NUR 674 What is the difference between leadership and management

NUR 674 What is the difference between leadership and management

Leadership and Management

Leadership and management are usually used interchangeably due to their closeness. However, they are different concepts since leaders and managers play different organizational roles. Management has much to do with controlling people and directing them to accomplish goals, while leadership involves influencing and motivating others toward organizational success (Drew & Pandit, 2020). Managers are usually responsible for things/specific tasks such as advertising, human resources, and information technology. On the other hand, leadership involves leading people. Unlike management, people must be involved in leadership. Headship plays a fundamental role in placing people in leadership and management positions. It involves putting people in positions by virtue of official authority; they often have no control over circumstances. For instance, experienced departmental leaders and staff are consulted by stakeholders to give directions regarding optimizing productivity.

All nurses should be considered leaders. Their everyday role characterizes leadership and offering solutions as leaders. As health care experts, nurses guide patients and their colleagues about particular diagnoses, patient issues, and population problems. They also educate and serve as role models. As frontline health care workers, nurses understand patient needs and advocate for better services and environments to achieve the desired health outcomes (Nsiah et al., 2019). They serve as the voice of patients and patients, which involves passionate and visionary leadership.

The transformational leadership theory can accurately illustrate the nurses’ role as leaders. Transformational

NUR 674 What is the difference between leadership and management
NUR 674 What is the difference between leadership and management

leadership is founded on the principle that leaders envision a desired outcome and inspire others to achieve the desired vision through cultural change (Ree & Wiig, 2019). In routine practice, nurses identify practice areas requiring improvement and initiate the interventions necessary to improve care quality, patient safety, the environment, and other objectives. Engaging in such roles requires commitment for better results. Nurses also need to motivate stakeholders, organizational leadership, and colleagues to support the envisioned change through material and financial resources. They cannot succeed without executing the leadership obligation successfully.

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Drew, J. R., & Pandit, M. (2020). Why healthcare leadership should embrace quality improvement. BMJ368.

Nsiah, C., Siakwa, M., & Ninnoni, J. (2019). Registered Nurses’ description of patient advocacy in the clinical setting. Nursing Open6(3), 1124–1132.

NUR 674 What is the difference between leadership and management
NUR 674 What is the difference between leadership and management

Ree, E., & Wiig, S. (2019). Linking transformational leadership, patient safety culture and work engagement in home care services. Nursing Open7(1), 256–264.

Great post! I agree, the terms management and leadership are often used interchangeably but differ greatly in their approach. However, I think all nurses are in a position of headship by virtue of the position and because of the significant role we play in public. Every nurse has the potential to be a leader by empowering, influencing, and creating impact (Roussel et al., 2019). In my experience not every nurse has the desire to be a leader even though in a position of influence. We were taught the beginning competencies during nursing school and with each degree level leading others became the cornerstone of our nursing education. Therefore, intrinsically speaking not all nurses are leaders but are all in the position to lead.


Roussel, A., Thomas, T., & Harris, J. (2019). Management and leadership for nurse administrators (8th ed.). Jones and Bartlett Learning.

Crystal, great point about all nurses being in the position to lead. We should be leaders of our patients and our profession. Nurses take up informal leadership roles as they carry out their roles in patient care. They lead at the point of care where they are accountable for how they care for patients and the daily decisions they make in providing care for their patients (Westwood, 2019). According to the deliberative nursing theory by Ida Jean Orlando, nurses are leaders in their rights because they make decisions on how they will care for their patients by assessing patient conditions and needs. Nurses are at the frontline providing support to their patients to ensure they recover in the shortest time possible. Moreover, nurses are always encouraging each other and providing support to their peers.

Westwood, G. (2019). ‘All nurses are leaders – they are leaders at the point of care.’ Nursing Times.

Replies to Constantine Dapilma

 A leader keeps an entire organization in mind and works with all employees to achieve success. At the same time, a manager focuses solely on accomplishing goals within one specific group or team. Leadership creates positive change through detailed planning, vision, decision- making and strategy, making up the characteristics of a good leader. A leader always takes the initiative and makes an effort to accomplish the vision of the company. (Toor & Ofori, 2018). Management is all about performing pre-planned tasks regularly with the help of others.

The difference between leadership and management is that leaders are considered visionaries. Managers set out to achieve organizational goals by implementing processes, such as budgeting, organizational structuring, and staffing. A manager’s vision can be to implement strategies, plan, and organize tasks to reach the goal set out by leaders. However, both leadership and management roles are equally important in any situation. Managers achieve their goals by using organized activities and tactical processes. They break down long term goals into tiny segments and organize available resources to reach the desired outcome (Roussel et al., 2020). Leaders are more concerned with how to influence people than how to assign work to them. Leader asks questions about what and why, whereas a manager focuses on the questions of how and when. Also, leaders might question and challenge the authority to reverse decisions that may not be in the better interests of the team and managers may not be required to assess and analyze failures. Leadership is not necessarily headship. Anyone can be at the head of an organization but may have the qualities of a leader. As a leader, I act in ways that inspire others to do their best. It makes no difference to me whether I have a specific title or position.

In my opinion, not every nurse can be a leader.  There is always a need for followers and not everyone possesses the abilities needed to be a leader. I believe all nurses should strive to be leaders at the hospitals, local, state, and federal levels. I know being a leader requires a lot of responsibility, such as advocacy for the patient and self, communication, and encouraging change for the better. Transformational leadership is one type of leadership that allows nurse leaders to excel in an organization and navigate where they want to go, and how they can involve the team.   In some ways, the public is not used to viewing nurses as leaders, and not all nurses begin their career with thoughts of becoming a leader.  All nurses must be leaders in the design, implementation, and evaluation of, as well as advocacy for, the ongoing reforms to the system that will be needed (National Library of Medicine, 2019). Nurses will need leadership skills and competencies to partner successfully with physicians and other health professionals in redesign and reform efforts across the health care system. I look forward to taking on more leadership roles with grace and dignity as sometimes these roles can be hard to handle.

National Library of Medicine. (2019). The future of nursing: Leading change, advancing health. In (5th ed., Vol. 24). National Academies Press (US).

Roussel, L., Harris, J. L., & Thomas, P. L. (2020). Management and leadership for nurse administrators (8th ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Toor, S.-R., & Ofori, G. (2018). Leadership versus management: How they are different, and why. Leadership and Management in Engineering, 8(2), 61–71.