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Relating To Appropriate Theory, What, If Any, Are The Essential Characteristics Of Leadership That Separate It Or Do Not Separate It, From Management?

3050 words - 13 pages

Relating to appropriate theory, what, if any, are the essential characteristics of leadership that separate it or do not separate it, from management?

Bennis (2009, pg 42), in his analysis of leadership versus management, famously quoted that “Managers do things right, while leaders do the right thing” and it is this dynamic contrast that marks the opening of what might be considered a moot area for discussion. Initially it is relevant to analyse pertinent literature in relation to both the theoretical and practical side of leadership and management. Continuing with Bennis (ibid), it is interesting to note that in addition to the above statement, eleven other comparative traits are ...view middle of the document...

This is perhaps an idealistic image when one considers authoritative figures within and throughout their own career but nonetheless offers valuable characteristics that would separate a leader from a manager.

Moreover, Peters and Waterman conducted research in the field of management on a consulting organisation, McKinsey and Company, which paved the way for a well-known business theory – the McKinsey 7S Model. This model highlights those factors of which one might consider as vitally important within the role of a manager or leader. The model, which bases itself around structure, strategy, systems, skills, style, staff and shared values (Knights and Willmott, 2006, pg 277), lends itself to building a strong sense of organisational culture by encouraging employees to be as devoted to the organisation as those that run it are. Peters and Waterman on their research into this state that the key to achieving greater performance, higher motivation and improved motivation levels is to establish and maintain a “strong culture... [that is reinforced by] ... transforming leadership” (in Knights and Willmott , pg 277). Therefore, it can be identified that the ability to develop this sense of organisational culture around the appreciation of the McKinsey 7S Model is a key characteristic of a leader, which separates it from one who is a manager by allowing employees to feel a sense of pride in the organisation for which they work.

In direct contrast to the aforementioned views, Robert Greene throws a real spanner into the works with his Machiavellian-founded 'Laws of Power' (Greene and Elffers, 2000). In fact, the title itself eludes a sense of sanctimonious rigour and reading in reading these so-called 'Laws', it is clear that Greene is in favour of encouraging one to tend only to their own best interests. Instructions such as “15. Crush your enemies totally” and “42. Strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter” in no way correspond to the likes of Bennis and Peters and Waterman. Thus, it would appear that Greene has compiled a list of statements that possibly represents your average manager, one whose interests lie in themselves alone and not in enabling their colleagues or the organisation to maximise potential. Thus one might conclude that an essential characteristic of a leader over a manager is the capability to tacitly be aware of one's environment and show a human side to one's subordinates, being open and easily accessible whenever a situation might arise. It is this, when contrasted with Greene's self-centred 'Laws', that separates a manager from a leader.

Moving on now to the success of an organisation, management and/or leadership are but one contributory factor in a field of situational variables. In terms of Human Resources (HR) and specifically Human Resources Management (HRM), there are two different philosophies in terms of how employees are treated in relation to the interests of the organisation – the 'hard'...

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