Thursday, January 7, 2010

Do we Need Leadership in Management?

Leadership in Management? – No way, many would respond as they find leadership a threat to the set rules of the management. But given a cool thought, at least I am convinced that management and leadership are two inseparable twins who make a perfect winning combination for better productivity, management and working environment.

Leadership has since ages belonged to the military. And the basic work on leadership skills and theories mainly related to the military. But lately, more research work has gone in for its application in the business as the forces acting on the process of business are much more fierce, ruthless and damaging than in the military. The only difference being that in military, leadership failure results in loss of land and human lives while in business, lack of leadership qualities result in crumbling of business empires, drastic fall in productivity and profits. Today in the corporate world, the business warfare even brings two countries to war.
So what is leadership and how does it relate to business and management. Lets first define leadership.

  • Leadership being a very rare quality in humans needs to be defined and worded very carefully as a loose statement may undermine the very basis of leadership concept.
  • Leadership is influence exuding from character. If there is no influence over people, they will not follow. If one wants to be a leader, one has to learn how to develop one’s influence. The amount of influence one has will be determined by what kind of person one is ---one’s character, which will also determine the type of people who will. So to start with, this is one simple definition which brings in “influence over people.” The more a person wields influence over the people around him, more leadership quality he would be possessing.
  • Now another definition says, “Leadership is the art of motivating a group of people to act towards achieving a common goal.” It is the same influence which has now been given the name of “art of motivation”. The achievement of a common goal is must. If the goal of leader and the led is different, the desired effects cannot be obtained. Taking into a negative sense, many a times it so happens that certain people have a hidden agenda, and while apparently they seem to be propagating for the achievement of the same goal, they may in fact be striving for their own personal gains or hat of others. This is what the vagabonds do. And one finds many such leaders in our lives (I wont go into giving examples).
  • Lets see how personalities describe leadership. "My definition of a leader . . . is a man who can persuade people to do what they don't want to do, or do what they're too lazy to do, and like it." — Harry S. Truman, ( once President of the United States). The definition is speaks for itself. Getting a willing response from people even if they don’t like it or arousing a people otherwise not wanting to do a thing but when they do it they find it to be “The” thing they had not been wanting to do.
  • "I am looking for a lot of men who have an infinite capacity to not know what can't be done." — Henry Ford
  • "A manager takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don't necessarily want to go but ought to."  Rosalyn Carter
  • Managers  have subordinates and are “PAID” to get things done (they are subordinates too). Unless they are paid they don’t work. So it defines them as paid employees who do not do anything voluntarily or something not paid for.
Difference Between Leadership and Management
  • Taking from the last definition of the managers, the difference between managers and leaders is working for pay or voluntarily. This doesn’t mean that a manager cannot be a leader. In fact doing a little beyond his sphere of duty/charter of work voluntarily makes a manager a leader as well.
  • So leader is someone with an aura, a charisma and a unique quality to take people where they don’t want to go but ought to go. I could go on and on to describe what and who is and should be a leader but above few quotes and definitions are adequate to describe the person of a leader.
  • But see the last definition, which also talks of a manager. From here the difference start between a manager and a leader. Managers control or direct people/resources in a group according to principles or values that have already been established. While on the contrary, Leaders set a new direction or vision for a group that they follow, i.e.: a leader is the spearhead for that new direction. When a leader acts as a figure-head without setting any direction, technically this is not leadership. So a leader must set a direction or a goal to strive for. And while the management is about directing and controlling according to established principles.

Having said that, let us also realize that leadership without management or management without leadership is meaningless. Both are required to take advantages of their strengths to over come the inherent weakness.

We will continue to write more on leadership and management skills in our future posts.
Relevant Reading: Leadership vs Management
-->Leadership Definitions

Photo Courtesy: Leadership Definitions 


I think we need leaders. Management will follow after we have sound leadership. No?

Nice post.

It is your opinion - yes we need leaders but those with a positive approach - look around wont you?

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