Leaders and Managers
Organizational leadership has been the topic of extensive and intensive study in an attempt to throw light on what lies at the heart of good leadership and find ways to improve and predict effective leadership practices that can lead to effective organizational change efforts, organizational health and organizational success. These efforts have resulted in a variety of definitions, theories, models and applications as have learned in this course. I present this reflective paper demonstrating my leadership in the future by applying the knowledge I have learned in this course.
First, I give a little vision of how I see myself in the future. By the year 2011 after I graduated from Ashord University, I want to start my own outlet business just near my house. I will mostly sell clothes and accessories which I myself will handcraft. Once I have saved enough money, I will then be able to expand my business by renting or buying a building. Also, once the business expands, I will then start to hire employees while I myself will run the floor.
It is difficult to begin, or even attempt to, define leadership. According to Razik & Swanson (2001), “there is still no general consensus about what constitutes leadership or effective leadership within organizations”. Leadership is more difficult to explain conceptually than any other simpler topics more easily open to concise definition. Yukl (1994) states that “…the definition of leadership is arbitrary and very subjective. Some definitions are more useful than others, but there is no correct definition.” Seeing this difficulty in defining leadership, it is equally hard to visualize one’s self applying leadership. That is, it is equally hard to become the embodiment of leadership — to become the leader yourself.
However, to simplify this complexity, scholars and researchers have studied and discovered some common elements contained in many definitions of leadership. Many researchers agree that the majority of the definitions of leadership contain the notion that leadership is a relationship process between an individual or a group of people exerting influence over other people, all of whom are members of a mutual group or organization (Leithwood and Duke, 1998; Lunenburg and Ornstein, 1991).
Leithwood and Duke further believes the possibility and importance of developing a more comprehensive account of leadership. They identified six major dominant categories of leadership: instructional leadership, transformational leadership, moral leadership, participative leadership, managerial leadership, and contingent leadership. I discuss briefly each of these categories of leadership. I also discuss some major contemporary leadership theories and approaches that can be classified as trait, behavioral, contingency and situational theories and leadership within organizations as a culture theory. The difference of leadership and management are also discussed. I then see how these concepts can be applied to my future business plans.
Contemporary Leadership Theories
Leadership Trait Theories
The early studies of leadership focused on the personal qualities and characteristics of leaders to determine what if any physical, personality and intellectual abilities differentiated effective leaders from ineffective leaders. These studies looked at a number of traits such as capacity (intelligence, alertness, verbal facility, originality, judgment), achievement (scholarship, knowledge, athletic accomplishments), responsibility (dependability, initiative, persistence, aggressiveness, self-confidence, desire to excel), participation (activity, sociability, cooperation, adaptability, humor), and status (socioeconomic position, popularity).
The current trend in the trait approach to leadership is marked by yet another shift. Researchers are now looking at job-related skills and abilities in leaders rather than personality traits. The focus is on such skills and abilities as developing and communicating a vision of the organization, building relationships and networks of support, and cultivating a fertile organizational culture that can support the achievement of desired outcomes and results. These identified leadership skills and abilities have been used as the basis for developing a number of assessment instruments to identify and select potential leaders in many sectors such as the military, business and government.
Leadership Behavior Theories
The leadership behavior tradition has attempted to understand leadership by shifting the focus from what effective leaders are as in leadership trait theories to what effective leaders do. The theories in this tradition have examined effective leadership behavior by identifying specific leader behaviors as well as the effect these behaviors have on subordinate productivity and work satisfaction.
A number of management theorists don’t buy the argument that leadership is the key factor in determining an organization’s success. They assert that a winning a culture, or efficient work processes, or any number of other ancillary attributes are the sine qua nons for success. Indeed, it is agreeable that those things are important. But leadership takes precedence over everything else.
Leadership matters. And it matters more in times of uncertainty than in times of stability. Leadership is not contained in a gene any more or any less than other pursuits. Leadership is not a place, it’s not a position, and it’s not a secret code that can’t be deciphered by ordinary people. Leadership is an observable set of skills and abilities. Leadership is no longer limited to a handful of executives at the top level of an organization.
Leadership takes precedence because of the fact that leaders are the people who decide what needs to be done and the ones who make things happen.
Another reason is that it’s the leaders who create the cultures and use the tools.
In a broad sense, leaders stage revolutions. They are constantly challenging the status quo and looking around to see if they are doing the right things, or if those things can be done better or smarter. And most importantly, leaders spot something that needs to be changes, they do something about it. In more concrete terms, they do two specific things:
See reality — size up the current situation as it really is, not as it used to be or as they would like it to be, and
Mobilize the appropriate responses
This is a lot harder than it sounds. Seeing reality requires leaders to remove filters that screen out the things they might not want to see, acknowledge their own and their companies’ shortcomings, and accept the need for change.
Leadership vs. Management
Contrary to most people think, leadership and management are two distinctive things. Each has its own systems of action, function and characteristic activities. But both are, of course, necessary for success in an increasingly complex and volatile environment. No one can say that leadership is better than management nor that leadership is a replacement for it. Dozens of people can play important leadership roles in a business organization. But while improving their ability to lead, companies should remember that strong leadership with weak management is not better, and is sometimes, actually worse than the reverse. The real challenge is to combine strong leadership and strong management and use each to balance the other.
Not everyone can be good at both leading and managing. Others are better off as managers but they cannot necessarily be labeled as strong leaders. Others, on the other hand, can have great leadership skill but find it difficult to manage. Smart companies value both kinds of people and work hard to make them a part of the team. But when it comes to preparing people for executive jobs, such companies tend to ignore the recent literature that says people cannot manage and lead. Thus, companies should understand the fundamental difference between leadership and management.
Management is about coping with complexity. Its practices and procedures are largely a response to one of the most significant developments of the twentieth century: the emergence of large organizations. Without good management, complex enterprises tend to become chaotic in ways that threaten their very existence Also, management can be associated with the process by which a person or an individual takes over or copes with something or someone taken to account. Management can also be correlated to the skill of an individual on how to handle certain types of tasks and works being given to them. . Good management brings a degree of order and consistency to key dimensions like the quality and profitability of products.
Leadership, by contrast, is about coping with change. Part of the reason it has become so important in recent years is that the business world has become more competitive and more volatile. Faster technological change, greater international competition, the deregulation of markets, overcapacity in capital-intensive industries, an unstable oil cartel, raiders with junk bonds, and the changing demographics of the work force are among the many factors that have contributed to this shift. The net result is that doing what was done yesterday, or doing it 5% better, is no longer a formula for success. Also, leadership demands a lot more than management does. Though management requires the ability to maintain the position of something or to make it even better, leadership requires more than just the ability of handling others or oneself, it needs a broader mind and a wider span of free slot left for experience. Leadership copes up with each and every little change that is occurring in the matters within his control. These changes are the ones that make the work of being a leader more complex than just taking over. Major changes are more and more necessary to survive and compete effectively in this new environment. More change always demands more leadership.
To be able to apply it when I have a business of my own, I must bear in mind a few things ideas especially in balancing management and leadership. To manage complexity, I must begin by planning and budgeting. I should always bear in mind the importance of having a good foundation in setting up my goal. Planning and budgeting are two of the most important foundations that should always be on the list before having a business. Planning is almost always needed in every thing that a person does. It is planning that mistakes can be corrected at an early stage preventing a sharp fall along the heights of the business. It is also in planning that changes could always and be easily created.
With the association of planning before the actual set-up of my business, different types of mistakes can be avoided and still ways and ideas in order to make my business better can be easily accepted and applied during the business proper. Leading, on the other hand, begins by setting a direction. That is, I must develop a clear vision of the future along with strategies for producing the changes needed to achieve that vision. Direction is also one of the things needed in pursuing anything. Having direction clearly dictates how the business should go in a given amount of time and resources. Direction also gives the outline of the way the business should go or where the business should not go. It also gives the business the skeleton of the processes, changes and the ways that the business should undergo. Having direction also helps me avoid things that should not be included in the process of setting and pursuing my business. Without the aid of setting up the direction, I could not possibly maintain a well established business or retain the stability of the business I have just started. It also, maintains the right track that should be tackled by the business in its span. Not having a well established direction for my business would extend the possibility or increase the chance of having much more difficulties and problems to be encountered in the business I have established. Moreover, without setting up the direction for my business and the increase in the chance of having problems and difficulties, it would only slow down the speed of the development, expansion and progress that could be achieved by my business.
To achieve my plans, I should consider organizing and staffing, especially once my business starts to expand. I should consider creating an organizational structure and set of jobs for accomplishing plan requirements, staffing the jobs with qualified individuals, communicating the plan to those people, delegating responsibility for carrying out the plan, and devising systems to monitor implementation. The equivalent leadership activity for this that I must bear in mind is aligning people. This means communicating the new direction to those who can create collations that understand the vision and are committed to its achievement.
I should also consider on what my business should be. In order to know this, I should take into account the things that are mostly needed by the community that is nearest in the vicinity. This also means having broader ideas and experiences on the background of the vicinity and the people living within the area that can be a possible customer or staff of the business that I will be developing. In the process of business venturing, the ability of having a widespread relationship with the other businesses is also needed. This would greatly help me in developing and giving my business a wider area for interaction with the other businesses and corporations. In this manner, the chance of dealing with problems and the process of maintaining a well established business can be easily achieved with the help of the other businesses and corporations as well.
Finally, management ensures plan accomplishment by controlling and problem solving—monitoring results versus the plan in some detail, both formally and informally, by means of greports, meetings, and other tools; identifying deviations; and then planning and organizing to solve the problems. But for leadership, achieving a vision requires motivating and inspiring— keeping people moving in the right direction, despite major obstacles to change, by appealing to basic but often untapped human needs, values, and emotions.
To conclude, certain types of skills and values should be to account in order to establish a dream business. First, one must understand the specific roles and responsibilities of each managerial position. He should also be aware of the works and the effects of the things that should be done on the business to maintain a well established business. He should always bear in mind that there is a big difference between leadership and management.
Management is about coping with the differences and difficulties in the business while leadership is about coping with the changes and transformations in the inside and outside the business established. In establishing and even maintaining a business, one should observe the balance in and the importance of both the two values said. In order to be able to account the balance for the two, he should always understand that in order to have a high-quality business, he should always have the two qualities. He should understand that the responsibilities of a good manager are also the responsibility of a good leader.
Leithwood, K., & Duke, D. L. A century’s quest to understand school leadership.
Lunenberg, F. C., ; Ornstein, A. C. (1991). Educational administration: Concepts and practices. Belmont: Wadsworth Publishing Company.
Razik, T. A., ; Swanson, A. D. (2001). Fundamental concepts of educational leadership (Second ed.). Upper Saddle River: Prentice-Hall, Inc.
Yukl, G. (1994). Leadership in organizations (Third ed.). Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, Inc.