Table of Contents
In my opinion, there is a clear distinction between leaders and managers. However, it must be noted that the two complement each other. Attempts to separate leadership from management, or vice-versa, is likely to generate more confusion than understanding. A manager plans, organizes and coordinates the overall workforce of workstations (Zaleznik, 1977). His job is more of a routine, a day-to-day activity. As such, he is likely not to generate new ideas for the company. In some cases, he may even dictate the employees that work under him. Workers expect their managers to outline purpose; they do not expect them just to allocate tasks to them. Employees have to be organized, not just for efficiency purposes, but to help nurture their skills, explore their talents and boost results (Bass, 2008). A good working environment is one that provides room for growth, one where the employee is given room to exploit their potentials. Suggestions from workers may lead to creation of new products, which ultimately may lead to expansion of the company.
Leaders, on the other hand, are open to views, suggestions and criticism from their workers. They believe in learning on mistakes. They accept criticisms and challenges in equal measure, traits that are good for growth. Abraham Zaleznik, (1977) in his book ‘Managers and leaders: Are they different?' agrees that there are a lot of differences between a leader and a manager. The manager is an administrator who follows the company's rules and regulations to the latter. He leaves no room for inevitable change. He is the Chief Executive. When he coughs, the workers catch a cold. You feel his presence everywhere. The same is not true for the leader. The leader innovates. He is more creative. As such, he generates new ideas for the company. The workers are encouraged to do what they think is right. Their opinions are considered. More often than not, we have had employees who come up with new products for the company (Zaleznik, 1977).
Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Atlantic Enterprises advises that a good organization must take into consideration the invaluable inputs of its workers. A worker who is motivated is likely to deliver better results than one who is not. Since most managers mostly and mainly act upon the already laid down visions, missions and code of ethics of the organizations they work in, they are likely not to exploit other areas for expansion (Krantz, 1990). These areas could be talents, new products or just ideas, that if exploited could propel the company to new economic heights. On the contrary, a leader is more original. He is guided by the economic realities on the ground. If a product no longer sells, or the sale volumes have dropped, he may resort to newer products. Repackaging and re-branding of goods is also a measure the leader employs to restore consumers' trust on them.
Functions of leaders versus those of managers
The manager is commonly guided by the rules and regulations of a company. As such, he is likely to maintain every worker in his or her stations and levels of work. In my view, this approach leaves the employee limited room for development. The worker feels caged. He is likely not to deliver as much as he would. Many research studies have shown that a good working environment must be flexible; workers or employees have to be given room to grow together with the company. At the end of the day, it is a collective gain for everyone, employers and employees alike. On the other hand, the leader is more liberal. He believes in developing the employee. This approach ensures that everyone is included, from top to bottom, in the growth of the company or the organization in which they work. Leaders realize the fact that growth is progressive. It does not come overnight. They choose to improve the employees' weaknesses, while at the same time exploiting their strengths (Ronald et al, 1997).
Whereas systems and structures exist to help direct the company, focusing so much on these, and not on the people, is not good for the company. Systems and structures are intended for the people and not vice-verses (Barker, 2001). As such, choosing to attach so much importance to them makes the employees sentimental. Managers have always chosen to focus on the systems and structures. On the contrary, the leader believes in inspiration of the employees. Every employee is left to do what they think is right. It is the attitude that makes the leader stands out (Gronn, 1996).
The boss he is, the manager has been known to assert his authority over the employees. He follows rules and regulations to the latter. His word is law. This approach makes the employees feel caged. They are constantly being watched over. Their work is a routine, a day-to-day activity (Bryman’s, 1996). The leader, on the other hand is known to inspire trust on the workers. It is this trust that makes the employees of an organization feel appreciated and respected. The overall delivery is improved. The Company is growing. Everyone is happy (Bryman, 1996).
Rost (1993) argues that, the manager is myopic; in the sense that his views are short-range. He is not visionary. To him, it is about the present not the future. This attitude leaves the company or the organizations in which they work limited options for the future. Leaders have a long-range view. They have a diversity of perspectives. If, for instance, sale volumes dropped, there should be corrective measures to ensure the companies are on track. Failure is inevitable. As such, planning to deal with it, should it present itself, is what is most important.
The leader is more understanding to his juniors. He places himself on their place. He asks 'what' and 'why’. Managers ask' how' and 'when’. They just expect results. Ideally, one is bound to fail at times. How these setbacks are handled is what is most important. Here is where the leader has an upper hand over the manager. Leaders are patient and composed (Gold, Thorp & Mumford, 2010). Managers are the opposite. Managers have their eyes on the bottom line while leaders have their eyes on the horizon. Leaders see beyond today. They leave room for any eventualities. The manager focuses only on the today's results. Good companies should be able to make projections about the future. Where is the company heading? What are the expected profits? These are some of the questions leaders and managers alike, should ask themselves. However, the manager ignores these crucial facts.
The manager is more of a copy-paste. He imitates. He sticks to what he found in the company when he took over. No new ideas neither new strategies. Workstations require flexibilities (Hunt, 1984). They should be open to change. Leaders are original. They come up with new stuff, new ideas, and new strategies. New directions work for the benefit of all and sundry, the employer and the employee alike (Klubnik, 1995).
Though companies or work places have their status quo, accepting them is bad for the company (Bertocci, 2009). The managers accept it, without questioning. Leaders challenge it. It is not a matter of 'who is who?' of the company. It is more of what you can deliver. Protocols are ignored.
The manager defends the company. He is the foot soldier. He is to be blamed for any problem the company may experience. The responsibility is squarely on his shoulders. On the other hand, the leader defines oneself. The company and the leader are considered as two separate entities (Cooper, 2005).
Managers do things right; leaders do the right thing. It is common sense to do what is right. Managers have been known to stick to details. For them, it is more of a routine. They are not flexible enough to accept views and criticism from the employees. A good working environment requires that all players in the growth of a company or work places are given room to make their contributions. This way, everyone grows. Leaders provide this kind of environment; managers do not (Buckingham & Coffman, 1999).
Maybe there was a period when the responsibilities of the manager and those of the leader would be differentiated. Supervisors in the industrial factory most likely did not think so much about what they were producing. They probably did not think too much about the men at the production end either. They followed orders, organized the work, assigned the right persons to their tasks, coordinated the end products and made sure the job was done according to the instructions given. They focused on efficiency.
In the new economy, value comes mostly from the brainpower of the employees. Here workers are not necessarily attached to industrial machines. In this new order, it is not easy to separate leadership and management. Employees expect their managers not just to allocate them jobs, but to also to define purpose for them (Bass, 2008). As such, the managers must ensure employees are organized, not only for efficiency, but also help nurture their skills, develop their talents and inspire results. Though he has passed on, management guru, Peter Drucker, was among the first people to realize this truth.
Peter Drucker, management guru, was among the first who recognized this truth, as he recognized a lot of other management truths, like identifying the emergence of a “knowledge worker,” and a number of differences that change the general view of a manager. He wrote, “One does not ‘manage’ people.” “The task is to lead people. And the goal is to make productive the specific strengths and knowledge of every individual.”
Role of management and leadership
Management and leadership are crucial for delivery of good results. Although, similar in some aspects, they involve different outlook, skills and behavior workstations (Zaleznik, 1977). Leaders should try to be good managers. Managers also need to embrace good leadership to enhance service delivery and to be more effective.
Leaders must have a vision of what they expect to achieve. These visions should then be communicated to the other players. Leaders must come up with strategies to help them realize these goals. The workers should then be motivated, resources negotiated and available support exploited to realize these goals. Leaders have missions, what they expect to achieve. They are charismatic. This charisma makes them stand out. They are ahead of the pack. Leaders are able to organize workers to work together for realization of a common goal. They are able to make decisions and act on them appropriately. Leaders use creative ways to solve problems. This promotes better care. It also creates a calm working environment.
Managers lack clarity of purpose. They do not understand exactly what their tasks are. A leader defines himself, and his purposes. Managers do not have the ability to communicate tasks results effectively. They are not able to negotiate the administrative processes efficiently. The leader on the other hand, is an administrator who delivers what is expected of him. They have better delegation skills. For a good working environment to be achieved, certain conditions ought to be met. Managers and support staff should be chosen on merit, depending on their expertise. They must earn respect from their employees. Naturally, leaders have these attributes.
Managers should ensure that resources are organized well and used to produce best outcome. Where resources are limited, a manager must be a leader to achieve maximum results. A good leader is able to coordinate with the support staff at various levels for the achievement of better results. He ensures transparent and well-planned fiscal processes and activities. There is a uniform involvement of everyone.
A leader understands what is expected of him. He defines his tasks clearly and delegates his authority. Where necessary, he seeks support before making any decisions. Management flourishes when he agrees with the staff on objectives to be met. This approach ensures easy decision-making .The risks are minimal.
Service delivery is constantly changing. As such, there is a need to learn new skills and abilities to stay relevant. Here is where the leader comes in handy. He has the skills and competence to motivate workers, provide timely communication and negotiate with other players. These help to maintain attitudes and maximize staff discipline.
Leaders delegate duties to their employees. They support and train them to achieve the best results. Leaders make use of team meetings, staff meetings and other communication means to deliver appropriate and timely communication with the staff. Managers often lack these attributes.
Briefly, leadership is about setting new directions to be followed in realization of goals. A leader spearheads this direction. Management is about controlling people or resources according to the already laid down principles of workstations (Zaleznik, 1977). A leader sets a vision that is to be followed by the others. Leadership makes use of collective responsibility. He gives directions, but a bulk of the management comes from other people.
A manager controls people to maintain the status quo. His focus is on doing things as already established. An example: A referee is sports game manager. He provides no new change. He provides no new direction. His job is just to control the already available resources - the players. He ensures the laws governing the game are followed.
Leaders provide sense of direction. Nelson Mandela was a leader. However, in prison for a long time, he continued to grow stronger and stronger. He was later to lead his people. Mahatma Gandhi led by examples. Many scholars all over the world choose not to define leadership. They seem to accept this practice of not defining leadership (Barker, 1997).Leadership is among the most observed, but least understood phenomena in the world(Burns, 1978). According to Barker, leadership should be studied as academic discipline. He notes however, that currently the study of leadership is in shambles. ‘The topic of leadership represents one of social science's greatest disappointments. After fifty years of study work, social science can tell us very little about the subject'(Sergiovanni, 1992). Many problems have arisen in the history of trying to come up with a clear definition of leadership and management, and in drawing the differences and distinctions between them. Because of these ambiguities, people confuse between leadership and management. It was Rost (1993) who came up with somewhat clear differences between leadership and management. He says that leadership is about influence relationship, while management is about authority relationship. A leader adopts the approach of influencing the workers to work under minimal supervision. Management however focuses on asserting authority over the employees. Workers are guided by the rules and regulations of the employer. They work under constant supervision from their employers. Studies show that workers under authoritative managers are less motivated. They have low self-esteems. Workers need to be confident in their stations. This helps boost their morale. If their morale is high, workers produce the best output. The working environment is conducive. The employer-employee relationship is at its best when the worker is well motivated. In leadership, influence is multi-directional. This means that the leader views the workers as equal contributors at work. The company needs both the leader and the worker or employee. The leader's job is to direct, not to control. He gives the guidelines for various job dispensations. He guides the employees in achieving the desired results for the company. Management treats the employees as subordinates. Here, the manager considers been superior to the workers. He controls the workers, and gives them limited room to ask questions.
This approach leaves the worker no space for contributions. The manager is not always going to be right in their decisions. The workers should be allowed to participate alongside the manager for better results to be achieved. Leaders are non-coercive, while managers employ coercive actions to make the workers do what is expected of them. Workers should do what they think is right and expected of them. They should not be coerced into doing just what the manager expects of them. Leaders intend real change for the company or the workers. They believe that change is inevitable in any company. As such, they are always prepared for the changes. They mean real change for everyone, from the manager at the top to the worker at the bottom. Any intended changes in the company, they believe, should reflect mutual purposes for all, the leader and the worker alike. In management, the manager does not believe in real change, in terms of producing new goods and services. He prefers to remain in his comfort zones, selling the same, same goods and services.
The current market requires diversity in goods and services for a competitive edge. More goods and services should be introduced into the market. This approach not only gives a competitive advantage, it also leads to improved profits. Goods and services result from coordinated activities of everyone in a company, including the leader and the employees. In management, emphasis is on control, rationality, solving problems and maintaining balance of organizational operations. Managers are different types of people to leaders, with different motivations, personal histories and styles of acting and thinking (Zaleznik, 1977). Leadership is a more active than a passive process. This means that leadership is about walking the talk, taking actions! Leaders do not respond to ideas; they shape them. They invent new approaches to problems, and conceive new areas to explore. There are many opportunities that should be put into economic use. Managers are interested in stability of the company while leaders are interested in change for the company. In fact without change, they would be no need for leadership. Management is employed by the managers to ensure that stability is maintained (Barker, 2001). The manger is more of an employee of the company, in the sense that he or she is held responsible and accountable for the actions or activities of the employees that work under them.
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Powers of influence
The major setbacks in most companies have been attributed to the fact that most many organizations have been over managed and underfed. Managers may excel in handling the daily routines of the company. However, the problem is: Should not those activities be questioned? There is pronouncing disparity between a manager and a leader. Management is about using the already available resources to achieve, to charge responsibility and to conduct the workers according to the rules and regulations of a company. Leadership is about influence and guidance of employees to achieve the desired results. The differences in concept and practice between leaders and managers are, in fact a social defense, or an adaptive response to the demands of an organization and the pressures for innovation and change. Defense attempts to lessen, cover up or trivialize the anxieties due to overwhelming changes in institutions. The differences between leadership and management need to be countered by introducing integration mechanisms (Gilmore and Krantz, 1990). Getting people to do the right thing requires use of influence. The leader uses influence to persuade the workers to do the right thing. Persuasion is a strong way to win the workers' trust. Persuasion involves the use of inducement and instigation. Inducement encourages the workers to follow the leader willingly in one same direction. Instigation ensures that the workers work willingly. Each may even work in a different direction, but the overall result corresponds to the company's projections. On the other hand, managers use POWER to get things done. Power involves coercion and authority. Coercion get the work done, but the workers may only be working due to subjections. Coercion is not a legitimate use of power. Authority is a legitimate power tool. However, here, the workers are only working under orders. They indifferently accept orders because that is what they must do.
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The topic of leadership and management should not be limited to leaders and managers only. The relationship between the workers and co-workers must also be studied. Among the co-workers, there should be modes and relations for a common accomplishment of actions. These include influence, coercion, force, power, persuasion, leadership and manipulation. A manager is always in charge. The terms denoting command are: Superior, head, executive, subordinate, hierarchy, administration and authority. In my view, more should be done as regards the topic of leadership and management. Readers need to understand the differences between leadership and management, leaders and managers. Again, leaders must be good managers, and manager’s good leaders.