry University, talks about leadership and management.

While leadership and management are often considered synonymous terms and often used interchangeably in many contexts, they differ in their primary functions.

Kotter (1988) argued that management focuses mainly on business functions such as planning, organising, staffing and controlling, whereas leadership focuses mainly on building effective relationships and motivating team members or ‘followers’ to change by listening, inspiring and persuading.

Management, therefore, refers to formal authority of position to obtain compliance from organisational members. Leadership refers to the ability to influence team members towards the achievement of goals. A leader’s ability to influence others may be based on a variety of factors other than their formal authority or position (Nielsen 2004).

Leadership is one of the many attributes that a successful manager must possess (Northouse 2013). Kotter (1990) professed that organisations need both leaders and managers, and one person will often fulfil both roles, as opposed to being carried out by different people. Their tasks are merged together, with managers and leaders both doing elements of each (Bolden 2004).

Rowe and Guerrero (2013) stated that the performance of an organisation is highly dependent on the leadership style adopted by those who manage the organisation. Hence, the performance of employees will also be influenced by the leadership style of a leader who manages and gives them direction. Thus, it is essential to correctly and carefully adopt a leadership style that would motivate and guide the employees or ‘followers’ towards achieving the organisational goal.


Bolden, R. (2004) ‘The Future of Leadership: Synopsis of Initial Windsor Meeting Reports from September 2003 – May 2004’. Report for the Windsor Leadership Trust, Centre for Leadership Studies Exeter, August 2004

Kotter, J.P. (1988) The Leadership Factor. Free Press, New York, NY

Kotter, J. P. (1990) ‘What Leaders Really Do’. Harvard Business Review May-June, 103-111

Nielsen, J. S. (2004) The Myth of Leadership: Creating Leaderless Organizations. Boston, MA: Nicholas Brealey Publishing

Northouse, P. (2013) Leadership: Approach and Practice. 6th edn. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publishing

Rowe, W. G., and Guerrero, L. (2013) Cases in Leadership. 3rd edn. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE Publications

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This video is from the free online course:

Leadership Theory: The Basics

Coventry University