Management and leadership

On the difference between management and
leadership and other practical topics
Leadership and management are two notions used to describe two related concepts. Managers do
things right, leaders do the right thing. But this distinction is too facile and too simple.
Leadership has two implied meanings. It can be defined in terms of position, as in being in a
leadership position. In this sense, senior officers in the U.S. government are leaders, as are the
top officers of IBM, GM, and NC State University.
A more fruitful way to think about leadership concerns the distinction between occupying a
leadership position and being effective in that position. Leadership ought to be evaluated in
terms of the performance of the group over time. It relates directly to the ability to build and
maintain a group that performs well compared to its competition. In this section, these
differences are discussed, explaining why both terms are thought to be similar.
Leadership is a facet of management and vice versa
Leadership is just one of the many assets a successful manager must possess. The principal aim
of a manager is to maximize the output of the organization through administrative
implementation. To achieve this, managers must undertake the following functions:
Leadership is an important component of the directing function. A manager must manage as well
as lead. Managers need formal authority to be effective. This involvement cannot be delegated.
Moreover, in many day-to-day circumstances, leadership is not required. For example, in
answering routine emails and phone calls or in assigning daily work responsibilities, a leader is
simply managing or transacting business.
Subordinate as a leader
Often with small groups, it is not the top manager who emerges as the actual leader. In many
cases it is a subordinate member with specific talents who leads the group in a certain direction.
Leaders must often let vision, strategies, goals, and values guide the group action and behavior
rather than attempting to control others. When a natural leader emerges in a group containing a
manager, conflict may arise if they have different views. When a manager sees the group looking
towards someone else for leadership he may feel his authority is being questioned.
Groups are often more loyal to a leader than a manager. This loyalty is created by the leader in
areas such as:
Taking the blame when things go wrong.
Celebrating group achievements, even minor ones.
Giving credit where it is due.
The leader should recognize the successes within a team. Leaders are observant and sensitive
people. They know their team and develop mutual confidence within it.
Managing and leading are related activities. All managers lead some of the time. Individuals at
the top of organizations, normally considered “leaders,” have to manage on a daily basis. Top
managers (e.g., CEOs or executive vice presidents) are generally viewed by subordinates and the
public in a different way from line managers. This is primarily because of the level of
responsibility: top managers like CEOs spend more of their time on strategy, wide-ranging
communication across the organization, and in “regal” functions. Line (or lower-level) managers
typically are involved in more direct functional activities (marketing, production, finance, HR)
and less concerned with the broader functions associated with “leaders.”
Contingency Models
Leadership styles cannot be fully explained by behavioral models. The situation in which the
group is operating also determines the style of leadership which is adopted.
Several models exist which attempt to understand the relationship between style and situation,
four of which are described here:
Fiedler's Contingency Model.
Hersey-Blanchard Situational Theory.
Path-Goal Theory.
Vroom-Yetton Leadership Model
The models described have limited utility, but are still widely accepted in the leadership
Fiedler's Contingency model
Fiedler's model assumes that group performance depends on:
Leadership style, described in terms of task motivation and relationship motivation.
Situational favorableness, determined by three factors:
1. Leader-member relations - Degree to which a leader is accepted and supported by the
group members.
2. Task structure - Extent to which the task is structured and defined, with clear goals and
3. Position power - The ability of a leader to control subordinates through reward and
High levels of these three factors give the most favorable situation; low levels, the least
favorable. Relationship-motivated leaders are most effective in moderately favorable situations.
Task-motivated leaders are most effective at either end of the scale. Fiedler suggests that it may
be easier for leaders to change their situation to achieve effectiveness, rather than change their
leadership style.
Hersey-Blanchard situational theory
This theory suggests that leadership style should be matched to the maturity of the subordinates.
Maturity is assessed in relation to a specific task and has two parts:
Psychological maturity - Their self-confidence and ability and readiness to accept
Job maturity - Their relevant skills and technical knowledge.
As the subordinate maturity increases, leadership should be more relationship-motivated than
task-motivated. For four degrees of subordinate maturity, from highly mature to highly
immature, leadership can consist of:
Delegating to subordinates.
Participating with subordinates.
Selling ideas to subordinates.
Telling subordinates what to do
Path-Goal Theory
Evans and House suggest that the performance, satisfaction and motivation of a group can be
affected by the leader in a number of ways:
Offering rewards for the achievement of performance goals.
Clarifying paths towards these goals.
Removing performance obstacles.
A person may do these by adopting a certain leadership style, according to the situation:
Directive leadership - Specific advice is given to the group and ground rules are
Supportive leadership - Good relations exist with the group and sensitivity to
subordinates' needs is shown.
Participative leadership - Decision making is based on group consultation and
information is shared with the group.
Achievement-oriented leadership - Challenging goals are set and high performance is
encouraged while showing confidence in the groups' ability.
Supportive behavior increases group satisfaction, particularly in stressful situations, while
directive behavior is suited to ambiguous situations. It is also suggested that leaders who have
influence upon their superiors can increase group satisfaction and performance.
Vroom-Yetton Leadership Model
This model suggests the selection a leadership style for making a decision. There are five
decision making styles:
Autocratic 1 - Problem is solved using information already available.
Autocratic 2 - Additional information is obtained from group before leader makes
Consultative 1 - Leader discusses problem with subordinates individually, before making
a decision.
Consultative 2 - Problem is discussed with the group before deciding.
Group 2 - Group decides upon problem, with leader simply acting as chair.
The style is chosen by the consideration of seven questions, which form a decision tree. This is
described in Leadership and Decision Making, by V.H.Vroom and P.W.Yetton, pp.41-42,
published by University of Pittsburgh Press, 1973.
Leadership Styles
The role of leadership in management is largely determined by the organizational culture of the
company. It has been argued that managers' beliefs, values, and assumptions are critical to the
overall style of leadership they adopt. There are several different leadership styles that can be
identified within each of the following management techniques. Each has its own set of good and
not-so-good characteristics, and each uses leadership in a different way.
The autocrat
The autocratic leader dominates team-members, using unilateralism to achieve a singular
objective. This approach to leadership generally results in passive resistance from team-members
and requires continual pressure and direction from the leader in order to get things done.
Generally, an authoritarian approach is not a good way to get the best performance from a team.
There are, however, some instances where an autocratic style of leadership may not be
inappropriate. Some situations may call for urgent action, and in these cases an autocratic style
of leadership may be best. In addition, most people are familiar with autocratic leadership and
therefore have less trouble adopting that style. Furthermore, in some situations, sub-ordinates
may actually prefer an autocratic style.
The laissez-faire manager
The Laissez-Faire manager exercises little control over his group, leaving them to sort out their
roles and tackle their work, without participating in this process himself. In general, this
approach leaves the team floundering with little direction or motivation.
Again, there are situations where the Laissez-Faire approach can be effective. The Laissez-Faire
technique is usually only appropriate when leading a team of highly motivated and skilled
people, who have produced excellent work in the past. Once a leader has established that his
team is confident, capable and motivated, it is often best to step back and let them get on with the
task, since interfering can generate resentment and detract from their effectiveness. By handing
over ownership, a leader can empower his group to achieve their goals.
The democrat
The democratic leader makes decisions by consulting his team, whilst still maintaining control of
the group. The democratic leader allows his team to decide how the task will be tackled and who
will perform which task. The democratic leader can be seen in two lights:
A good democratic leader encourages participation and delegates wisely, but never loses sight of
the fact that he bears the crucial responsibility of leadership. He values group discussion and
input from his team and can be seen as drawing from a pool of his team members' strong points
in order to obtain the best performance from his team. He motivates his team by empowering
them to direct themselves, and guides them with a loose reign. However, the democrat can also
be seen as being so unsure of himself and his relationship with his sub-ordinates that everything
is a matter for group discussion and decision. Clearly, this type of "leader" is not really leading at
Leadership Attitudes
Another way of looking at different leadership styles is in terms of task orientation versus
employee orientation.
Task Orientation or Directive Behavior. This reflects how much a leader is concerned
with the actual task at hand and ensuring that those following him complete it.
Employee Orientation or Supportive Behavior. This reflects how much a leader is
concerned for the people around him, providing support and encouragement for them.
The combination of these two effects leads to the following diagram:
1. Country Club Management
1. Impoverished Management
1. Team Management
1. Authority/Obedience Management
This diagram can be used in two ways:
 As a guide to how effective your leadership style is. Your general attitude to the
leadership of the group will fall into one of these categories.
 As a guide to how best to lead different individuals using different styles to make the
most efficient use of both their, and your, time and talents.
Analyzing your style
How do you lead your group? What is your attitude to both them and the task at hand?
Impoverished Management (low concern for the task, low concern for people). This style
is characterized by minimal effort on your part, just enough to get the job done and
maintain the group structure.
"I'll just let them get on with it, I'm sure they'll do fine, they don't really want me
interfering anyway"
Country Club Management (low concern for the task, high concern for people). You take
good care of your group, ensuring a comfortable, friendly atmosphere. You hope this will
lead to the work getting done.
"It stands to reason, if they're happy they'll work harder and the work will take care of
Authority/Obedience Management (high concern for task, low concern for people). You
are probably a bit of a task master. The most important thing is the work. You lead from
behind by driving the group in front of you.
"We're here to work, the work needs to be done. If they're working hard enough they
won't have time to feel unhappy, they're not here to enjoy themselves."
Team Management (high concern for task, high concern for people). You see the
completion of the task and the well being of the group as interdependent through a
common stake in the organization's future. This leads to relationships built on trust and
respect, and work accomplishment from committed employees.
"We're in this together. We need to support and help each other to get this job done."
It is generally accepted that group leaders who have a Team Management style are the most
effective, though this is not always the case.
Style choice
If you have a group of widely differing levels of ability, confidence, and commitment, you might
want to lead them each with a different style.
A team member who has a lot of enthusiasm for the job but not much actual ability, for
example a new start, will need to be directed. You will not need to spend much time
giving encouragement or coaxing them along. You will however have to tell them what
to do next after they complete every task, and how to do the tasks set.
After being in the group for a while, somebody might begin to lose confidence and
therefore motivation, as they still can't seem to do the work they want to do. At this stage
you will need to coach them along. You will still need to tell them what to do at virtually
every point along the way, while taking care to encourage them and praise them at every
Gradually the team member's technical ability will increase until they are at a stage where
they can actually do everything required of them, however they may still lack the
confidence to actually do it off their own backs. You should no longer have to tell them
what to do, although they may think otherwise. You should seek their opinions on the
next stage, and be seen to take notice of their ideas.
A technically competent person's confidence will gradually grow until they feel able to
work completely on their own. You should now be able to delegate specific areas of work
to them and feel little need to tell them either what to do or to praise them as frequently
for doing it. The time that you don't have to spend "leading" these members of the group
can be spent with the less experienced group members, or on the work that you need to
"I not only use all the brains I have, but all I can borrow."
- Woodrow Wilson
A key aspect of leadership is delegation. If leaders don’t delegate tasks to subordinates, teams
might quickly become inefficient and demoralized.
Poor Delegation
Signs that you are not borrowing enough brains or that your delegation is failing include:
Team Motivation / Morale is down
You are always working late
Your team is confused / conflicting / tense
You get questions about delegated tasks too often
Not delegating a task because you think that you would do it better than anyone else is a poor
excuse. Doing this might make life difficult for yourself.
Advantages of delegation
Positive aspects of delegation include:
 Higher efficiency
Increased motivation
Develops the skills of your team
Better distribution of work through the group
How to delegate
1. Identify a suitable person for the task.
2. Prepare the person. Explain the task clearly. Make sure that you are understood. Leave
room in the task description for ingenuity / initiative.
3. Make sure the person has the necessary authority to do the job properly.
4. Keep in touch with the person for support and monitoring progress. Do not get to close.
Accept alternative approaches.
5. Praise / Acknowledge a job well done.
Even though you have delegated a task to someone else, you are still responsible for making sure
the task is done on time and correctly. If the task fails, you can not point the finger. You
delegated. It is your fault. You may have picked the wrong person for the job.
The amount of authority you delegate is up to you, although it should be enough to complete the
task. It is no good giving Bob the task of opening the safe every morning at 10am if you do not
give him the authority required to do it. Bob needs the key to open the safe with.
Tasks you should not delegate
Obviously some aspects of leadership are sensitive and should not be delegated. For example:
 Hiring
 Firing
 Pay issues
 Policy
Your task after delegating
After delegating:
Plan - goals, meeting, tasks
Direct - your team, keep them on track
Encourage - boost morale
Practical aspects of directing teams
When directing a small team it is important to structure the tasks to be performed. Goals should
be easily understood by everyone and tasks broken down so that they appear achievable.
Break down the task
Nothing will be more demoralizing for your team than setting them a task that seems impossible
(the brick wall approach). Therefore, it is important to define a task as a series of small but
significant steps which seem realistic. As the person performs these broken-down steps he/she
will feel something tangible has been accomplished. The next step toward finishing will become
clear. The brick wall approach will usually result in the task not being accomplished.
Goal analysis
It is probable that as a team leader you will want to set goals for your team or project. One such
goal may be "to improve communications amongst the team". Clearly there will be many
different interpretations of this goal by different team members. Goal analysis seeks to remove
this ambiguity.
Goal analysis should define an abstract goal in terms of concrete criteria, which when met will
clearly demonstrate that the goal has been achieved. The criteria should be expressed in terms of
actions or results rather than abstractions (which may be ambiguous). There are 5 steps:
1) Write down the goal.
At this stage the goal is an abstract thing, and it is important not to worry too much about how
the goal is written down - a rough definition or idea will suffice.
2) Without editing or judging - describe the goal.
Get team members to quickly describe what they understand by the goal. At this stage all
suggestions should be noted down - no ideas are wrong or stupid. This is similar to the technique
of brainstorming.
3) Sort.
Sort out the ideas generated by 2 into an ordered or prioritized list which defines the goal. At this
stage it may become apparent that some ideas are abstractions but are still important. If this is the
case use steps 1 and 2 to clearly define these.
4) State each action or result obtained from 3.
Make the team read and try to understand the list from step 3.
5) Test the statements.
Ask the question - "When these all statements have been demonstrated to be true, will the goal
have been achieved?" Test each statement in turn for relevance. If the answer is yes then the goal
has been defined.
Keeping the team together
One function that a leader of a team must perform is holding the team together. A leader is
responsible for:
 ensuring project goals are met
 ensuring a full team effort
 keeping the team happy
The key to holding the team together is motivation. To motivate is to: "cause (person) to act in a
particular way; stimulate interest of (person in activity)."
In simple terms, motivation can be considered as the amount of effort an individual is willing to
put into their work. Therefore, it is important to ensure that any team is highly motivated towards
their work. A lack of motivation in any member of a team can have a negative affect, reducing
the group's effectiveness and possibly leading to the de-motivation of others. Given the fact that
different people are motivated in different ways, the problem facing someone in the role of
leader is to create an environment in which each individual fulfils their potential.
It is important to highlight the major influences in the motivation of people. According to the
influential motivator-hygiene theory, motivation occurs when people have job satisfaction. Job
satisfaction can be improved by increasing opportunities for:
Career advancement
While not increasing job satisfaction, improvements in the following areas can lessen job
Working conditions
Six Steps to motivation
The following steps can be taken to help achieve and maintain group motivation:
Provide opportunities for group members to become acquainted.
Indicate the importance/value of the group.
Make people feel they are important.
Clarify goals.
Identify progress.
Acknowledge achievements.
Inevitably, disputes ranging from minor differences in opinion, to fundamental differences in
ideology, will arise. The role of the team leader is to handle such disagreements constructively,
ensuring that the team remains focused on achieving its goal. The leader must encourage team
members to stand back from any disagreements and look at things objectively. By doing this, any
differences between group members will be resolved and possible conflicts avoided. A win-win
approach (as opposed to win-lose) typically works best in dealing with conflicts.
The most important point for a team leader to remember is that each individual needs to think
that they are working with the best people—to feel proud to be part of the team. By getting
people into this state of mind, a leader will instill a high level of group morale. Research shows
people in these conditions will work harder and achieve more.