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Leadership and Management: a Comparative Essay Essay

Over the years there has been a lot of debate on the similarities and differences between management and leadership. Weathersby (1999) argued that “management is the allocation of scarce resources against an organization’s objective, the setting of priorities, the design of work and the achievement of results” whereas leadership “focuses on the creation of a common vision”. Schruijer and Vansina (1999) proposed that management is about “doing things right” and leadership is “doing the right things”. Both studies appear to view the management function as an administrative role while placing the leadership function as a visionary role. Locander, Luechauer, and Pope (2007) support this notion by arguing that leadership is like theater and that the leader is the visible manifestation of an organization’s or project’s success or failure.

Therefore, he or she must engage the followers to believe in and achieve a desired outcome “By paying attention to what people want and expect, and by searching for solutions to problems, the leader can act appropriately and fulfill the desired role” (Locander, et. al, 2007). Lichtenstein, Bien, Marion, Seers, Orton, and Schreiber (2006) added a relational dimension to their definition of leadership stating that “leadership is an emergent event, an outcome of relational interactions among agents…leadership emerges through dynamic interactions”. Having a background in Communication Studies, I also look at how relationships affect the definition of both leadership and management.

Effective leadership and management results in the achievement of goals; quality leadership and management builds and sustains working relationships in the process of achieving those goals. Having this understanding, I define leadership as creating and maintaining relationships in such a way that it motivates people to achieve personal and shared goals. Management, in turn, nurtures those relationships and bridges the vertical gap in organizational structure. “The critical resource of most businesses is no longer capital but the people a company hires, motivates and develops” (Karp, 2006).

Good leaders should inspire people to want to better themselves first and then use that esteem to better their external environment (i.e. the organization or the task at hand). Chen (2006) states “Business is often a roller coaster of highs and lows. Therefore it is to be expected that high performance leaders are more skilled at motivating themselves and others in challenging situations”. Here, Chen alludes to a key factor in good leadership and that is the leader’s self esteem. Malhotra, Majchrzak, and Rosen (2007) propose that a leader is responsible for “articulating a vision for the team, communicating the vision with passion, setting an execution plan so the vision can be accomplished, forming coalitions of believers, aligning others behind the vision, and shaping a team culture by articulating operating values”. In order for a leader to do the above-referenced items, he or she must have high moral standards and a positive self-image to exact such duties.

The Bible affirms that good leadership is rooted in high moral standards. Peter 3:8-11 reads “Finally, [be ye] all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, [be] pitiful, [be] courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it”.

REFERENCES

Chen, J. (2006). International Corporate Highfliers: What Makes Them Tick. British Journal of Administrative Management, 52, 26-27.

Karp, T. (2006). Transforming Organisations For Organic Growth: The DNA of Change Leadership. Journal of Change Management, 6, 3-20.

Lichtenstein, B., Uhl-Bien, M., Marion, R., Seers, A., Orson, J., & Schreiber, C. (2006). Complexity Leadership Theory: An Interactive Perspective On Leading In Complex Adaptive Systems. Emergence: Complexity & Organization, 8, 2-12.

Locander, W., Luechauer, D., & Pope, J. (2007). Leadership Is Like Theater. Marketing Management, 16, 45-47.

Malhotra, A., Majchrzak, A., & Rosen, B. (2007). Leading Virtual Teams. Academy of Management Perspectives, 21, 60-70.

Schruijer, S. and Vansina, L. (1999). Leadership and Organization Change: An Introduction. European Journal of Work & Organizational Psychology, 8, 1-8.

Weathersby, G. (1999). Leadership vs. Management. Management Review, 88, 5.


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