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Leadership vs. Management Essay

Leadership and management must go hand in hand. They are not the same thing. But they are necessarily linked, and complementary.

The manager’s job is to plan, organise and coordinate. The leader’s job is to inspire and motivate. In his 1989 book “On Becoming a Leader,” Warren Bennis composed a list of the differences:

the manager administers
the leader innovates
the manager is a copy
the leader is an original
the manager maintains
the leader develops
the manager focuses on systems and structures
the leader focuses on people
the manager relies on control
the leader inspires trust
the manager has a short-range view
the leader has a long-range perspective
the manager asks how and when
the leader asks what and why
the manager has his/her eye always on the bottom line
the leader’s eye is on the horizon
the manager imitates
the leader originates
the manager accepts the status quo
the leader challenges it
the manager is the classic good soldier
the leader is his/her own person
the manager does things right
the leader does the right thing

Attributes of a leader:

Studies, and develops ideas and principles
Resourceful and looks for solutions to problems
Empathetic with a focus on people
Inspires trust among stakeholders
Understands the big picture
Superior listening skills
Courageously challenges the state of affairs, and asks why and what can be improved Looks for opportunities to develop strengths
Develops a following

A leader’s specific roles are determined through the four basic leadership responsibilities of directing, coaching, supporting and delegating. Specific responsibilities will fall into one of these four categories. In leadership practice, one must master skills in all areas in order to effectively lead others under their direction.

Developing strengths in each of the four leadership roles allows a leader to read specific situations accurately and know what communication style is best applied.


Directing refers to how to keep work tasks and activities on the right track. A leader’s direction is what makes or breaks problem solving as well as determines the effectiveness of an approach to an assignment or task, the maintaining of momentum until its completion, and whether it is done by deadline. There are several ways to generate good direction techniques. These include:

Explain things completely and include the ‘why’s’

Leaders learn early on that the best way to gain support and trust from their employees is to explain all things in their entirety. Once people understand why something is important or necessary, they generally rally to the call of that which needs to be done or addressed.

Remain visible

Leaders understand the power of their presence at all times. Nothing deflates the workforce’s motivation and desire to achieve more than to be left on their own with no visible means of support or direction.

Objectively consider opposing points of view

Leaders consider situations, problems and solutions from various viewpoints, as the input from as many individuals as possible expands their capabilities to effectively frame their direction.


Coaching refers to when a leader knows where he or she wants to go and remains in control of the task but needs to lead others in developing a mutual support network. Coaching instils the desire to achieve and builds a dialogue bridge between the leader and those under his or her charge. This motivates employees and positively changes attitudes toward the work assignment. To do this effectively a leader must make an effort to:

Incorporate the word ‘we’ into all conversations

Effective leaders eliminate the word “I” because it denotes a singular rather than cooperative effort. The very meaning of the term “coaching” implies a team effort.

Listen for objections and areas of misunderstanding

Effective leaders who coach well develop the skill of eliminating objections by developing an effective dialogue and creating clear and concise responses.

Offer explanations addressing the ‘why’s, what’s and how’s’ of the problem or task at hand

Good coaching depends upon complete understanding. Motivation and confidence comes from understanding the expectations a leader has of those involved in a given task, assignment or problem solving situation.


Managers cannot be effective leaders unless they actively hone their supporting skills. People look warmly on leaders who actively work to support them emotionally as well as physically. When leaders actively work to support the people under their charge they:

Acknowledge individual efforts with comments of praise and positive support

Leaders are not afraid to say “thank you,” or “you’re doing a great job,” or whatever it takes to instil confidence in an individual.

Disclose their own feelings openly and honestly

Leaders are not afraid to reveal their “inner self.” Trust and loyalty are built on disclosing inward feelings, concerns and desires. Readily and honestly opening up builds encouragement and perseverance on both sides.

Never hesitate to ask, ‘What’s wrong?’

Leaders allow themselves to get into the thick of a situation or task, and are quick to share the decision making responsibility, but know when to relinquish control in order to gain extra participation and involvement.


Leaders know and understand their people. They know their strengths and weaknesses as well as what motivates and frustrates them. Effective delegating relies on the ability to select the proper person for the specific task or role. Leaders develop good delegation skills by:

Briefing the delegate

Leaders leave nothing to chance when they delegate. When delegating, it is vital to explain exactly what expectations the leader has of the delegated individual.

Having confidence in the person they select

Leaders do not select individuals for an assignment according to their job descriptions or the salaries they command, they look for people with the skills, abilities, perseverance and motivation to get the job done and done well.

Not abdicating responsibility, but allowing individuals to decide a best course of action for themselves

Leaders monitor and weigh these individual decisions, but never advance their own leadership position for a particular course of action unless they assess it to be the best one.

Understanding Theories of Leadership

Trait Theory of Leadership

Trait Theory of Leadership is based on the assumption that people are born with inherited traits and some traits are particularly suited to leadership. People who make effective leaders have the right (or sufficient) combination of traits and great leaders has some common personality characteristics.

Traits/skills generally believed to be possessed by leaders can be classified into categories such as:

Physical characteristics (e.g. age; height; weight; alertness; energetic);

Background characteristics (e.g. education; social status; mobility; experience);

Intelligence characteristics (e.g. ability; judgement; knowledge; clever {intelligent}; conceptually skilled; creative; knowledgeable about group task; intellectual breadth);

Personality characteristics (e.g. aggressiveness; alertness; dominance; decisiveness; enthusiasm; extroversion; independence; self-confidence; authoritarianism; assertive; tolerant of stress);

Task-Oriented characteristics (e.g. achievement needs; responsibility; initiative; persistence; ambitiousness; achievement-orientated; decisive; persistent; willingness to assume responsibility; organised {administrative ability};

Social characteristics (e.g. supervisory ability; cooperativeness;
popularity; prestige; tact; diplomacy; adaptability; cooperative; dependable; tactful; persuasive; socially skilled; emotional stability and composure; good interpersonal skills).

Look at the Social Characteristics above. Be honest with yourself and write down those characteristics you feel you have and those that you feel you still need to work on.

Behavioural theories

Behavioural psychology, also known as behaviourism, is a theory of learning based upon the idea that all behaviours are acquired through conditioning. Behavioural theories focus on how leaders behave and assume that leaders can be “made”, rather than born, and successful leadership is based on definable, learnable behaviour.

Theory X and Theory Y

Theory X and Theory Y framework proposed by McGregor in his classic book “The Human Side of Enterprise” (1960) consists of two alternative set of assumptions. Theory X perceives employees to be lazy, irresponsible and untrustworthy, while according to theory Y employees are approached as one of the most valuable assets of the company.

Your management style is strongly influenced by your beliefs and assumptions about what motivates members of your team. If you believe that team members dislike work, you will tend towards an authoritarian style of management; on the other hand, if you assume that employees take pride in doing a good job, you will tend to adopt a more participative style.

Theory X

Theory X assumes that employees are naturally unmotivated and dislike working, and this encourages an authoritarian style of management. According to this view, management must actively intervene to get things done. This style of management assumes that workers:

Dislike working.
Avoid responsibility and need to be directed.
Have to be controlled, forced, and threatened to deliver what’s needed. Need to be supervised at every step, with controls put in place. Need to be enticed to produce results; otherwise they have no ambition or incentive to work.

X-Type organisations tend to be top heavy, with managers and supervisors required at every step to control workers. There is little delegation of authority and control remains firmly centralised.

McGregor recognised that X-Type workers are in fact usually the minority, and yet in mass organisations, such as large scale production environment, X Theory management may be required and can be unavoidable.

Theory Y

Theory Y explains a participative style of management that is de-centralised. It assumes that employees are happy to work, are self-motivated and creative, and enjoy working with greater responsibility. It assumes that workers:

Take responsibility and are motivated to fulfil the goals they are given. Seek and accept responsibility and do not need much direction. Consider work as a natural part of life and solve work problems imaginatively.

This more participative management style tends to be more widely applicable. In Y-Type organisations, people at lower levels of the organisation are involved in decision making and have more responsibility.

Contingency theories

Fiedler’s contingency model

The Fiedler Contingency Model asks you to think about your natural leadership style, and the situations in which it will be most effective. The model says that leaders are either task-focused, or relationship-focused. Once you understand your style, it says that you can match it to situations in which that style is most effective.

Fiedler’s model consists of 3 primary elements:

Leader-Member Relations – This is the level of trust and confidence that your team has in you. A leader who is more trusted and has more influence with the group is in a more favourable situation than a leader who is not trusted.

Task Structure – This refers to the type of task you’re doing: clear and structured, or vague and unstructured. Unstructured tasks, or tasks where the team and leader have little knowledge of how to achieve them, are viewed unfavourably.

Leader’s Position Power – This is the amount of power you have to direct the group, and provide reward or punishment. The more power you have, the more favourable your situation. Fiedler identifies power as being either strong or weak.

There are some criticisms of the Fiedler Contingency Model. One of the biggest is lack of flexibility. Fiedler believed that because our natural leadership style is fixed, the most effective way to handle situations is to change the leader. He didn’t allow for flexibility in leaders.

Hersey-Blanchard Situational Leadership

The Hersey-Blanchard situational leadership theory states that instead of using just one style, successful leaders should change their leadership styles based on the maturity of the people they’re leading and the details of the task. Using this theory, leaders should be able to place more or less emphasis on the task, and more or less emphasis on the relationships with the people they’re leading, depending on what’s needed to get the job done successfully.

We will look at situational leadership more close later on.

Transformational Leadership

The leadership style called “transformational leadership” is often the most effective approach to use. Transformational leaders have integrity, they inspire people with a shared vision of the future, they set clear goals, they motivate people towards these goals, they manage delivery, and they communicate well with their teams.

Transformational leaders are inspiring because they expect the best from everyone on their team as well as themselves. This leads to high productivity and engagement from everyone in their team.

In many organisations, both transactional and transformational leadership styles are useful. Transactional leaders (or managers) ensure that routine work is done reliably, while transformational leaders look after initiatives that add new value.

It’s also important to use other leadership styles when necessary – this will depend on the people you’re leading and the situation that you’re in.

Tannenbaum and Schmidt’s continuum

The Tannenbaum and Schmidt Continuum is a simple model of leadership theory which shows the relationship between the level of freedom that a manager chooses to give to a team, and the level of authority used by the manager. As the team’s freedom is increased, so the manager’s authority decreases. This is a positive way for both teams and managers to develop.

Over time, a manager should aim to take the team from one end to the other, up the scale, at which point you should also aim to have developed one or a number of potential successors from within your team to take over from you.

When examining and applying the Tannenbaum and Schmidt principles, it’s extremely important to remember: irrespective of the amount of responsibility and freedom delegated by a manager to a team, the manager retains accountability for any catastrophic problems that result. Delegating freedom and decision-making responsibility to a team absolutely does not absolve the manager of accountability.

That’s why delegating, whether to teams or individuals, requires a very grown-up manager. If everything goes well, the team must get the credit; if it all goes horribly wrong, the manager must take the blame. This is entirely fair, because the manager is ultimately responsible for judging the seriousness of any given situation – including the risks entailed – and the level of freedom that can safely be granted to the team to deal with it. This is not actually part of the Tannebaum and Schmidt Continuum, but it’s vital to apply this philosophy or the model will definitely be weakened, or at worse completely back-fire.

Here are the Tannenbaum and Schmidt Continuum levels of delegated freedom, with some added explanation that should make it easier to understand and apply.

1.The Manager decides and announces the decision

The manager reviews options in light of aims, issues, priorities, timescale, etc., then decides the action and informs the team of the decision. The manager will probably have considered how the team will react, but the team plays no active part in making the decision. The team may well perceive that the manager has not considered the team’s welfare at all. This is seen by the team as a purely task-based decision, which is generally a characteristic of X-Theory management style.

2.The manager decides and then ‘sells’ the decision to the group

The manager makes the decision as in 1 above, and then explains reasons for the decision to the team, particularly the positive benefits that the team will enjoy from the decision. In so doing the manager is seen by the team to recognise the team’s importance, and to have some concern for the team.

3.The manager presents the decision with background ideas and invites questions

The manager presents the decision along with some of the background which led to the decision. The team is invited to ask questions and discuss with the manager the rationale behind the decision, which enables the team to understand and accept or agree with the decision more easily than in 1 and 2 above. This more participative and involving approach enables the team to appreciate the issues and reasons for the decision, and the implications of all the options. This will have a more motivational approach than 1 or 2 because of the higher level of team involvement and discussion.

4.The manager suggests a provisional decision and invites discussion about it

The manager discusses and reviews the provisional decision with the team on the basis that the manager will take on board the views and then finally decide. This enables the team to have some real influence over the shape of the manager’s final decision. This also acknowledges that the team has something to contribute to the decision-making process, which is more involving and therefore motivating than the previous level.

5.The manager presents the situation or problem, gets suggestions, then decides

The manager presents the situation, and maybe some options, to the team. The team is encouraged and expected to offer ideas and additional options, and discuss implications of each possible course of action. The manager then decides which option to take. This level is one of high and specific involvement for the team, and is appropriate particularly when the team has more detailed knowledge or experience of the issues than the manager. Being high-involvement and high-influence for the team this level provides more motivation and freedom than any previous level.

6.The manager explains the situation, defines the parameters and asks the team to decide

At this level the manager has effectively delegated responsibility for the decision to the team, albeit within the manager’s stated limits. The manager may or may not choose to be a part of the team which decides. While this level appears to gives a huge responsibility to the team, the manager can control the risk and outcomes to an extent, according to the constraints that he stipulates. This level is more motivational than any previous, and requires a mature team for any serious situation or problem. (Remember that the team must get the credit for all the positive outcomes from the decision, while the manager remains accountable for any resulting problems or disasters. This isn’t strictly included in the original Tannenbaum and Schmidt definitions, so it needs pointing out because it’s such an important aspect of delegating and motivating, and leadership.)

7.The manager allows the team to identify the problem, develop the options, and decide on the action, within the manager’s received limits

This is obviously an extreme level of freedom, whereby the team is effectively doing what the manager did in level 1. The team is given responsibility for identifying and analysing the situation or problem; the process for resolving it; developing and assessing options; evaluating implications, and then deciding on and implementing a course of action. The manager also states in advance that he/she will support the decision and help the team implement it. The manager may or may not be part of the team, and if so then he/she has no more authority than anyone else in the team. The only constraints and parameters for the team are the ones that the manager had imposed on him from above. (Again, the manager retains accountability for any resulting disasters, while the team must get the credit for all successes.) This level is potentially the most motivational of all, but also potentially the most disastrous. Not surprisingly the team must be mature and competent, and capable of acting at what is a genuinely strategic decision-making level.

Leadership Styles

Some basic leadership styles:


Frequently described as autocratic. Tells people what to do and expects them to jump to it.


Seeks input from others and participates in the decision-making process.


A hands-off approach allowing for both initiative and the latitude to determine process to effect an outcome


A fluid style that takes into consideration the context of the environment and the individual being led.

Using the techniques of Leadership

Situational leadership®

Situational Leadership® is a concept developed by Paul Hersey, an internationally recognised leading authority on training and development in leadership and management and Kenneth Blanchard, an American author and management expert. Generally when referring to the concept it is safer and correct to show the name as a registered protected trademark as it relates to business and products by Hersey and Blanchard.

Looking at ‘Directive Behaviour’ whereby the leader gives clear defined and detailed instructions, and ‘Supportive Behaviour’ where the leader gives people the freedom to make decisions and support them in their efforts, Hersey and Blanchard moved away from the idea of shifting on a line between the two and consider good leadership as a combination of both.

The idea is that the way of combination will vary according to the person being dealt with by the leader, and the situation on which that person operates, hence the term – Situational Leadership®.

The notable features of this model are briefly that the model: focuses on followers (individual team members), rather than wider workplace circumstances; emphasise that leaders should change their behaviour according to the type of followers; proposes a progression of leadership adaptation in response to the development of followers.

By combining high and low levels of each type of behaviour we progress towards four distinct styles of leadership.

Group type
Low competence / High commitment

Some competence / Low commitment

High competence / Variable commitment
High competence / High commitment

Appropriate leadership styles for each development level:

Development Level
Appropriate Leadership Style
Low competence / High commitment
(Structure, control and supervise)
Some competence / Low commitment
(Direct and support)
High competence / Variable commitment
(Praise, listen and facilitate)
High competence / High commitment
(turn over responsibility for day-to-day decision making)

Directing:The leader provides specific instructions and closely supervises the task. This style is appropriate for people who lack skill but are committed and eager to learn or those who do not want responsibility and want clear, specific instructions.

Coaching:The leader gives some direction and supervision because team members, although they have some competence and commitment, are still relatively inexperienced, therefore require further development. They need support and praise to boost their self-esteem. Their involvement in
decision making assists with the development process.

Supporting:Even though team members do not need much direction, good support by the leader is still necessary to motivate and boost confidence.

Delegating:Team members are both competent and committed therefore leader can give them responsibility for decision making and problem solving with little supervision or support.

Power in Organisation Leadership

Leadership and power are closely linked. Powerful people are normally those that others follow, so they become the leaders.

The five bases of power were identified by John French and Bertram Raven in the early 1960’s through a study they had conducted on power in leadership roles. The study showed how different types of power affected one’s leadership ability and success in a leadership role.

They identified five bases of power:

1.Legitimate:This comes from the belief that a person has the formal right to make demands, and to expect compliance and obedience from others.

2.Reward:This results from one person’s ability to compensate another for compliance.

3.Expert:This is based on a person’s superior skill and knowledge.

4.Referent:This is the result of a person’s perceived attractiveness, worthiness, and right to respect from others.

5.CoerciveThis comes from the belief that a person can punish others for noncompliance.

If you’re aware of these sources of power, you can…

Better understand why you’re influenced by someone, and decide whether you want to accept the base of power being used. Recognise your own sources of power.
Build your leadership skills by using and developing your own sources of power, appropriately, and for best effect.


The first task of any leader is to inspire trust. Trust is confidence born of two dimensions: character and competence. Character includes your integrity, motive, and intent with people. Competence includes your capabilities, skills, results, and track record. Both dimensions are vital.

The foundation of trust is your own credibility, and it can be a real differentiator for any leader. A person’s reputation is a direct reflection of their credibility, and it precedes them in any interactions or negotiations they might have.

Behaviours you can adopt to build trust in yourself:

Talk Straight
Demonstrate Respect
Create Transparency
Right Wrongs
Show Loyalty
Deliver Results
Get Better
Confront Reality
Clarify Expectation
Practice Accountability
Listen First
Keep Commitments
Extend Trust


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