Leadership vs Management – Analysis
The Role Of Management Through The Century
The traditional role of a manager is primarily to ‘control’ their subordinates. The success of a managed project depends upon several factors listed below:
- Motivation of staff
- Resources (financial and non-financial) allocated to the task
- Expertise and competence of the staff
- Productivity and efficiency
- Soundness of project plan
- Uncontrollable external factors
Highlighted in bold are those factors that most managers are charged with control over. Often budgeting and strategic planning for an operation is completed at a higher level of management, and thus isn’t always a controllable factor.
In the Fordism era, managers were charged with maximising efficiency of the large staff numbers in manufacturing plants, and the Ford management style was created. Under this theory, staff were given a minimum number of separate tasks and were shown precisely how to do each job so they became an expert in a tiny area. This encouraged operational efficiency, and was used alongside financial incentives to motivate employees to work.
As times have changed, Fordism now appears out-dated. Management experts in the modern day recommend soft (difficult-to-measure) goals alongside the obvious desire to maximise profits. Such ‘soft’ goals could include the following:
- High employee retention rates
- Increased employee participation
- Fundraising for charities
- Reducing the environmental impact of business activities
- Focusing on training top quality individuals
Such goals cannot be achieved with the same old fashioned management styles that dominated factories in the 1920′s, and hence several new theories have been put forward that now better reflect the way society expects managers to behave.
The Role Of Leadership Through The Century
While the role of managers has undoubtedly been made far more complex throughout the last century, the role of the business leader has stayed remarkably similar. This is in part due to the fact that while businesses have been intensely competing for low-level staff as unemployment has hit all-time lows during the 1900′s, demand for top level jobs has remained unsurprisingly solid. This has meant that while businesses have had to adapt and offer a more attractive work environment for new employees, the treatment of business leaders and senior management has hardly changed at all. Boardrooms have always been tense places.
The role of a leader is to create the top level organisational strategies and coordinate senior management in their efforts to implement the companies long term plan. As a figurehead, leaders also are required to liaise with the press and employees alike – promoting their company to both their customers and workers.
Leadership Vs Management
The leadership management comparison can be split into several areas of difference.
1. Leadership Style
Leaders use a transformational or democratic leadership style. This involves inspiring and empowering collegues, whereas managers tend to lean towards an autocratic managing style which allows them to retain most of the authority and decision making power in a business unit. In short, a leader allows people to make effective decisions, and managers attempt to make them.
2. Time focus
While it can be observed that especially among Fortune 500 companies, a CEO has a shorter expected lifespan than general manager at company, leaders still embrace a more long term time horizon. In comparison, managers are given tight targets to meet each quarter which causes them to live in a short term perspective. This can be detrimental to organisational goals but is deemed to carry more benefits than drawbacks in the current economic climate.
3. Nature of relationship with colleagues
It is said that managers have subordinates, while leaders have followers. What this displays is that people who obey managers act like unwilling tools at their disposal, whereas followers of leaders are willing and intrinsically motivated.
4. Risk Adversity
Leaders; especially entrepreneurial leaders, enjoy risk. Risk brings rewards if approached in a successful way. However for a manager, the upsides of accepting risk are minimal. A flat salary or limited bonus package ensures that managers will be more worried about losing their job or respect, than they would appreciate the limited benefits of succeeding. A manager certainly wishes for a more comfortable job than an true leader.
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