Understanding the link between management and leadership is key to the success of any company. The
focus on leadership in recent decades has created a business environment where,
arguably, the quality of leadership is held in higher esteem than that of
management. A number of commentators have attempted to redress the balance,
however, by highlighting the importance of both leadership and
management skills, while at the same time as acknowledging the
differences between the two concepts gives a better understanding of their role.
Managers are those that deal with the necessity of getting the job done. They are the ones who implement and maintain the change that is required in the organisation. The focus of the management is the how and when ensuring that the systems and structure are in place to reach the required outcome.
The question is can a manager be an effective leader? I believe that an effective manager has leadership qualities that encourage their team to excel, such attributes as inspiring others and encouraging head and the heart are leadership qualities which take a manager from going through the motions to becoming an effective leader.
Using these skills they can develop to be effective leaders that the team will turn to for encouragement and support. The measure of a manager as an effective leader can be directly related to the principles of the Blake Mouton Grid which shows the concern of people in relation to the concern for the task at hand.
While this Grid is normally used for the assessment of a team leader role it still holds true for a manager. When a manager has high concern for the people in their team and the completion of the task at hand they will naturally start to progress into the use of a manager leadership style that is more efective, where they start to consider Task, Team and Individual as a whole.
This type of leadership was noted within the work of John Adar and is termed Action Centred Leadership.
Another point of view is that a manager cannot be an effective leader as the very nature of a manager is to be a follower who maintains the status quos. From this angle the manager is a good solder who follows the orders of those higher up in the food chain , it is important that they do things right and bring order and structure.
Leaders are those with the long range perspective, they are forging ahead following the road less travelled. This pioneering spirit is what drives them forward giving determination and often the spark of greatness, that something about their essence that draws others like moths to a flame.
The question is can a leader be an effective manager? There are many leadership styles which are very big picture thinking. The leader is shaking the tree of covenantal thinking, transforming the word that we live in. These types of leaders often are unable to be an effective manager. This is due to matter of focus, they are often a driving force which inspires others to follow however as they are always looking forward they are unable to operate in the short term of implementing systems and structure.
To be a successful leader you could argue that it is required for them to be an effective manager in some regard – after all they need to identify the key measures of success for the vision, and insure or manage these key elements to bring the vision in to reality.
The mark of an effective leader is the ability to move between different leadership styles as the need arises. These changes are often dictated by what is termed as a situational variable where a certain style of leadership is best used to handle the situational in the best possible way.
For a leader to switch between different styles they require the ability to manage effectively, for it is only through the eyes of management can some situations be handled.
As mentioned earlier there is a need for a leadership and management to work in tandem. Both are essential to the success of an organization; yet, often they can be like the repulsing polarity of two magnets, they push against one another and, if not kept in balance, can end up ejecting one or the other causing great damage to the organization and its people. It is difficult, yet necessary, to maintain both strong leadership and strong management simultaneously.
The best way to understand the balance between management and leadership is to first out line the key attributes of both. Research over the last few years has consistently shown these to be as follows:
As can be seen by the above table a manager is very much focused on the task and short term of what needs to be done thus creating the necessary order that promotes effective work practices while a leader is all about giving purpose and meaning, they are people focused with the ability to motivate staff to go that extra mile. It’s important to note that without the structured management and control, a business can dissolve into chaos.
While without successful leadership, employees are not motivated to do any more than the bare minimum there is still a requirement for management in order to sustain change and to drive forward the required improvements; on the other side of the coin management without leadership lacks direction and misses “the big picture” that enables a business to remain resilient to change.
Business academics Mintzberg and Gosling1 made the following observation on the balance of management and leadership. “Just as management without leadership encourages an uninspired style, which deadens activities, leadership without management encourages a disconnected style, which promotes hubris”.
The key to achieving balance is having managers who lead, inspire and motivate employees to achieve business-wide goals, while having leaders that can switch between different styles as the situation requires. At the end of the day having this balance between management and leadership all comes down to healthy relationships and a productive environment that fosters growth and achievement.