What do leadership and management mean? What are their differences?
The concepts of leadership and management are closely interconnected. The principal target of both a leader and a manager is to get a particular task successfully accomplished. According to Northouse (2005), leadership is a process that implies an individual’s influence on other people aimed at achieving a common goal. Broadly speaking, management also deals with a person exercising impact on individuals to ensure their sustainable and productive performance.
Therefore, on the face of it, a leader and a manager perform the same job. In order to point out the key differences, one is to analyze the responsibilities that both parties bear. Thus, Gerald Cole (2004, p.6) distinguishes five core functions of a manager: “planning, organizing, staffing, directing and leading, and controlling”. One might see that leadership represents only one aspect of the entire list of a manager’s chargers. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that the notion of management is broader than that of leadership.
Another exhaustive explanation of the crucial difference between leadership and management was suggested by David Betrocci. The author of several works on leadership suggests that the key distinction between the two concepts resides in the fact that managers are mainly occupied with “systems and processes”, while leaders essentially deal with “visions and people” (Betrocci 2009, p.9). As a result, the evaluation of managers and leaders’ performance implies different criteria. Whereas a leader is estimated by the successful accomplishment of a particular task, the principal indicator of a manager’s efficiency is high profit margins.
Furthermore, one might suggest that management is a highly formal concept while leadership is more personified. In other words, the authority of a manager is imposed by his or her position in the organizational structure so that the subordinates are obliged to obey and carry out all the instructions in a duly manner. The employees’ conformity, in this case, is determined by the formal regulations of the hierarchy relations stated in the contract.
As to the leader’s impact on employees, its extent depends on his or her personal qualities, persuasiveness, charisma, and other relevant traits, rather than on the position that the leader takes. The formal position of a leader is not limited to the manager. In fact, a good leader is equally likely to appear within the group members or in the top management board. Therefore, a good leader is not necessarily a manager and vice versa.
Lastly, many specialists put a particular emphasis on the fact that the concept of leadership is essentially connected with the notion of “change” (Saddler 2003). Whether it is the question of corporate motivation or target-setting, a good leader is in the constant search for alternative solutions and innovative methods. Managers, in their turn, might not experience an urgent need for reformation. In case their system operates properly and shows good results, their task might resolve into efficient controlling and regulation. Therefore, leadership implies a more creative character of the activity.
What sort of a leader am I?
I believe that I currently belong to a mixed-type of leader. Practice shows that I often tend to rely on the trait aspect of leadership trying to manage the group with the help of some inborn qualities and the ability to persuade and encourage people. In the meantime, I am now in the process of self-development and establishing myself as a potential leader. Thus, I, likewise try to gain the essential skills and to work out effective behavioral strategies. My finite aim is to be able to use the advantage of all the aspects mentioned above, laying a particular emphasis on the character of influence that I have on the group.
I should necessarily note that I consider the leader’s influence to be a critical responsibility. Numerous specialists note that leaders have to operate within the environment of severe competitiveness which sometimes prompts them to set unethical goals and encourage their followers to pursue this policy. Research shows that many leaders tend to impose their values and personal goals on their teams passing them off as corporate interests (Brown & Trevino 2006). Therefore, I am determined to ensure that the impact I exercise is favorable not only from the perspective of reaching the targeted aim but in the moral context as well.
Finally, I realize the necessity of receiving a valid and consistent theoretical base in order to be able to make a good and effective leader.
What sort of a leader could I become or would I wish to become?
In order to identify what sort of leader one would like to become, it is essential to define which concept of leadership understanding one accepts. Thus, one might regard leadership as a skill, a trait, ability, behavior, a relationship, and an influence process. I believe that the latter offers the most exhaustive elucidation of the leadership phenomenon. According to this approach, the influence that a leader has over the followers plays the critical role in the process (Northouse 2005). There are several reasons why I find this interpretation the most rational.
First, and foremost, it is necessary to admit that all the aspects can be and should be combined to carry out a successful leadership. Thus, trust-based relations can be reached with the help of the inner charisma of a leader; an effective behavioral policy can be successfully worked out due to his or her professional skills. Theoretically, a good leader is the one that has essential inborn leader’s traits, develops the necessary skills, chooses beneficial lines of behavior, sets favorable relationships and performs a positive impact on the group. However, the reality is that one normally has to concentrate on a key aspect regarding all the others as additional.
As a potential leader, I would like to focus on the practical side of my collaboration with other people. I assume that it is an influence process that makes leadership distinguishable from other concepts. Influence can take the form of motivating, finding an appropriate step-by-step strategy, or carrying out precise targeting. Whatever the case, it is a leader’s impact that defines the success of the group’s performance in the framework of a particular task.
Moreover, the relevant approach to leadership interpretation allows one to set rigorous ethical standards. In other words, regarding leadership as an influence process enables a leader to evaluate the impact he or she performs from the perspective of ethics and morality, whereas understanding leadership as a trait seems to overlook these critical criteria.
Finally, I suppose that considering leadership as a process will assist me in achieving particular goals as this approach is more precise and outcome-focused. In other words, within this framework, one is enabled to select different strategies for accomplishing different tasks. It is, likewise, possible to adapt the character of influence in accordance with the relevant circumstances. Thus, in some cases, a leader might minimize the extent of the influence and let the group generate their own solutions and exercise their creativity. In other cases, a leader may need to increase the extent of the impact, trying to raise corporate motivation and their determination to receive the best results possible.
Among the most interesting topics during the ATP Winter Program, the aspects of inspiration and change seem to be the most interesting. Thus, according to the leaders I managed to meet during g the course, leadership implies constant intention to improve the existing set of things. This idea contradicts with the theory about leadership as a trait. The majority of the lectures during the classes put a particular emphasis on the fact that it took them significant effort to become successful leaders.
Another question that seems to be very complicated and significant is international management or management across cultures. I believe that the capacity to apply managerial practices to different cultural environments is of great value in the modern context of globalization.
Specialists point out an entire series of challenges that one is likely to face while working with cross-cultural management. Thus, according to Branine (2011), one is to consider economic, political, legal, and even technological difficulties while operating in this segment. On the one hand, this branch of management seems to be particularly interesting as it offers a broader overview of the problem. The general knowledge of the basic principles of leadership and its types becomes insufficient when it comes to the international market. In order to make a good leader abroad, one is to become a multi-discipline expert that possesses profound and consistent knowledge of the local background. The necessity to adapt the theoretical basis of leadership to the features of the particular mentality seems to be both exciting and challenging.
On the other hand, understanding the peculiarities of the international context requires some practical experience that one can employ in order to generate the relevant insights. Acquiring such kind of experience is realized through traveling, otherwise, one has to rely on the theoretical facts described in the literature. Nevertheless, I believe that this challenge will be naturally eliminated in the course of time as studies will enable me to enlarge my practical experience.
Additional complexity in studying leadership and management resides in the fact that the relevant science offers a wide range of approaches to the interpretation of these concepts. Thus, it’s the diversity of experts’ opinions that represents another challenge in studying the relevant discipline. For example, different specialists provide various visions of the types of leadership. Therefore, the approach I used above implied considering leadership as a trait, a relationship, a process, etc. This framework allowed me to work out the concept of a leader I am determined to make. Meanwhile, Gerald Cole offers other types of leadership.
According to the author, one should point out the following types of leaders: charismatic, traditional, situational, appointed, functional, and principle-centered (Cole 2004). A closer examination of this approach shows that it has a lot in common with the one described above. However, the task of differentiating between various approaches and interpretations of leadership seems to be rather challenging as it requires consistent theoretical knowledge and the understanding of the general principles of the leadership’s structure.
Meanwhile, I assume that this difficulty can be overcome by a thorough and profound research and examination of the approaches and theories that exist in the relevant field. The more points of view I get acquainted with, the easier it will be for me to differentiate between various classifications of leadership. Moreover, I expect that some practical experience will also assist me in understanding the theoretical approaches to management and leadership that I have learned from literature.
Betrocci, DI 2009, Leadership in Organizations: There is a Difference Between Leaders and Managers, University Press of America, Lanham, Maryland.
Branine, M 2011, Managing Across Cultures, Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, California.
Brown, ME & Trevino, LK 2006, ‘Ethical leadership: A review and future directions’, The Leadership Quarterly, vol. 17, no. 6, pp. 595-616.
Cole, GA 2004, Management Theory and Practice, Cengage Learning EMEA, London.
Northouse, PG 2005, Introduction to Leadership, Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, California.
Saddler, P 2003, Leadership, Kogan Page Publishers, London.