Management versus LeadershipLeadership means a person could be alone in his or her initial vision, and it implies some risk. These people are innovators. Their job is to inspire others to see and believe in the vision and goals of the organization or initiative.
Management means responsibility for administration of a plan or carrying out the plan or initiative through others.
Leadership…What is it?According to Dubrin (2010), leaders inspire others to follow them in realizing goals. Depending on the organization or team of people being led, the definition can have different nuances. A famous U.S. football quarterback once said that a leader is the one willing to “take the blame” (as cited in Dubrin, 2010, p. 3).
Leaders can move whole nations to action. One example of this is Winston Churchill’s famous radio broadcasts (as Prime Minister) in the United Kingdom duringWorldWar II (1939–
1945). On the brink of defeat in the campaign against Germany, Churchill refused to be conquered or accept anything less than total surrender from the enemy. His broadcasts and speeches inspired the entirety of the nation to keep on fighting. However, Churchill also risked ridicule at the very beginning of the war when he warned the public of the threat of Hitler’s
ambitions in Europe.
Sometimes a leader can be a visionary such as Steve Jobs at Apple®. Jobs pioneered a vision of streamlined products that interacted in a user-friendly manner. His penchant for simplified or sleek design of the company products in response to consumer needs drove industry growth and inspired competitors.
Executive skills needed by leaders according to Hackman andWalton (1986) are: being able to see and communicate the big picture or the end goal to others, negotiating for needed resources, making good decisions after consulting all available data and viewpoints, empowering others to develop and learn, and working well with a diverse range of people to accomplish goals (Hickman, 2010, p.222).
One great individual possessing these leadership skills was former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln. He assembled a cabinet of people around him who, in some cases, had initially been his adversaries, but he knew that having a diverse range of thought, talent, and debate would benefit both the country and his ability to make good decisions. He also would tell story after story to drive home an idea or make his argument and sway opinion to his side. The public could relate to him because these were stories they could all understand and which were based on common sense and everyday day life. He also timed his decisions so that he would propose a new law or announce a decision when he knew the public was ready for it, and as a result they were able to accept it (Goodwin, 2005).
As we move into the 21st Century, leadership is becoming increasingly more collaborative. As the world becomes more globalized, and thus more complex, so too does the nature of leadership. Collaborative leadership is based on the idea that no one has all the answers and expertise at everything. Now the leader becomes more of a facilitator, empowering and motivating the team (Hickman, 2010). This type of leadership is characterized by fostering diversity and learning, soliciting feedback and opinions of the group, and supporting the group’s decisions. It also involves mentoring team members and empowering others to lead special project or assignment teams. However, this collaborative leadership model must be balanced with the need for timely decision-making as the pace of business increases with globalization and increased productivity through the use of technology.
Leadership StylesThere are various leadership styles. See if you can recognize your leadership style from this list:
The Transactional Leader: Employees comply with the leader’s requests, and they are judged on performance and paid accordingly. These leaders want to change things for the better and work through their employees to accomplish the goal. A version of this style is the task-oriented leader who really discounts team input in order to get the job done on a timely basis. The latter style results in higher turnover and absenteeism.
The Autocratic Leader: This leadership style is efficient. The leader tells the employees or team what needs to be done; team members are expected to comply without any questioning whether the action is the best way to accomplish the goals. This style can lead to high turnover, but it can be effective in military situations and some unskilled positions.
The Charismatic versus Transformational Leader: The charismatic leader has a personality that inspires others. Such leaders are excited about the goals and, as a result, they can motivate others. However, their excitement may make them driven but oblivious to empowering others or oblivious to the pitfalls of their strategies. Steve Jobs would be an example of a charismatic leader. When Steve Jobs was not at the company he helped found, Apple, Inc., the company floundered.While the transformational leader is admired by employees and therefore influences employees behavior. These leaders are risk takers while instilling a sense of mission and zeal in their employees. These leaders coach each employee and act as mentors to inspire and empower their employees. They provide clear guidelines for both behavior and expectations as well as goals and how to get there. But they encourage employees to be innovative in reaching those goals.
Bureaucratic Leaders versus Participative Leaders versus Laissez faire leaders:Bureaucratic leaders follow the rules verbatim, which is good when the goal is safety (toxins and dangerous machinery for instance). However, this style stifles any creativity or career advancement based on anything other than abiding by the rules.
The participative leader allows team decision-making and reaches team consensus to move forward, which in turn empowers the team and can lead to better decisions. The downside of this style is that it is not efficient.When time is of the essence this is not an advantageous style.
The extreme version of this style can be people first type of style where the leader loses track of the goal in their quest to better the team.
Laissez faire is French for, let do or act, meaning this leader really lets everyone do as they wish. It is really non–leadership. This form of leadership is more likely to occur in a startup company where someone is designated the leader but, in essence, everyone involved is deciding and doing. This is not an effective leadership style, as ultimately it leads to conflict and, at worst, it can stymie an organization and the employees from effectively reaching their goals.
Leadership Styles:The reality is that most leaders use a variety of styles at various points. However, there is usually a predominant leadership style.
ReferencesBass, B. M. & Riggio, R. E. (2010). The transformation model of leadership. In G. R. Hickman (Ed.), Leading Organizations: Perspectives for a new era (pp.76–85). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE
Dubrin, A. J. (2010). Leadership: Research findings, practice, and skills (6th ed.). Mason, OH: Cengage.
Goodwin, D.K. (2005). Team of rivals. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.
Hackman, J.R. (2010). Leading teams: Imperatives for leaders. In G. R. Hickman (Ed.), Leading organizations: Perspectives for a new era. (pp. 206–238). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE
Hickman, G. R. Ed. (2010). Leading organizations: Perspectives for a new era (2nd ed.).
Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE
Hicks, D. A. (2010). Globalization. In G. R. Hickman (Ed.), Leading organizations: Perspectives for a new era. (pp. 14–20). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE