Myths Surrounding Management and Leadership

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Myths Surrounding Management and Leadership

Tammie Daily

Dowling College

Author Note

Tammie Daily, Dowling College

Correspondence concerning this paper should be addressed to Tammie Daily, 4349 Andover Lane, Horn Lake, MS 38637. Email: Tammie.daily@fedex.com.

Abstract

I find it interesting that in my conversations with others, they easily interchange the meanings of management and leadership and erroneously believe that they are one in the same. Managers and leaders have different roles in helping the organization reach its full potential. Is it possible to find someone that possesses the ability to be both a good manager and a good leader? Absolutely, but to what degree are they successful in management or leadership? Most people tend to be better at one than the other. The mistake should not be made in thinking that the characteristics are the same. Our experiences, education and even our own personalities play a role in determining which areas we are stronger in. It is also important to recognize that businesses need both to succeed, no matter what the industry. It would be ideal to find someone that possesses a strong ability to lead as well as manage but the probability of finding these traits in one person is not as easy as one might think.

The purpose of this paper is to take a look at several different things when it comes to differentiating between the two. In my research I found several myths regarding leadership versus management or a leader versus a manager. In order to give a better idea of how they actually differ, my goal is to dispel some of these myths. The myths I am going to tackle with this paper are the following:

1. Leadership and management are interchangeable terms

2. Leaders and manager require the same set of competencies

3. Leadership is all about authority

Myths Surrounding Management and Leadership

There have been many works citing management and leadership styles over the years. It is interesting to note how society’s idea of the two has evolved in our ever changing process of how to get things accomplished successfully. With these differing ideas, it’s easy to understand the confusion and lack of separation in the mind of so many thus causing the misunderstanding. In fact, John Kotter points out in his blog “that misunderstanding gets in the way of any reasonable discussion about how to build a company, position it for success and win in the twenty-first century” (Kotter, 2013). There is no doubt that organizations need both management and leadership within the organization to obtain their objectives. However, the key is understanding that the two are in fact different. When an organization understands the roles its managers and leaders play and how they impact results, the easier it is to select the right people to lift the organization to new success.

Myth #1: Leadership and Management are Interchangeable Terms

When individuals actually think leadership and management are interchangeable, it indicates that they don’t see a difference in their or responsibilities. The first thing we need to look at is the definition of each of these terms. Leadership involves the ability to guide, influence and motivate other people in achieving a common goal, while management involves the ability to manage a process thru planning, organizing and controlling the process in order to achieve the common goal. Both rely on working relationships with people, the relationships are just viewed differently by leaders versus managers. When looking at it from this aspect you can easily see that leaders impact the human emotion and reaction when trying to evoke change or reach a goal. In this same view, you can see that managers are more analytical and remove human emotion from the decision making process. Leaders provide the vision of the future while the manager provides the how to and the steps in getting the organization...
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