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Reasons managers in adult care settings need both leadership and management skills


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In health and social care settings, it is important that managers have both leadership and management skills to be effective in their roles.


Before discussing why both leadership and management skills are necessary, it is important to understand the differences between leaders and managers. Although there are differing opinions, Kotter (2006) published the following table to try to clarify this – you may find it useful to read Kotter’s journal piece in full.

Differences between leaders and managers (Leadership vs Management – Kotter, 2006)

Vision Establishment
  • Plans and budgets
  • Develops process steps and sets timelines
  • Displays impersonal attitude about the vision and goals
  • Set directions and develop the vision
  • Develops strategic plans and achieve the vision
  • Displays a very passionate attitude about vision and goals.
Human Development and Networking
  • Organizes and staffs
  • Maintains structure
  • Delegate responsibility
  • Delegates authority
  • Implements the vision
  • Establishes policy and procedures to implement a vision
  • Displays low emotion
  • Limits choices of an employee.
  • Align organization
  • Communicates the vision, mission and direction
  • Influences creation of teams, coalitions and partnerships that understand and accept the vision
  • Displays driven, high emotion
  • Increases choices.
Vision Execution
  • Controls processes
  • Identifies problems
  • Solves problems
  • Monitor results
  • Takes a low-risk approach to problem-solving.
  • Motivates and inspires
  • Energizes employees to overcome barriers to change
  • Satisfies basic human needs
  • Takes a high-risk approach to problem-solving.
Vision Outcome
  • Managers vision order and predictability
  • Provides expected results consistently to leadership and other stakeholders.
  • Promotes useful and dramatic changes, such as new products or approaches to improving labor relations.


In their publication, Operations Manual for Delivery of HIV Prevention, Care and Treatment at Primary Health Centres in High-Prevalence, Resource-Constrained Settings, the World Health Organisation (WHO) consolidates this:

Leaders will have a vision of what can be achieved and then communicate this to others and evolve strategies for realizing the vision. They motivate people and are able to negotiate for resources and other support to achieve their goals.

Managers ensure that the available resources are well organized and applied to produce the best results. In the resource constrained and difficult environments of many low – to middle-income countries, a manager must also be a leader to achieve optimum results.


This suggests that leaders tend to have a long-term vision and are people-oriented, whereas managers tend to concentrate on short-term issues and are task-oriented.

Although a manager’s planning and organisational skills are exceedingly important to the smooth running of an organisation, if staff do not understand the organisation’s direction and are unmotivated, they will not be as productive or happy in their work.


Therefore, it is important that managers are able to demonstrate leadership qualities to passionately and effectively communicate their vision to staff and be able to motivate and energise them. Great leaders inspire others and are able to help them to achieve their full potential.

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