understanding leadership

Topics: Leadership, Management, Situational leadership theory Pages: 23 (4310 words) Published: May 28, 2014



In this unit you will:
understand leadership styles
understand leadership qualities and review own leadership qualities and potential

Appreciating the Role of the Leader

Leadership vs. Management

Leadership and management must go hand in hand. They are not the same thing. But they are necessarily linked, and complementary.

The manager’s job is to plan, organise and coordinate. The leader’s job is to inspire and motivate. In his 1989 book “On Becoming a Leader,” Warren Bennis composed a list of the differences:

the manager administers
the leader innovates
the manager is a copy
the leader is an original
the manager maintains
the leader develops
the manager focuses on systems and structures
the leader focuses on people
the manager relies on control
the leader inspires trust
the manager has a short-range view
the leader has a long-range perspective
the manager asks how and when
the leader asks what and why
the manager has his/her eye always on the bottom line
the leader’s eye is on the horizon
the manager imitates
the leader originates
the manager accepts the status quo
the leader challenges it
the manager is the classic good soldier
the leader is his/her own person
the manager does things right
the leader does the right thing

Attributes of a leader:

Studies, and develops ideas and principles
Resourceful and looks for solutions to problems
Empathetic with a focus on people
Inspires trust among stakeholders
Understands the big picture
Superior listening skills
Courageously challenges the state of affairs, and asks why and what can be improved Looks for opportunities to develop strengths
Develops a following

A leader’s specific roles are determined through the four basic leadership responsibilities of directing, coaching, supporting and delegating. Specific responsibilities will fall into one of these four categories. In leadership practice, one must master skills in all areas in order to effectively lead others under their direction.

Developing strengths in each of the four leadership roles allows a leader to read specific situations accurately and know what communication style is best applied.


Directing refers to how to keep work tasks and activities on the right track. A leader’s direction is what makes or breaks problem solving as well as determines the effectiveness of an approach to an assignment or task, the maintaining of momentum until its completion, and whether it is done by deadline. There are several ways to generate good direction techniques. These include:

Explain things completely and include the ‘why’s’

Leaders learn early on that the best way to gain support and trust from their employees is to explain all things in their entirety. Once people understand why something is important or necessary, they generally rally to the call of that which needs to be done or addressed.

Remain visible

Leaders understand the power of their presence at all times. Nothing deflates the workforce’s motivation and desire to achieve more than to be left on their own with no visible means of support or direction.

Objectively consider opposing points of view

Leaders consider situations, problems and solutions from various viewpoints, as the input from as many individuals as possible expands their capabilities to effectively frame their direction.


Coaching refers to when a leader knows where he or she wants to go and remains in control of the task but needs to lead others in developing a mutual support network. Coaching instils the desire to achieve and builds a dialogue bridge between the leader and those under his or her charge. This motivates employees and positively changes attitudes toward the work assignment. To do this effectively a leader must make an effort to:

Incorporate the word ‘we’ into all conversations


Bibliography: The Wall Street Journal
Article: What is the difference between Management and Leadership (last accessed 4 August 2013)
Article: 10 Key Differences between Leaders and Managers (last accessed 4 August 2013)
Techno Func™
Article: Trait Theory of Leadership (last accessed 4 August 2013)
Article: Behavioural Theories of Leadership (last accessed 7 August 2013)
Article: Psychology Theories (last accessed 7 August 2013)
Research Methodology
Article: Theory X and Theory Y (last accessed 7 August 2013)
Article: Theory X and Theory Y (last accessed 7 August 2013)
Article: Fiedler’s Contingency Model (last accessed 11 August 2013)
Article: The Hersey-Blanchard Situational Leadership® Theory (last accessed 11 August 2013)
Article: Fiedler’s contingency model to leadership (by Bhobotosh Debnath) (last accessed 11 August 2013)
Article: Tannenbaum and Schmidt Continuum (last accessed 11 August 2013)
The Build Network
Article: Leadership styles to master (last accessed 11 August 2013)
Article: The 5 Types of Power in Leadership (last accessed 11 August 2013)
Leadership Now
Article: How the best leaders build trust (last accessed 11 August 2013)
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