Compare and Contrast Management vs. Leadership

There are many differences between management and leadership. Management relies on positional power, that is authority or status. It depends on the rules, structures and systems within an organisation, which

surround a job. Leadership relies on personal power. This comes from the ability to develop strong and mutually rewarding relationships. It depends upon good interpersonal skills, positive personal characteristics and supportive behaviour. The key to leadership is influence. Leadership is a facet of good management but a leader does not necessarily have the positional power of a manager.

The crux of this comparison between management and leadership is one of choice. People choose to follow and commit to a leader but a manager must be followed. We are emotional animals and the commitments we make based on our emotions are forcible.

The manager’s primary commitment is to the employing organisation. His/her job is to manage members of the organisation in achieving that organisation’s goals using his/her positional power. Good management involves:
• Information Control (Keeping people informed about issues which affect them)
• Resources control (Allocated on the basis of business priority)
• An Appraisal system (Using performance indicators and objectives as the basis of appraisal)
• Job Seniority (Giving clear instructions for tasks)
• Specialist Expertise (Sharing expertise to help and develop others)
• Rewards and Punishment (Using rewards fairly and transparently based on objective criteria)
• Managing Access to People (on the basis of need and business priority)

A manager needs formal positional power to be effective. Douglas McGregor (1960) described two ways in which employees may be viewed, Theory X and Theory Y. Theory X stipulates that employees are “motivated mainly by money, are lazy, uncooperative and have poor work habits.” This is the traditional view of direction and control by managers. Three of the main theories of management are: F.W. Taylor’s Scientific Management, (1856-1917), Henri Fayol’s Classical Organisation Theory (1841-1925), and The Hawthorne Experiment Approach (1924-1932), which gave rise to The Human Relations Movement.

Scientific Management
F.W. Taylor believed that the most efficient methods for completing a task and for the selection, development and motivation of employees could be scientifically determined.
His theories were based on his studies of pig-iron production lines at the Bethlehem Steel Corporation, and centred on the increased productivity of a Dutch labourer by the name of Schmidt. By tailoring Schmidt’s work methods, Taylor was able to improve his output level. Schmidt was rewarded for the increased output by a 60% rise in wages. The theory was applied to the other steelworkers where there was a notable but erratic increase in output. (LJ Mullins, 2006). On the surface, Taylor’s theory of scientific management seemed successful. However, it was based on the theory that workers conform to the personality of Douglas McGregor’s Theory X. Clearly, employees are individuals, are not purely motivated by money and have a wide variety of needs. This fact is illustrated by Abraham Maslow’s ‘Five Tier Hierarchy of Needs’ (1954), in which he states: “an employee’s most powerful need is the one which has not yet been met.”

Classical Organisational Theory
Henry Fayol’s Classical Organisational theory attempted to identify principles of management that would apply to all organisations. He defined management as having five functions; “planning (examining the future and drawing up plans of actions), organising (building up the structure of the undertaking), commanding (maintaining activity among the personnel), co-ordinating (unifying and harmonizing activities and efforts) and controlling (seeing that everything occurs in conformity with policies and practices)”. His study showed the idea that the principles of organisational and administrative effectiveness depended on the positional power held and discouraged any ideas of rigidity. The theory was based upon the idea that human beings are driven by physiological needs and that they are rational, a mistaken assumption similar to that made by FW Taylor’s Scientific Management theory. Both theories seem to regard the organisation and its members not as individuals, but as parts of the organisational machine.

The Human Relations Movement
The Human Relations Movement viewed people as driven by both economic and social needs. It attempted to approach the subject of organisational management psychologically. The theory was based upon increased productivity and employee satisfaction as a result of increased management concern for employee welfare and individual attention. Elton Mayo’s work on human behaviour at The Hawthorne Works of The Western Electric Company in Chicago (1924-1927) produced many conclusions in respect of human relations and motivation theory. These highlighted the need for group collaboration to be planned and developed, and understanding of the influence on the workplace of an employee’s personal circumstances. Though a huge step toward the Neo-human Relations Approach, which more deeply investigates human behaviour and its influences on organisational management, it still neglected to fully appreciate the individuality of employees within the organisation.

Strength of leadership depends on strength of influence; how easily the support and commitment of others in achieving goals is gained. Influence is about people, not things, and develops through an awareness of people’s opinions and ideas. Leaders who possess positive influence recognise this and modify their behaviour in order to influence the progress of interactions between people by gaining their interest and commitment, and steering them toward accepting the leader’s needs and goals through individual choice. A leader’s identity does not depend upon their position within the organisation. Their sources of personal power come from:
• Widening their network (looking for mutual benefit or helping others selflessly),
• Possessing good negotiating skills (aiming for win/win outcomes)
• Having an ability to get people to communicate (by offering confidential support)
• Giving personal praise (on the basis of good performance)
• Involving others (Welcoming and utilising other’s ideas)
• Having knowledge and experience of the business (which is shared to help and encourage others).
A leader needs personal power to lead effectively.
Several studies which attempt to define leadership have been conducted. Notably: The Traits Approach (1930’s), Leadership as a Behavioural Category (Ohio State Leadership Studies, University of Michigan study, 1940’s), The Situational Approach, (Fiedler’s contingency approach, 1967) and The Functional Approach (associated with the work of John Adair, 1979).

The Traits Approach
The Traits Approach attempted to identify the qualities of great leaders on the basis that leaders are born, not made. The approach successfully identified that leaders are individuals and generally defy common stereotypes, and thus failed to compile a definitive list of leadership personality traits. Though there maybe some qualities with which leaders are born, they may not be realised without appropriate nurturing and training. A recent study of 500 business owners in the UK revealed that many gained leadership qualities sociologically. Kim Parish, chief executive of ILM said: “This study shows that many young people learn about leadership at a very early age. Activities often seen as childhood hobbies – such as being a member of the Scouts or Guides, or playing on a school team – actually furnish young people with skills such as team ethos, ambition, goal setting and many of the other qualities that we associate with good leadership.” (, 04/04/07). The Traits Approach also neglects to take situation into account. Someone may be a great leader in some situations but not in others.

Leadership as a Behavioural Category
Unlike the Traits Approach, leadership as a Behavioural Category takes account of leadership behaviour in multiple situations. During the Ohio State Leadership Studies (1950’s), where the core of this approach was developed, two general types of leadership behaviour emerged; “initiating structure” (the schedule of activities, role defining) and “consideration” (Building respect and trust between members). (Fleishman, E.A. and Bass, 1974). The University of Michigan studies, which were also conducted in the 1950’s, identified 3 behavioural characteristics of effective leaders: “Task orientated” (planning and co-ordinating work and providing resources), “Relationship orientated” (a more considerate and caring approach to employees), and “Participative Leadership” (a more involved approach). Rensis Likert (1967) summarised the study, dividing supervisors into two categories: “Employee-centred”, and “production-centred”. Both the Ohio State Studies and The University of Michigan studies conclude that better performance and employee satisfaction were gained through a more personable participative approach.

The Situational Approach
Mary Follett describes this approach best in her book, The New State: Group Organization the Solution of Popular Government. She writes “In neighbourhood
groups where we have different alignments on different questions, there will be a tendency for those to lead at any particular moment who are most competent to lead in the particular matter in hand. Thus a mechanical leadership will give place to a vital leadership. Here in the neighbourhood group leaders are born” (Follett, 1918, p. 223). A situation may give rise to a leader who may not be a leader in any other situation. Hersey and Blanchard (1969) based their approach to Situational Leadership on the ability of the leader to adapt four styles of leadership to the competency and motivation of the ‘follower’:
• Telling (Leader-led)
• Selling (Leader-led)
• Participating (Follower-led)
• Delegating (Follower-led)

Telling is appropriate where the follower is of low competence and has a low commitment level. This style makes the objective clear and avoids any confusion as to what is expected on the part of the follower. Selling, where the follower is of mediocre competence and erratic commitment, involves an explanation of decisions by the leader in order to avoid any defiance on the part of the follower. Participating is used when the follower is of a high competence, but has erratic commitment, possibly due to insecurity. The key to this style is motivation, and more time is taken by the leader in encouraging and verbally praising the follower. Delegating is appropriate when dealing with a follower of high competence who is fully committed and can be trusted to accomplish the objective with little supervision. Fiedler’s theory suggests that group performance is dependent upon the personality of the leader and three other variables: group atmosphere, task structure and the leader’s power position. (Value based Management, 2007). He concluded that there is no single best way of leading and that the most effective style of leadership is dependent upon adaptability to all constraints.

The Functional Approach
John Adair’s work focused on leadership functions whilst satisfying the needs of the employee group in accomplishing the task, rather than personality traits. It logically follows previous thinking on motivation by Maslow, Herzberg and Fayol. In Adair’s “Action Centred Leadership” diagram, the three variables; “task needs, individual needs and team maintenance needs“ (originally identified by Henry Harris in the late 1940’s, Gosling,J, 2005), are integrated to mutual satisfaction in order to accomplish the job at hand. Adair’s “Action Centred Leadership” diagram clearly shows the need for leadership within management as ‘Achieving tasks’ is primarily a management function, whereas ‘Building the Team’ and ‘Developing Individuals’ draw mainly on leadership skills. Adair believed that good leadership was not inborn and was accessible to all through appropriate training.

Though leadership and management would appear to be separate notions, within a corporate environment one cannot be truly effective without the other. Management without leadership uses status and power to control the workforce and its resources. This power without leadership skills is overt and can often prompt resistance. It does not invoke voluntary loyalty and commitment. Management’s primary goal is to ensure that the task is accomplished. Leadership without management relies upon the trust and respect of the workforce through influence. It can inspire others to accomplish a task, but without management neglects to provide the necessary resources to do so. Management with leadership inspires the workforce to accomplish given tasks and provides them with the necessary resources to fulfil the requirements of those tasks. Therefore, I find that a combination of John Adair’s work surrounding management and leadership theory together with Fiedler’s ideas presented in his contingency theory are most valid in the workplace today. Managerial leadership must be flexible in its approach. It must have the capacity to adapt to varying situations, tasks and employees. It must be focused on the task at hand, but must invoke loyalty and commitment through influence.

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