Leadership and Management: a Comparative Essay

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Over the years there has been a lot of debate on the similarities and differences between management and leadership. Weathersby (1999) argued that "management is the allocation of scarce resources against an organization's objective, the setting of priorities, the design of work and the achievement of results" whereas leadership "focuses on the creation of a common vision". Schruijer and Vansina (1999) proposed that management is about "doing things right" and leadership is "doing the right things". Both studies appear to view the management function as an administrative role while placing the leadership function as a visionary role. Locander, Luechauer, and Pope (2007) support this notion by arguing that leadership is like theater and that the leader is the visible manifestation of an organization's or project's success or failure. Therefore, he or she must engage the followers to believe in and achieve a desired outcome "By paying attention to what people want and expect, and by searching for solutions to problems, the leader can act appropriately and fulfill the desired role" (Locander, et. al, 2007). Lichtenstein, Bien, Marion, Seers, Orton, and Schreiber (2006) added a relational dimension to their definition of leadership stating that "leadership is an emergent event, an outcome of relational interactions among agents...leadership emerges through dynamic interactions". Having a background in Communication Studies, I also look at how relationships affect the definition of both leadership and management. Effective leadership and management results in the achievement of goals; quality leadership and management builds and sustains working relationships in the process of achieving those goals. Having this understanding, I define leadership as creating and maintaining relationships in such a way that it motivates people to achieve personal and shared goals. Management, in turn, nurtures those relationships and bridges the vertical gap in organizational structure....
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