Leadership and Management
One of the long-standing questions in leadership is whether there is a difference between a leader and a manager. This paper develops a critical argument showing that there is a major difference between the two because leaders transform while managers transact. Transactional leadership theories hold that the desires of both the manager and his or her followers are different. As such, managers provide extrinsic motivation to their followers, without which the latter cannot do what the manager desires. On the contrary, transformational leadership argues that leaders utilize a different approach to addressing the dilemma. Transformational leadership remains committed to changing the followers’ desires to ensure they match that of the leader rather than providing an extrinsic motivation in an attempt to appeal to the follower’s different desires. Consequently, there is a major difference between a leader and a manager since the former transforms but mangers transact. The first section critically examines the primary differences between a leader and a manager while the second one presents the researcher’s individual reflection which constitutes a critical examination of the issue under study.
Leaders Transform and Managers Transact
The primary difference between leaders and managers is that the former has people following them while the latter has people working for them. As such, successful organizations seek leaders who are both strong leaders and managers to ensure everyone in the workplace is on board and follows them towards achieving the set goals. Leaders transform by focusing on the “hearts and minds of followers” (Contemporary Approaches, n.d, p. 8). Therefore, leadership is about getting people to believe and follow one’s vision while managers transact by accentuating on administering as well as ensuring the day-to-day operations of an organization are achieved. Bertocci (2009, p. 56) adds that unlike leaders, managers are tasked with the responsibility of maintaining stable work processes, motivating personnel, and controlling organizational costs. Therefore, managers supervise the different organizational subunits and are more likely to be consumed by the repetitive operations and routines of the organization. As a result, managers are often viewed as supporters of stability and the status quo within an organization.
Leaders transform because they are expected to resist the status quo by proposing and implementing changes. Moreover, leaders transform the workplace since they are supposed to be visionaries who persuade others to share their vision for the organization. As such, unlike managers, leaders change the rules of engagement by articulating novel business models for the organization. Kark, Shamir, and Chen (2003, p. 246) refer to this as transformation and adds that it is the primary reason why most scholars refer top executives in an organization as turnaround specialists or change artists. Managers transact because their vision involves leading others in day-to-day operations. Kark, Shamir, and Chen (2003, p. 246) further state that although managing is a less glamorous description, it is essential in ensuring the organization achieves its strategic and financial objectives. The theory of transactional leadership emphasizes the importance of the relationship between the follower and the leader. The theory holds that the mutual benefits derived from the contractual relationship between both parties involve the leader delivering rewards or recognition in return for the loyalty and commitment of the followers (Matthewman, n.d., p. 56). On the contrary, the transformational leadership theory views change as an essential component in facilitating organizational transformation as well as increasing the overall firm performance.
Managers transact by focusing on the leadership styles that view team members as consenting to submit and do as they are told when they accept the job offered. They should have managerial skills in supervising the activities of team members in the workplace. In fact, they are entitled to grant incentives to performing members and punish the underperforming individuals. The path-goal theory of leadership evaluates the essence of managers in motivating and encouraging team members to perform their roles productively. Transactional managers standardize, evaluate, and establish practices that steers forward the performance of team members (Bertocci, 2009, p.48). Moreover, they evaluate the performance of team members to ensure only the most ambitious ones are rewarded. As such, managers are more likely to hire people who are motivated by external rewards, especially compensation. However, transactional management is limited by the fact that the practice can be unethical. Moreover, it is not effective enough for maintaining a creative and innovative workplace (Contemporary Approaches, n.d, p. 13). As such, team members who are led by a transactional leader often do not experience high levels of job satisfaction.
The transformational leadership style is often considered as the best leadership approach, especially in business scenarios. Hallinger (2003, p. 329) notes that leaders transform by leveraging rapport and empathy to engage their followers. The primary benefits accrued by a firm which relies on transformational leadershipis the fact that the leaders not only expect the best from their followers but also work together with them towards ensuring they are the best at everything they do. However, the leadership approach is limited by the fact that leaders often lack the managerial skills necessary to achieve the vision they have for the organization. As such, most leaders require assistance from transactional managers. Another benefit accrued by transformational leaders is that they take new initiatives and promote the flow of innovative ideas, which are essential at increasing the level of engagement within the workplace as well as inspiring their subordinates to be more productive. Steve Jobs is one of the leaders who led by transforming his organization. His approach involved working hard towards challenging his workers to think bigger, which in turn inspired them to create innovative and successful products.
Transactional leadership is usually referred to as managerial leadership because it is based on the idea of a transaction between the manager and his or her team members. Bass, Avolio, Jung, and Berson (2003, p. 207) identify three benefits of this managerial approach. Firstly, it resulted in the increased ability of the manager providing supervision, evaluating performance, as well as setting goals for the team members. Secondly, the employees remain motivated to complete their tasks since they are rewarded for their good work when they are consistent. Finally, employees who revere external rewards are more likely to be motivated to improve the quality of their work. However, transactional management is undermined by the fact that the manger punishes team members who fail to meet the appropriate standards. Moreover, the self- motivated employees usually consider transactional leaders as an obstruction since they are more likely to undermine their creativity and innovation in favour of the status quo. Bill Gates herald as one of the most iconic transactional leaders because he focuses on inspiring positive changes in his employees by rewarding those who perform well and punishing those who do not (Boje and Smith, 2010, p. 307). Moreover, he is dedicated to his work and expects the best from his subordinates using the reward-punishment motivation strategy.
All forms of leadership involve motivating employees. Managers transact by motivating their subordinates through an arrangement whereby the employees are rewarded only when they accomplish the objectives set for them or the tasks assigned to them. The motivation strategy is one of the most effective among transactional leaders, making it extremely common and familiar in the business world (Kark and Van Dijk, 2007, p. 500). Most sales representatives are motivated by the managers through commissions and performance bonuses based on the numbers of sales they close. As such, the manager seeks for employees who can secure sales, making it necessary to provide motivation in the form of money, which is a transaction of performance for compensation that satisfies the needs and wants of both parties.
Proper managerial skills are vital to the success of any institution based on the productivity of the employees. Great leaders have integrity and emotional intelligence as the main qualities of their leadership skills. Integrity is a top most factor that enables a leader to carry out managerial roles with consistency of principles, values, outcomes, expectations, and actions in the firm (Bertocci, 2009, p.26). Other crucial traits for transformational leaders include self-management, ability to make decisions, adaptability, inspirational, and proactive. Miner (2015, p. 32) adds that leaders transform by setting clear goals and developing effective conflict-resolution skills thereby resulting in high engagement and productivity. However, it is clear that leadership is a vital but delicate issue in the management of an organisation. It aids in inspiring team members to perform their roles as well as developing an essential organisational management scheme. Thus, managers should incorporate many leadership styles in the formulation of an essential managerial framework.
Difference between a Leader and a Manager
Although numerous traits make up a strong leader, there are five main key characteristics, which include honesty and integrity, vision, inspiration, ability to challenge, and communication skills. Firstly, integrity and honesty are one of the essential skills in helping leaders to get their followers to believe in them and buy into the vision they are trying to communicate. Secondly, vision is necessary for ensuring the leader knows where the organization is as well as where they want it to go. Without a clear vision, a leader cannot be able to enrol his or her team in charting a successful path for the organization’s future (Matthewman and Marsland, n.d., p. 12). Thirdly, the leader must be able to inspire his or her team to ensure they are all they can by making sure they develop an in-depth understanding of their roles and responsibilities. Fourthly, a leader must be able to mitigate the challenges that arise within the organization. Lunenburg (2011, p. 3) adds that leaders are not supposed to be afraid of challenging the status quo and are instead expected to do things differently by gathering the courage necessary to inspire people to think outside the box. Finally, effective communications skills are one of the primary traits necessary for ensuring leaders are successful in the workplace. Without effective communication skills, leaders cannot keep their teams informed of the organization’s vision, where it is, or where it is heading. Moreover, effective communication skills are essential in helping leaders share any roadblocks that may be encountered along the way.
The primary traits shared by managers include the ability to execute a vision, ability to direct, process management, and to be people focused. Firstly, managers must be able to execute the visions identified by the leaders. They are tasked with the responsibility of taking a strategic vision and breaking it down into a clear roadmap that can be easily followed by everyone within the organization. Secondly, managers must possess the ability to direct. The day-to-day work efforts of a manager involve reviewing how the available resources are capable of achieving the set goals. Moreover, managers are tasked with the reasonability of assessing the resources needed in meeting these objectives as well as anticipating any resource needs that may arise along the way. Thirdly, process management is a necessary skill for managers wishing to establish effective work rules and processes. As such, the ability to develop effective processes helps maintain high-quality standards and facilitate ongoing operating procedures. Finally, managers should be people focused to ensure they look after the needs of their people as well as listen and involve them, which in turn help maintain an engaged workforce.
Unlike managers, leaders focus on coming up with a vision and inspiring their followers to turn it into reality. Leaders engage their teams to help them think creatively and innovatively. As such, leaders are capable of activating people to be part of the organization’s vision in a bigger way (Dess and Picken, 2000, p. 18). Unlike management, leadership involves influencing the relationship between the leaders and followers in an attempt to implement changes and achieve the outcomes that reflect the former’s shared vision (Matthewman and Marsland, n.d., p. 12). Leadership entails inspiring the employees or team members to have faith and believing in an organisation’s undertaking with an aim of attaining its objectives as defined in its mission and vision statement. On the other hand, managers offer administrative skills for running an organisation on daily basis. Thus, there is a need to have strong leaders and managers in an organization to foster its economic wellbeing and performance.
Managers and leaders have different traits based on their roles in leading the workforce. In this case, great leaders have traits such as honesty, vision, integrity, ability to face challenges, and inspiration (Bertocci, 2009, p.21). They should also have good interpersonal communication and decision-making skills. Leaders inspire team members to operate productively by engaging them in different platforms including decision-making (Bertocci, 2009, p.25). This scenario enables leaders to align the behaviours and perception of the employees with their visions as well as the objectives of the firm. On the other hand, managers operate in a different environment compared to leaders. They are usually entitled to enhancing day-to-day activities in the workplace. The most common traits among managers include being able to direct, executing a vision, being people focused, and processing management (Bertocci, 2009, p.25). The managers are entitled to developing the rules, standards, operating procedures, and processes in the productions of a product or service for the consumers.
Nevertheless, managers and leaders have additional defining features that enable them to run organizations independently but in a dependable manner. Leaders are usually risk takers and focus on the long term issues and effects that may arise in the organisation due to certain undertakings (Ridenour & Twale, 2005, p. 23). Other core values of a great leader include trustworthiness, commitment, flexibility, responsibility, and creativity. On the other hand, managers control risks and think about the short term effects and issues that may arise due to certain undertakings in the organisation (Bertocci, 2009, p.21). However, leaders have adequate defining attributes compared to managers, but cannot run a firm independently of each other. This scenario enables the creation of mutual respect and recognition in inspiring and managing team members.
Unlike managers who think short-term, most leaders focus on the long-term objectives of the organization. Šimanskienė (2004, p. 175) notes that most leaders know when they are not learning something new because they remain curious as well as seek novel ways of remaining relevant in the everyday changing world. Moreover, leaders are more likely to seek out people who can help them expand their way of thinking than managers who focus on the people who have and can continue making them succeed in their careers.
The critical argument developed shows that there is a major difference between managers and leaders with the latter transforming people while the former focus on transacting them. The transactional leadership perspectives developed from different scholarly articles suggest that the desires of both the manager and his or her followers are different with the managers providing extrinsic motivation to their employees. On the contrary, the theoretical perspectives developed about transformational leadership views leaders as the people who remain committed to changing the followers’ desires to ensure they match their vision rather than providing an extrinsic motivation in an attempt to appeal to the different desires of people within the organization.
In this section, I will present my personal reflection on what I have learned from the discussions developed about the difference between a leader and a manager. This will include some assessment of my personal strengths, weaknesses, as well as the strategy I intend to leverage in future essay writing. The critical study has helped me realize that unlike managers who focus on building processes and systems, leaders build relationships. As such, leaders focus on human resources to realize their vision; thus the essence of including a transformational leader in an organisation. The leaders offer inspirational and an in-depth mechanism for enhancing performance of team members in a firm. They also offer essential skills to empower and motivate employees to improve their performance. As such, they enable the employees to increase their productivity, which is an essential factor towards growth of the entire firm, especially in economy and market.
Personal Learning Style
I love being challenged mentally and believethis stimulates my thought patterns which in turn enables me to discover new academic concepts quickly. As such, the critical examination on the difference between leaders and managers helps me retain concepts learned in class about transformational and transactional leadership as much as possible. I enjoy discussing issues from different viewpoints especially after exploring the topics of interest using different academic theories from various scholars. I find new and challenging theories about a topic fascinating. As such, Irecommend the research materials provided in class as being useful for critical analysis.
One of my major strengths is that I am a fast learner capable of quickly discovering new concepts. Moreover, I do not give up easily and focus on long-term goals rather than the short-term ones. I do not regard myself as a failure when I am unable to achieve my set targets because I never give up. The paper is organized and I trymy best to make it interesting and different. I consider myself a leader because I am never satisfied unless I learn something new from the study topic I am working on.
I sometimes struggle to complete the study on time since I prefer reading the entire scholarly journals before citing them. Some journal articles are long and often require me to re-read to understand them properly. As such, the study process becomes dilatory. I mitigate this weakness by allocation more time to reduce the risks of having a deadline crisis.
I have learned that leaders coach people while managers direct them. Unlike managers, leaders understand that their subordinates are capable of working towards achieving the set targets when they are inspired to do so. Transformational leaders are able to view the performance of team members in an organisation or undertaking. Therefore, they inspire, motivate, and encourage the members to operate in certain manner that increases productivity of an organisation and performance of the employees. As such, their role act as a driving force for an organisation, leading to increased growth rate, which is associated with increased market share. Therefore, leaders gain a large fan base that can carry out the activities of their organisations while managers directly affects the employees as a single entity.
. For example, leaders are more likely to have their followers go beyond their job descriptions because they enjoy fervent support from their subordinates who play an essential role in helping build their personal brand and achieve the set goals. I have noted that I will focus on critically evaluating the theoretical perspectives based on different studies in future essay writing. In conclusion, I acknowledge that the lessons learned about the differences between a leader and a manager will help me to critically evaluate my leadership style to help me identify the most effective approach I should focus on with my future employer.
Bass, B.M., Avolio, B.J., Jung, D.I. and Berson, Y., 2003. Predicting unit performance by assessing transformational and transactional leadership. Journal of applied psychology, 88(2), p.207.
Bertocci, D.I., 2009. Leadership in organizations: There is a difference between leaders and managers. University Press of America.
Boje, D. and Smith, R., 2010. Re‐storying and visualizing the changing entrepreneurial identities of Bill Gates and Richard Branson. Culture and Organization, 16(4), pp.307-331.
Contemporary Approaches. n.d. Contemporary Approaches, lecture notes
Dess, G.G. and Picken, J.C., 2000. Changing roles: Leadership in the 21st century. Organizational dynamics, 28(3), pp.18-34.
Hallinger, P., 2003. Leading educational change: Reflections on the practice of instructional and transformational leadership. Cambridge Journal of education, 33(3), pp.329-352.
Kark, R. and Van Dijk, D., 2007. Motivation to lead, motivation to follow: The role of the self-regulatory focus in leadership processes. Academy of Management Review, 32(2), pp.500-528.
Kark, R., Shamir, B. and Chen, G., 2003. The two faces of transformational leadership: Empowerment and dependency. Journal of applied psychology, 88(2), p.246.
Lunenburg, F.C., 2011. Leadership versus management: A key distinction—at least in theory. International Journal of Management, Business, and Administration, 14(1), pp.1-4.
Matthewman, L., and Marsland, B., n.d. Context of leadership & management, lecture notes
Matthewman, L., n.d. Leadership & management: classical models, lecture notes
Miner, J.B., 2015. Organizational behavior 1: Essential theories of motivation and leadership. Routledge.
Rands, S.A., Cowlishaw, G., Pettifor, R.A., Rowcliffe, J.M. and Johnstone, R.A., 2008. The emergence of leaders and followers in foraging pairs when the qualities of individuals differ. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 8(1), p.51.
Ridenour, C. and Twale, D.J., 2005. Academic Generations: Exploring Intellectual Risk Taking in an Educational Leadership Program. Education, 126(1).
Šimanskienė, L., 2004. The research on personal qualities of leaders and team members. Organizacijų vadyba: sisteminiai tyrimai, (32), pp.175-187.
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