Power, Management, and Leadership

Regardless of the controversy around the numbers of leadership definitions, leadership has a significant relationship with power and management. At the first glance, it is not easy to distinguish the leadership from management and power. People tend to link them tightly together.  In fact, they are not the same although they relate together. 

According to Yukl, George, and Jones (2009), power is classified into two different types, positional and personal power.  Management is a leading process and leadership is an influence on others in that process.  Leaders should be able to differentiate the power, management, and leadership although power is an absolute capacity of one to motivate and influence others (Yukl et al., 2009).  Leadership, besides, involves with how to instrument that power, influencing the subordinates in order to execute the strategic decisions and implementations successfully.  Both positional power and personal power provides business leaders and managers a tool to impel their followers and subordinates.  However, the effect of each type is not the same.  Positional power includes legitimate, reward, coercive, information, and ecological powers while the personal power is referred within referent and expert power (Yulk et al., 2009).  Positional power develops an authority and enforcement.  Personal power creates the positive image and healthy inspiration.  In addition, both positional and personal power interacts to each other in a complex ways.  I strongly believe that both are equally important for a leader who exercises his power and his leadership.

Bedeian and Hunt (2006) distinguished manager and leader by looking into the differences of their attitudes towards their goals, their relationship with others, their views of self, and their conceptions of work.  Manager looks into the final productivity and result, but leader cares about objectives and strategies (Yukl et al., 2009).  A good manager should show a leadership skill to influence and motivate others for the expected results, but a great leader does not need to be a manager.  Leadership is a subset of the concept of management (Bedeian & Hunt, 2006), by the way. 



Bedeian, A. G., & Hunt, J. G. (2006). Academic amnesia and vestigial assumptions of our forefathers. Leadership Quarterly, 17(2), 190–205.

Yukl, G., George, J. M., & Jones, G. R. (2009). Leadership: Building sustainable organizations (Laureate Education, Inc., custom ed.). New York: Custom Publishing.

About Phat Pham

I don't have money to share, but I do have a desire to transform our society, starting from the workplace and the local community I serve.
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4 Responses to Power, Management, and Leadership

  1. JoAnn says:

    “A boss creates fear, a leader confidence. A boss fixes blame, a leader corrects mistakes. A boss knows all, a leader asks questions. A boss makes work drudgery, a leader makes it interesting. A boss is interested in himself or herself, a leader is interested in the group.” Russell H. Ewing

    “People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader works in the open, and the boss in covert. The leader leads, and the boss drives.” Theodore Roosevelt,

    • Phat Pham says:

      That is so true. Organization needs both boss and leader, manager and leadership team, as they perform different tasks with different responsibility and capability.

      Thanks for the quotes.

  2. Hoang Nguyen says:

    Dr. Pham,
    Your article is really in depth and I truly enjoy reading it. I want to add a few notes here that the four functions of management that contribute to organizational success are planning, organizing, leading and controlling. Planning defines where the company currently is and where it would be in the upcoming future. It also focuses on long term goals and strategies. Pertaining to a mangers value system, it analyzes all factors that may affect the company’s goals and objectives; strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Planning aims to attain the company’s goals and objectives, and leads to effective and efficient management. Secondly; is organizing. This is based on getting prepared and organized. A mangers value system is to look at different divisions or departments and to see the harmonization of staff and find out the best way to handle important task and expenditures. Its contribution decides the suitable department to hand over authority, responsibility and determines the division of work according to its need. Third; is leading. This is to control and supervise the actions of the staff. The manager’s ethical and moral standard will surely impact the motivation of its employees. Its contribution provides a better relationship and helps to direct better plans. Lastly; is controlling. This establishes performance standards which are based on the company’s objectives. Again, management’s values (ethical and moral standard) impact any probable problems they come across and take preventive measures against any consequences. By impacting each, management sees the needs of accomplishing the goals and looks into the process that their way is feasible for the company.
    These four functions are equally important and they need to be in synced. Failing one would lead to the destruction of an organization and I have seen top managers failed to do it, or do it very poorly; especially when they over used their power to manipulate the system to satisfy their lusts and cupidity.


    • Phat Pham says:

      Agree! Every organization should have a short term and long term goal, resulting from a strategic intent, planning, and implementation. Poor leadership or ineffective leadership leads organization to a failure as a whole. Management and leadership are equally important to a sucess of an organization.


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