John Kotter's Leadership vs. Management Theory Video

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  • 0:04 Management Vs Leadership
  • 0:45 Leadership
  • 1:41 Management
  • 2:41 Why We Need Both in Companies
  • 3:06 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Savannah Samoszuk

Savannah has over eight years of hotel management experience and has a master's degree in leadership.

What is the difference between leadership and management? This lesson will take a look at John Kotter's theory on the differences between leadership and management.

Management vs. Leadership

Marc is a manager at a local hotel and he focuses on the big picture with his team. He makes sure they're aware of long term goals and focused on improving customer satisfaction. Marc isn't just a manager; he's a leader.

Not everyone who holds a management title is a leader. There are many differences between leadership and management. John Kotter's leadership vs. management theory discusses these differences. It tells us that a leader is someone who has followers even when they don't necessarily have a title, whereas a manager has to use their title to get people to listen to them.

This lesson will dive into more of the differences John Kotter has identified between leadership and management.


Leadership is simply defined as the act of leading a group of people. To be a leader, all you need is followers.

If we're all being honest, everyone has had someone in their life that truly inspired them. When people describe someone that they want to follow, it usually resonates with the leadership traits John Kotter identified. Kotter described leadership as fundamentally about establishing direction and setting strategies. For example, a leader will focus on creating a vision, and excitement about that vision will encourage people to follow him or her.

Leadership is also about communicating effectively and motivating people without forcing them to do anything. A true leader is someone who doesn't have to use their title or their power to get people to follow them. They'll just naturally have followers due to their vision and influence.

Her are some key traits of leadership:

  • Focuses on change
  • Creates a vision
  • Communicates and earns commitment
  • Motivates and inspires


Management is defined as the process of dealing with or controlling things and people. A manager does exactly that: he or she uses processes to control people in an organization.

Management differs from leadership in several ways. First, management typically focuses on order and rules, and management can be described as a set of processes. In addition, a manager who doesn't also have leadership qualities has to use their title or power to get people to do things. It's more about control than motivation; people follow a manager because they have to, not because they want to.

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