In businesses and organizations, the ideas behind the terms management and leadership are often tagged as having the same meaning. The two terms are interchanged frequently with respect to their functions and uses.
As there is no doubt that today’s business landscape has changed, it is important to discern the differences between managers and leaders. The reasons for the changes in business landscape do not only include the technological shift in business operations, or the effects of economic decline.
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One primary reason for the change in business perspective is that it has become enormously global in scope, and with this change, businesses are confronted with many forms of diversity. As such, it is vital for businesses and organizations to know whether they need managers or leaders.
Leadership is considered as one of the aspects of good management. This means that leadership is an asset or an attribute for an effective management in an organization. On the other hand, management is a function in any organization, which includes problem solving and facilitation of meetings and traditional administrative duties. These duties may not necessarily be done by only one person. The duties may be divided through teams designated with the different functions of the organization.
The teams may share responsibilities in order to obtain performance targets. This proves that a manager is not a necessity to achieve good management. However, there are also some situations where leadership is not required in an organization. There could be self-motivated teams who find leaders as dominating a working atmosphere. This proves that leadership is just an asset and not a prerequisite to having a successful organization.
The basic difference between management and leadership is how the two concepts are executed. Managers often do things by the book or according to the policies of an organization. On the other hand, leaders do things by following their own instinct or judgment, which dictates what may be the best for an organization. In many cases, a manager is not necessarily the leader of a team or a division in an organization.
A subordinate member often leads other team members through distinct talents and natural leadership. However, this scenario often implies conflict between the “natural leader” and the manager since the manager may see his subordinate as a threat to his authority.
According to the book, Business Leadership written by Joan Gallos, management and leadership differs primarily in their functions. Management deals with complexity while leadership deals with change. The practices and methods in management are mostly responses to the rise of huge organizations. Having poor management may lead to chaos within such complex organizations and threaten their existence. More so, encompassing good management may bring a certain level of consistency in terms of quality of products and services.
On the other hand, leadership, as mentioned earlier, deals with change. Its importance is primarily due to factors including technological change, changes in demographics of employees, market deregulations, and greater international competition among others. (Gallos, 2008) Thus, the more changes transpire, the higher the demand in leadership.
The different functions of both management and leadership make up their characteristic activities. Although their functions involve decision making, interaction with people, and ensuring that people get to do their jobs, each function performs tasks in diverse ways. (Gallos, 2008) In terms of management, which deals with complexity, planning and budgeting are always involved.
Managers achieve their plans through staffing and organizing as they create set of jobs and an organizational structure necessary for accomplishing their plan requirements. On the other hand, leaders equal such activities through aligning people. This involves conveying new directions to people who are able to create alliances that regard the vision and committed to the achievement of such vision. (Gallos, 2008)
Apart from staffing and organizing, managers also apply controlling and problem solving in order to achieve their plans. These functions involve monitoring outcomes through meetings and reports, identifying variations, and then going back to planning and organizing to deal with the problems.
The equivalent actions done by leaders are motivating and inspiring people to move in the right direction in order to achieve the plans. These involve appealing to basic human values, needs, and emotions. (Gallos, 2008)
Based on several observations, leadership is more preferred than management. This means that teams or people become more loyal to a leader than a manager does because leaders take more responsibility in certain significant areas than managers do.
For example, leaders take the blame when things get out of hand, able to celebrate minor and major group achievements, and able to give credit where it is due. Other observations claim that since leaders are observant and sensitive to the needs of people, they create mutual confidence within the team. Whereas managers do not leave the subordinates with a choice but to obey what is commanded of them.
In many instances, leaders are followed while the manager rules. Although a leader may not have the organizational skills that a manager possesses, his mere vision unites his subordinates. (Caroselli, 2000) On the other hand, a manager is situated in his position not because of his leadership qualities but through time and loyalty to a certain organization.
Accordingly, management encompasses people with valuable experience in their field and knows how the system of an organization works. A manager knows the do’s and don’ts of an organization and perhaps bears good technical knowledge. Then again, a leader may be new to an organization but makes his way up through bold and fresh ideas.
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