Thing 2: Leadership / management?

In Thing 2, you will explore the difference between leadership and management and reflect on how these are used in your everyday role.
The activity should help you to have a better understanding of the difference between leadership and management. We consider how most people can use their leadership skills while appreciating not everyone can be a manager.

Open Badge Information

Open Badge: SSSC 23 Things Leadership – Thing 2: Leadership/Management

Counts towards: SSSC 23 Things Leadership –  Leadership Fundamentals


You may find it helpful to complete Thing 1 before starting Thing 2.

Depending on your role, you might be thinking ‘why should I be concerned about management and leadership?’ At work and in life generally, we are all affected by the leadership and management of those who have connections to us. This might be felt through central or local government directives, the effect of NHS targets and priorities on local services we access, or the operation of a day care of children service you use or work in. Perhaps personally you have to organise and manage a household and make complicated or difficult decisions about spending. At work, your experience of leadership and management will be influenced by:

  • the scope of your own work role
  • the structure and culture of your organisation; and
  • how you are supported – and how you support others – to achieve desired goals.

You may or may not have a formal management role in your work, but you will no doubt have a view on how you experience management practice in your organisation. Additionally, though, there will be elements of self-management and managing relationships in how you work with colleagues and the people who use your service, as well as tasks you are required to manage in your daily work. This also applies to leadership in terms of the leadership capabilities you exercise in your practice and how you experience and support the leadership of others.

Management and leadership qualities often overlap but there are distinct differences in the skills that each one requires. Literature highlights how important it is to understand the difference between the two. Management typically concentrates on the processes which support an organisation to run smoothly. This may include planning, budgeting, staffing and solving problems.

Leadership usually believes in establishing a vision and supporting people to achieve goals (Kotter, 2012).

Research identifying what good leadership looks like in Scotland’s social services (SSSC, 2016) warns of “a common tendency to elevate leadership to the detriment of management” with this being partly due to seeing the practice of management and dedication to managerialism as the same thing. It means that, when looking at the process or practice of managing, regardless of the level of competence and benefit demonstrated, people can assume that a manager or an organisation holds the view that everything should be run according to managerial techniques.

Research suggests that “The important contribution which sound management can make to effective social services may be overlooked if it is tarred with the brush of target-driven cultures which ‘are inappropriate to the lives of individuals’. In thinking about what good leadership looks like in social services it is important not to forget the role of good management.” (p28-29)

The Enabling leadership research proposes a theory of change and an associated Leadership Logic Model. These identify attributes and behaviours which characterise leadership and which can lead to the achievement of positive outcomes.

If you look at the Leadership Logic Model you will see that there are descriptors under headings of:

  • What do good leaders bring?
  • What do good leaders do?
  • How do good leaders engage?

The logic model also recognises environmental and organisational factors that affect leadership. The model can therefore help managers to see what is needed to encourage the development and exercise of good leadership by themselves and others.

The strategy for enhancing the leadership capability of Scotland’s social services (SSSC, 2017), highlights that: “Managers and strategic leaders will be aware of the connection and difference between their management and leadership role and will use their knowledge and skills in these areas appropriately (p10).


1. Use this resource to help you think about which activities are associated with leadership or management skills.

2. Think about your role and a situation where you play a significant part in achieving a positive outcome. Write a statement (minimum 200 words) about:

  • where you see management skills being used
  • the leadership you or others show
  • where both management and leadership skills overlap

3. You can provide the statement on the open badge application form or provide a link to your own *blog/portfolio. You may find it helpful to look at Recording Your Learning and Reflecting on Leadership.

*If you want to use a blog or ePortfolio entry as evidence, you might find our guide to preparing and publishing your evidence useful.

Click here to access helpful resources for Thing 2

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