Leadership Management Literature Abounds With Stories Term Paper

Pages: 5 (1436 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Leadership


Management literature abounds with stories of great leaders and the influence they exercised on their organizations. Indeed, the importance of Lee Iaccoca to Chrysler, Mary Kay to Mary Kay Cosmetics, Walt Disney to Walt Disney Company and many more such celebrity leaders to their respective organizations is now legend in management circles (Harris, 1993, p. 370). Yet, it appears that there is no single leadership theory, which can satisfactorily explain what effective leadership is. This is because the reality of leadership is quite complex (Chemers, 1997, p.1). For instance, effective leadership is commonly confused with managerial abilities, whereas, in point of fact, there are important distinctions. It is the objective of this paper to describe the difference between leadership and management, followed by an examination of the role responsibility of leaders in creating and maintaining a healthy organizational culture.

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All organizational survival is a question of balance between stability on the one hand and responsiveness to a dynamic environment on the other. For instance, the development of efficient standardized operating procedures enhances reliability and productivity. However, since most organizations need to quickly respond to an evolving and competitive environment, internal structures and resources must also be amenable to facilitating external adaptability functions. Thus, it is evident that leaders must play a central role in helping organizations develop appropriate policies and systems for meeting both internal goals and external demands. Since organizations are nothing but a group or groups of people working together, this means that the leadership function really involves coordinating the efforts of people. It follows, therefore, that the development of a healthy organizational culture, which allows for teamwork, achievement of goals, problem solving, innovation, and creativity, is integral to effective leadership (Chemers, 1997, p. 4-5).

TOPIC: Term Paper on Leadership Management Literature Abounds With Stories of Assignment

The leadership responsibilities described above, in fact, indicate the first fundamental difference between leadership and managerial skills. And that is, one of perspective. As Harris (1993, p. 372) points out, the four broad functions of planning, organizing, leading, and controlling are clearly important management skills in leading others. but, there are important distinctions between leadership and management. One such distinction is that leaders must necessarily focus on innovation and change, whereas managers need, and usually do, concentrate only on creating stability, harmony, and constancy. In fact, it is this primary distinction that has probably led to the view that "managers are people who do things right and leaders are people who do the right things."

If leadership is about "doing the right thing," it implies that a leader has to understand the environment and an organization's needs and adapt his or her individual style accordingly. Indeed, perhaps it is the recognition of this fact that led Peter Drucker, the famous management guru, to observe that "leaders grow; they are not made." As against this, traditional management behavior tends to maintain the status quo (Harris, 1993, p. 372).

In fact, it is not enough for a leader to personally adapt to the contingencies of a given situation. for, organizational change management can only be successful when the people in an organization are equally responsive and flexible. Therefore, it follows that leadership involves building a relationship with people that results in highly motivated, mission-oriented, and goal-directed team members. Indeed, it is precisely this aspect of the leadership function that has led to the key features of productive leader-follower relationships being described as coaching, judgment, and transactional exchange (Chemers, 1997, p. 155).

Interestingly, the need for leadership to affect change by motivating and training the people in an organization leads to the philosophy of delegation and empowerment. This philosophy, in turn, earmarks another important difference between leadership and management: "Leaders work towards empowerment of subordinates whereas managers concentrate on developing power rather than people." (Harris, 1993, p. 374) Again, a difference in the focus of leadership and management is apparent here. This difference in focus manifests itself in other areas as well. For example, a leader is more conscious of the need to manage his or her image among the rank and file in an organization, whereas a manager's image management is usually targeted at his or her seniors.

Leadership's image management focus also involves establishing a legitimate basis for attempts to influence others, which has been identified by a wide body of leadership research studies as building a relationship based on honesty… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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