“Both management and leadership are needed to make teams and organisations successful. Trying to decide which is more important is like trying to decide whether the right or left wing is more important to an airplane’s flight. I’ll take both please!” (Clemmer, 2005, as cited in McLean, 2005, p.16). The aim of this essay is to answer the age old question as to whether management or leadership is more important to an organisation. Organisations, ranging from professional to social, have been in existence for centuries and the sole purpose of any of these organisations is to grow and succeed.
Thus, it is without a doubt that any organisation would accomplish much without a source of management or leadership. Even though it is evident that both management and leadership are both fundamental to a successful organisation, a distinction between the two should be made; although they are both similar in definition and function they do differ in importance in and effect on organisations.
It is contended that the implementation of good management has a greater benefit, and therefore has more importance, to an organisation than leadership because: leading is considered as an element of the management function; to manage an organisation is to sustain it whereas to lead is to direct it but if there is no management, there is no entity, which leaves nothing for leaders to lead; leadership is focused on the management of people but an organisation is made up of more than just people; and also the value of leadership depends deeply on the structure and size of the organisation in question. The term ‘good’ is often used to describe something of quality and skill; thus, good management simply means management that is of the highest quality and is effective in producing the greatest results for an organisation: “Excellent results stem from a combination of skilled management, strategic thought and a good dose of general common sense” (Honig, 1999, as cited in Samson & Daft, 2009, p.14).
Every workplace organisation, whether large or small, has a manager or person in charge; whether the appointed person is able to implement good management depends on their skill and capability. Management is the major task of any manager – it involves the use of authority to coordinate and supervise the activities of others and to ensure that tasks are being completed in an effective and efficient manner. More importantly, managers must implement the four key elements of management: planning, organising, leading and controlling in order to attain organisational goals (Bartol, Tein, Matthews & Sharma, 2008). Organisational goals, whether they are sales targets or technological developments, are put in place by managers to set out the purpose and scope of an entity. Without such goals an organisation would cease to exist as there would be no direction to grow or move forward. The process of setting goals and deciding how to achieve them is the planning aspect of the management function (Bartol et al., 2008).
If effective management is employed, there is a greater likelihood of managers establishing better organisational goals and contingency plans to ensure the future and success of the organisation; because it will not only be goal directed but will also be prepared for unforeseen circumstances that may arise, enabling them to react effectively and efficiently (Samson & Daft, 2009). Good management also assists in the successful implementation of action plans to achieve such organisational goals by organising, allocating, arranging and regulating activities and resources within the workplace (Bartol et al., 2008). Leading and managing are terms often used interchangeably because leading is described as a core activity of any manager (McLean, 2005). Leadership involves managers using influence to motivate employees to engage in plans that work towards achieving organisational goals (Bartol et al., 2008; Samson & Daft, 2009).
This suggests that leadership is intertwined within the task of management. So if good management practices are in place in an organisation, leadership is expected to follow in existence. However, the mistake should not be made to describe leadership and management as the same thing – “leadership is an element of management but is not the same thing” (Lyson cited in Robinson, 1999, p.20). To say that leading and managing is the same would be to ultimately say planning and managing is the same thing; nevertheless, planning is only a function of management, as is leading. Therefore, if an organisation were given a choice between employing either a good manager or a good leader, the good manager would be the safer bet because it would be expected that a good manager encompasses good leadership. Furthermore, the importance of and need for management in a workplace is supported by the idea that organisations are established to succeed and innovate and such is not possible without the planning and setting of organisational goals and the attainment of these goals by organising, leading and controlling.
Once good management is in practice, the four key functions, including leadership, are sure to be carried out effectively and efficiently. The profitability of an organisation is not a result of good management on its own; however, management is a major contributing factor. Every organisation is goal directed, and as ascribed earlier, management is the attainment of organisational goals with the use of planning, organising, leading and controlling (Bartol et al., 2008). The organisational goals act as an entity’s reason for existence, it strives to achieve these goals in order to grow and accomplish. Therefore it can be concluded that the focus of any organisation is to grow and move forward rather than to remain stationary and unproductive and thus there is an assumption that the life of the entity will be on going.
The survival of an organisation depends on the ability of the manager to sustain it by utilizing the effective skills of good management. The manager is responsible for making informed decisions about the welfare of the organisation along with the collective resources owned. These decisions aim to not only achieve goals but to sustain and up hold the organisation to ensure its survival in today’s dynamic environment. Thus there is emphasis on an organisation to have good management in order for the entity to survive, which also acts to highlight the importance of effective management. On the other hand, leadership is implemented as the principle dynamic force to guide and motivate subordinates to attain organisational objectives (Burns, 1978, as cited in Shamas & Ofori, 2008) and ultimately bring change to an organisation as more goals are satisfied. If effective leadership is exercised within an organisation, innovation, change and transformation are easily attainable (Bartol et al., 2008).
Alternatively, Slap (2010) asserts that although leadership profits and adds value to an organisation by way of innovation, it is not the purpose of introducing leadership. Rather, leadership is used as a tool to share and express important values and experiences to employees in an attempt to bring about an improved change in the workplace environment and in the attitudes held by employees. Leadership in this sense allows leaders to be more easily respected upon employees because they feel more connected with the leader, which also gives the leader greater influence to motivate and encourage hard work. Nevertheless, whichever way leadership is regarded the end result remains the same: innovation of an organisation by way of providing direction to accomplish objectives (Bass, 1990, as cited in Shamas & Ofori, 2008).
“A leader innovates; a manager maintains” (Hollingsworth, as cited in Robinson, 1999, p.20); without effective management to keep the organisation alive it is likely to fail, and consequently leaders will be left taskless – there will be no goals left to achieve, no employees left to motivate and ultimately no organisation left to innovate. This strongly recognises the importance of good management and the added advantage it brings to an organisation; without good management, good leadership will be ineffective and futile. On the contrary, leadership is often considered as a much more pleasant concept in comparison to that of management: “leaders are seen as charismatic and often are admired and held in high esteem, managers frequently are thought of as the organization’s taskmasters with a whip in one hand and a bullhorn for screaming out orders in the other hand” (Kotterman, 2006, p. 13). Zaleznik (1977) and Burns (1978), as cited in Nienaber (2010), portray management as “mundane, uninspiring and tactical by nature” and in addition, asserting that management alone cannot guarantee the success of an organisation.
Consequently, it has been argued that leadership should be favoured at the expense of management in a successful organisation (Spurgeon & Cragg, 2007, as cited in Nienaber, 2010). One of the most important aspects of leadership is the leaders’ followers (Bennis, 1989, as cited in Shamas & Ofori, 2008). Iscoe (2005, as cited in McLean, 2005) argues that people would rather follow a leader than a manger, if given the option; this is not surprising as leaders tend to focus more on the people rather than any other aspect of the organisation because in order for a leader to effectively influence and lead others they must work to gain the trust and respect of their followers. Thus, there are various positive reasons as to why leaders are commended over managers among the people, some of which are highlighted in Maccoby (2000), as cited in Shamas & Ofori (2008)., p.63: “hope of success, trust in the leader, excitement about a project or mission, or the opportunity to stretch oneself to the limit”. Unlike management, leadership is not an assigned role or title placed on someone.
The task of managing a corporation is specific to the teams of managers who are formally appointed the position whereas leaders can stem from any sector of an organisation. Therefore, managers are associated with formal authority (McLean, 2005) which means people secondary to them in the organisational hierarchy may view managers as intimidating and unapproachable which further emphasises why leaders are more favourable in an organisation. Yet in reality, success isn’t easily achievable and so in order to attain it, compromise must occur. An organisation cannot survive on leadership alone, because although a leader may possess few managerial qualities, they are unable to satisfy all the tasks of a manager. Nevertheless, as every workplace organisation involves employees, it is evident that leadership is a fundamental aspect of any entity because leaders are responsible for managing the people.
However, organisations are about more than just the workers, which illustrates the prevailing importance of managers to control all the remaining aspects of an organisation such as goals, plans, assets and resources. As previously mentioned, every organisation involves employees. The McDonalds restaurant is the largest fast food chain in the world, operating over 30,000 franchises in over 100 countries worldwide. It was revealed in the 2010 McDonalds annual report that the organisation employs over 1.7 million workers from all age groups across their stores. In enormous corporations such as McDonalds, with such a vast number of employees, it is expected that both leaders and managers are equally essential in running the organisation because there is an equally enormous number of duties to be satisfied. However, in contrast, a small, family-owned, local milk bar may only have, at most, three employees.
Clearly leadership is not as important in an organisation of three people in comparison to that of one with over one million people, simply because such a minute organisation does not require such a deep extent of leadership. However, it is not to say that the manager of the milk bar should not possess leadership qualities because even though there are very few employees, motivation and communication of direction must still take place (Nienaber, 2010) in order for the business to thrive. Although both management and leadership are both important functions of an organisation, a number of moderating factors determine the effectiveness and importance of leadership including size of the organisation (Fiedler, 1967; Gardner et al., 2005, as cited in Shamas and Ofori, 2008) whereas, regardless of size or type, every organisation needs a person in charge.
In other words, management is important and is needed in every organisation but the extent to which leadership is needed varies among different organisations. Conclusively, although leadership and management are functions that must be applied to any successful organisation, effective management has prevailing importance. Theoretically, management is defined as the attainment of organisational goals through planning, organising, leading and controlling (Bartol et al., 2008). Thus it is clear that leadership is encompassed in the task of management so if a manager can perform their task effectively, leadership is likely to follow. However the reverse is not true, as to lead is to influence, direct and motivate others to achieve goals, not to control so management is not a facet of leadership.
Management is often considered as a control mechanism in an organisation which some tend to find intimidating and off putting which is why leadership is usually the preferred, softer option (Kotterman, 2006). However, the focus of leaders is often on the people but people are obviously just one aspect of an organisation which is why managers are more important because there are so many other features of an organisation to be controlled. By influencing people to complete tasks effectively and efficiently, leaders bring about change and innovation in an organisation.
However, without management acting to sustain organisations in today’s turbulent environment, there is simply no place left for a leader (Hollingsworth, as cited in Robinson, 1999). Finally, the essentiality of leadership in an organisation depends greatly on the size and type of a corporation whereas management is equally important in any and all organisations. These points clearly demonstrate that good management is more important to a successfully running organisation than good leadership. All in all, if an organisation were given an ultimatum between a good manager and a good leader, the good manager is likely to prevail.
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Importance of Management and Leadership for an Organization. (2017, Jun 03). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/importance-of-management-and-leadership-for-an-organization-essay