Have To Be Good Manager To Be Effective

It is a matter of great discussion nowadays whether good managers can be effective leaders. An organization needs both good management and effective leadership to achieve business success, but in real life it is hard to find someone who has both. It is true that a good manager needs to be an effective leader, according to Pettinger (2001), leadership is one of the most important assets of management. However, leadership itself is a skill and not a profession. For example, the ex-Italian president Silvio Berlusconi was the leader of the country and of his political coalition, however, the day to day government managerial role was undertaken by his minister of economy, Giulio Tremonti. On the other hand, Sergio Marchionne, the CEO of Fiat and Chrysler Motor companies, takes both an active leadership and managing role in both companies. By having leadership skills, it is possible to be a good manager and an effective leader at the same time. In this essay I aim to give definitions of both leaders and managers as well as making a clear distinction between the two, followed by how the theory of leadership has changed over time, starting from ‘leaders are born’ to ‘leaders can be made’.

A manager can be defined as ‘To manage is to forecast and plan, to organize, to command, to coordinate and to control’ (Fayol, 1916) and that ‘management is a social process…the process consists of… planning, control, coordination and motivation’ (Brech, 1957). Buckingham highlights the matter to be a good manager as ‘there is one quality which distinguishes great managers from the rest, they find out people strength and capitalize on it’. On the other hand, ‘Leadership is the process in which an individual influences other group members towards the attainment of group or organizational goals’ (Shackleton, 1995). Adair (2002) says that a good leader is someone who people follow in good times as well as bad, because they are confident about his person, his ability and knowledge of his profession and because they matter to him.

Main Body

There is a substantial difference between management and leadership, although some opinionists do say that they are diverse in concept but coincide significantly (ed. Thomas, 2008). John Kotter (1991) makes a clear distinction between managers and leaders. He says that, while manager thinking is based on typical planning and budgeting, without innovation or changes, they develop abilities to achieve plans by creating an organization structure and putting employees in them. By controlling and problem solving they ensure the plan is achieved.

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On the other hand leaders bring change by fixing a vision in the future along with strategies to bring the changes needed to achieve that goal. They communicate new directions and create groups that understand the vision and strive to its achievement. They motivate and give a boost to people by satisfying their human needs and make them feel an important asset of the group.

After many studies of managers and leaders were undertaken from all walks of life over time, it was concluded that ‘there are three main approaches to understanding leadership, like paths converging towards the mist-shrouded summit of a mountain: qualities, situational and functional. Each makes a vital contribution’ (Adair, 2002). Over time, other leadership theories had been introduced such as style, transactional and transformational theories.

Traits and characteristics of leadership

The studies of Classical Management were based on the fact that good managers were successful as a result of their personal qualities, hence leadership studies were focused on personal qualities. Drucker (1955) said that there are no substitutes for leadership because of its absolute importance, it cannot be created, taught or learned. Thus, the earlier ideology in leadership was that leaders are born and cannot be made. According to Adair (ed. Thomas, 2008), the traits and characteristics of leadership are enthusiasm, integrity, toughness, fairness, warmth and confidence.

Behavioural Theory

Moving forward in time, it was discovered that the theme of leadership, according to Cole (2004), was a matter of specific behaviours of the leader at work rather than of personality, thus contradicting the Trait theory. Both management and leadership are involved in the behavioural style theories. The main difference was based on authoritarian versus democratic style and people versus task oriented. One of the greatest contributors of authoritarian-democratic style is McGregor (1960) with his Theory X and Theory Y. The Theory X represents the authoritarian manager, sever, tyrannical and does rigid controls with punishment-reward system. On the other hand, the Theory Y represents the democratic manager, who is permissive and believes that workers can control themselves. This theory implies that a manager can choose to be authoritarian or democratic, and that the ideal style is the democratic one. A disadvantage of this style theory is that they pay attention to the leader’s behaviour, neglecting other elements such as importance of the task, the internal situation of the group and the abilities of the individuals.

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The people-task orientation is based on two variables, people and task. Cole (2004) says that the Michigan Studies were analysed in 1950, based on the research of variables which distinguishes managers of high-productivity groups and managers of low-productivity groups. The result obtained was that the manager of the high productivity group was employee-oriented with more concern about relation at work, motivating workers to participate actively in decision making and to be permissive. Conversely, low productivity supervisor was more aware of the task’s need than the people satisfaction and with rigid direction. In 1950 the Ohio studies were conducted, concerning leadership behaviour. The research was based on the Leader Behaviour Description Questionnaire (LBDQ) where two groups have been identified defined as ‘Consideration’ and ‘Initiating Structure’. Consideration described the behaviour as relationship-oriented. Initiating Structure defines the behaviour based on organisation work process such as to set the task and communication channels.

Are leaders born or made?

According to Pettinger (2001) unlike the religious leaders such as Jesus and Mohammed, leaders are made, not born. Some people have high leadership skills and qualities than others, however, they become effective leaders by working on these. For example, Julius Caesar exerted his authority for over twenty years, as a military leader, he never asked his soldiers to do something that he was not ready to do himself.

Functional Theory

According to Adair (ed. Thomas, 2008) functional leadership is concerned with the fact that leadership is based more on appropriate behaviour rather than personality of the leader. The functional model highlights the difference between consideration for individuals from the consideration for groups and supports that effective leadership is what a leader does to achieve the needs of the task, the group and individuals. To achieve the common goal is to meet the task function. Group maintenance function is to supervise the group and some activities such as team-building, give motivation, discipline and communication. Individual maintenance function is met by held activities such as development, motivating and satisfying individual needs. Each of these needs are interdependent between them. By achieving the task, group and individual needs are automatically satisfied. However, if group and individual needs are not independently satisfied, then the task need will not be met. The best leaders are those who can balance the three elements according to the demands of the situation.

Contingency theory

In Pettinger’s (2001) view, leadership sees its evolution in the Contingency approach, which argues that the traits and the behaviour of a leader depends widely on the working environment. According to Fiedler (1967) the leader determines the group performance by following an accurate style regarding the relative advantage of the situation. The variables which find the advantage of the situation are relationship between leader and worker, level of structure in the task and power of the position. Eight probable combination of situations can be determined from the three variables, which results in a favourable leader when leader-follower relation is good, the task is well structured and he has an authoritarian position. Contrarily, the leader is less favourable when is not liked from the workers, the task is poorly structured and he has a weak position.

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Transactional and transformational

According to Bertocci (2009) the changes of needs in organizations and the difficulty to cope with these changes were high. As a result of this, the Transactional and Transformational leadership theories were introduced. Both theories are relationship and path goal based leadership behaviour. In George and Jones (2009) point of view, transactional leader is someone who motivates the workers by rewarding them for high performance or scolding them for higher efficiency. For example, the employee has to increase sales to get a higher salary, reduce cost to obtain bonuses or to increase the work quantity to achieve promotions. Bertocci (2009) supports that a transformational leader is a person who motivates followers to obtain a better result than what was expected. This ability is the result of three personalities of the leader such as charisma, individual attention and intellectual situation.

Conclusion is just a very short summary of whatever you already discussed in the essay. You can start like this: ‘In conclusion, it has been shown that to be a good manager, you need to be an effective leader. Initial theories had suggested that leaders are born and cannot be made hence, managers need to be intrinsically good leaders, however, this theory is clearly outdated and newer studies show that in both management and leadership the style is an aspect of behaviour at work. After further researches, it was discovered that the traits and behaviour of a leader depends on widely on the environment. As Pettinger (2001) says, leadership is a practical asset of the managerial function, as a result of this, it is important that it is learned, developed and applied. All leaders-managers or viceversa, must have authority, influence and followers.

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