Leadership and Management Essay

Pages: 7 (1973 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 10  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Leadership

Leadership and Management

There is a lot of confusion and debate around the topics of leadership and management. These two terms have often been interchanged and there is not much clarity in research with the management literature using varied definitions. Organizational management consultants and Human resource professionals are considering it not just an academic debate but also an important issue that could affect the workplace significantly. There are certain similarities and differences between the leader and the manager. As Bernard Bass, the well-known management professor and famed author said, "Leaders manage and managers lead, but the two activities are not synonymous…. Management functions can potentially provide leadership; leadership activities can contribute to managing. Nevertheless, some managers do not lead, and some leaders do not manage." [Peter Coutts]

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Though the traits can be broadly overlapping, the following distinctions between manager and leader have been put forward by management researchers. The manager is a person who administers and maintains the functioning of the system while the leader is the one who develops and innovates. [Peter Coutts] the manager plans and uses the resources to accomplish the organizational goals, while the leader gives direction and the goal. While the manager uses his power and position to control, the leader elicits respect and followership by his character. The leader has a vision and inspires others to realize that vision. In short, leadership is all about effecting a change while management is more concerned with productivity and efficient delivery of the process.

TOPIC: Essay on Leadership and Management There Is a Lot Assignment

However, these distinctions cannot be plainly applied into categorizing the manager and the leader. It is well understood now that the character traits and skills of a manager and the leader broadly overlap. The manager has to have effective leadership skills while the leader should have managerial skills. For instance, defining the manager as a person solely concerned with optimizing the resources and productivity without any vision and empathy seems a totally wronged philosophy. The same applies the other way around. A leader with the vision but without an inkling of practicality cannot be a 'better leader'. [Mulhauser]

For an individual to have good leadership skills as well as sharp managerial acumen is considered a great boon for any organization. Typically however, organizations are more bent on the managerial side at the expense of leadership. As (Kotter, 1995) revealed, organizations are mostly 'over managed and under-led'. [Kotterman James] Most huge corporations hire leadership consultants separately to groom their managers even though they are mostly restrained in their leadership capacity. It is important to appreciate that though there are distinctive differences between the functions of a manager and a leader they are not mutually exclusive traits. A leader with good managerial skills and a manager with the vision and influence of a leader would be an ideal mix for any organization.

2 Effective and Ineffective leader: Influence Tactics

Effective leadership is the hallmark of any successful organization. A leader should possess good team management skills. This essentially involves the ability to influence people to create a more productive workforce. Change management is an integral part of the today's corporate world. A good leader should have the ability to influence people to move forward and to implement new and productive decisions. [Anita Hall] This could only succeed if the leader is able to obtain the support of the fellow staff. Therefore, a good leader is invariably a good influencer. By influencing people working with him, a leader is able to cut through the resistance to change and increase the group effectiveness.

A wide array of influence tactics are available for the leader to persuade people to change or adapt their behaviors in the desired fashion. An effective leader will carefully assess the situation and use the appropriate form of influence tactic to effect the necessary changes with the least resistance. Soft tactics such as 'personal appeal', 'rational persuasion', 'ingratiation' and 'inspirational appeal' would be enough in some situations but more forceful methods such as 'legitimating', 'pressure', 'coalitions', 'coercion' etc. would be appropriate for other circumstances. [Anita Hall] Soft tactics create a 'favorable follower attitude' while coercive hard tactics may result in compliance without any transformation in the attitude. [California State University] 'Inspirational appeal' and 'consultation' are likely the two most effective tools of influence used by an effective leader. A great leader is one who is able to arouse the emotional fervor of the people. Consultation makes the employees more participative giving them the sense of responsibility. This is supposedly one of the best methods to elicit a positive response.

An effective leader would be one who masters the nuances of these persuasive methods and uses them in the most effective way. On the other hand, if a leader does not appreciate the intricacies of influence tactics, he is bound to use methods that are not particularly well suited for the situation at hand resulting in more resistance to change. A careful understanding of the Pull or push tactics is a key to successful leadership. The key to productivity is an inspired workforce. A good leader would not hold his appreciation, as there is no better tonic than a genuine praise. Using threats and punishments are not going to work well as they fail to inspire the workforce. In the long run, coercive methods will contribute to lower employee morale and result in less productivity. A good leader makes sure that there is a positive working climate. An effective leader is one who is adept in using the influence tactics to realize the objective while the failure to do an effective situational assessment and the use of inappropriate influence tactics (typically coercive and hard methods) bears the mark of an ineffective leader.

3 IntraPersonal and Interpersonal Skills

Intrapersonal skills refer to the different aspects of self-management such as self-regulation, self-motivation, stress management, anger management and emotional intelligence of a person. Intrapersonal skills are basically self-management skills that are very essential in order to have healthy social interaction. Good intrapersonal skills imply lesser internal conflict, and overall better management of stressful situations. [Morton McPhail, (2007)] Intra-personal skills are learnt very early in childhood and hence have a large role to play in shaping the future of a person. A good leader will have good intra-personal skills as only a person who is able to manage himself well can attempt to manage others. Psychologists identify two main components of intra-personal skills. The first of which involve 'self-esteem', 'emotional security' and 'resiliency'. The second component is 'self-control'. People with good intra-personal skills (self-esteem and self-control) are generally responsible, trustworthy, good tempered and are ideal candidates for leadership roles. [Morton McPhail, (2007)] Since intrapersonal skills are garnered during childhood and adolescence, interventions should primarily target this population. Any intervention that motivates children to self-analyze their beliefs will help to develop their intra-personal knowledge. A recent study by the University of Calgary confirmed that a six-week participation in the Teen Leadership Breakthrough (TLB) program improved the emotional intelligence and self-esteem of the subjects significantly. [Yvonne et.al (2008)]

Interpersonal skills refer to the communication and the relationship skills between individuals in a group or an organization. Good intra-personal skills developed during childhood constitute an excellent foundation for developing interpersonal skills in a social setting. From an organizational perspective, communication is vital for the smooth performance, optimizing productivity and achieving the strategic objectives of the concern. A good leader would possess excellent interpersonal skills and have a good disposition towards people who may be from diverse cultural and demographic backgrounds. A person with good interpersonal skills would be affable and have the ability to develop sustained relationships. [ Morton McPhail, (2007)] Good interpersonal skills are crucial for handling conflict situations. A person with good interpersonal skills would not hesitate in exploring alternative solutions to a given problem and only then make a decision. Even when such a decision is disagreeable to some, a leader with good interpersonal skills would explain the reason for the decision, and most importantly, not fail to acknowledge the right to have differing opinions. [Geritt Muller, (2009)]

Intra-personal and inter-personal skills are both important for forming and maintaining good relationships in any social setting. In the globalised world where we witness the convergence of different cultures and people from diverse cultural backgrounds working together, the leader should not only possess effective team management skills, but also be culturally sensitive. Developing this ability is also part of the interpersonal skill set of today's managers.

4 Formalization: Advantages and Disadvantages

Formalization implies a structured process with neatly defined roles. Formalization "denotes the extent to which rules, procedures, instructions, and communications are written." [David K. Banner, 1994] a formal organization is one in which "roles, resources and technology are coordinated to achieve a goal by means of a process that is formalized through written rules and procedures." [Geoffrey Johnstone, 2004 ] a formalized organization has 'levels of authority'. Typically, in formal organizations supervisors enjoy greater level of authority and control over subordinates. Since a formal organization is a hierarchical setup, it… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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