The Distinction between Leadership and Management in Nursing

The Distinction between Leadership and Management in Nursing


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The confusion between the notions “leadership” and “management” has led to the lack of differentiation between the two words. Many of the studies conducted have confirmed that a leader can take the position of a manager, but a manager not always becomes a leader. However, these words can be used together. Management is the aspect of overseeing, coordinating, planning and organizing the affairs of the organization. Leadership is the aspect of motivating and inspiring (Grossman & Valiga, 2013).

Leadership is one of the requirements necessary for nurses. It is integral, because a nurses’ leader has the power to motivate and inspire the other members with the aim to achieve the visions and missions of an organization. A leader has the ability to lead the implementation of new objectives, to question some of the policies set by the government and the institution, and to design of new objectives. Work of a nurses’ leader is important in emergency rooms as a lot of stress is involved there. Leaders are necessary to ensure that patients are handled in the right way. A leader is recognized to have good communication and interpersonal skills. This person is said to take the risk and use the necessary means in order to acquire results. Many of the studies indicate that leaders cannot be made, but are born. A leader has various skills including innovation, developing original models, inspiration, concentration on the people, and also originating ideas (Marquis & Huston, 2009).

A nurse manager is supposed to ensure that the objectives of the organizations are met. This manager is supposed to oversee that all the necessary responsibilities are carried out within the stipulated time. A manager also has the responsibility of ensuring that the allocated resources are put into action. This person is also known to have the ability to make decisions. A manager has the responsibility of fulfilling what is written by another person. Management is very effective to ensure that all activities stipulated by the objectives are carried out. Managers have the responsibility of supervising the people who are assigned to them. These people are to perform some tasks including maintaining, administering, imitating, copying, and also focusing on the short-term goals. Managers are very important people in a health facility as they ensure that services provided are of high quality (Sullivan & Decker, 2005).


The use of these two words makes many people confused. The words can be used together, but they have different meaning. An organization must be able to distinguish all its members as being leaders or managers. Both the leader and the manager are important in an organization. Both are known to lead to the success of an organization.


Finkelman, A. W. (2006). Leadership and management in nursing. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Grossman, S. & Valiga, T. M. (2013). The new leadership challenge: Creating the future of nursing. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis.

Iles, V. (2006). Really managing health care. Maidenhead, UK: Open University Press.

Marquis, B. L. & Huston, C. J. (2009). Leadership roles and management functions in nursing: Theory and application. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Sullivan, E. J. & Decker, P. J. (2005). Effective leadership and management in nursing (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J: Pearson/Prentice Hall.

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