The debate between management and leadership has been an ongoing discussion for many years. Some people believe that managers and leaders are basically the same thing while others believe that they are quite different. It is important to start with a definition for management and leadership. Management is defined the act or art of managing: the conducting or supervising of something (such as a business (Merriam-Webster, 2020). Leadership is defined as the process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal (Northouse, 2016). Leaders of an organization are often tasked with creating a vision statement. A vision statement briefly details how the organization is currently functioning and where/how it should be functioning in the future. Leaders are more focused on the bigger picture and projections for the future where managers are focused more with the day to day tasks of the organization. Without one or the other, an organization would not be nearly as effective or successful as it could be with a manager and leader (Northouse, L. 1 p. 13 2016). Both managers and leaders play a major role when it comes to motivation, goal setting and communication within an organization.
Motivation is thought of as the reason for acting in a particular way. Motivation is why you are willing to do something. An example of this is the reason why people show up to work every day. Take a second to think about what motivates you to go work or school or to even exercise and eat healthy. Is it money, praise, good grades, awards, or maybe to avoid punishment? Or is it because you are personally interested in schoolwork, going to work or being healthy? It is important for both leaders and mangers to understand that each employee or follower is motivated by different things. Some may be motivated by extrinsic or intrinsic factors. Managers must possess the skills to motivate employees to complete day-to-day tasks. Managers often use extrinsic motivation to encourage performance from employees and focus less on relationship building. They may reward their employees with bonuses or high levels of praise. This could be effective if they know that their employees are motivated extrinsically – money, praise, etc. On the other hand, leaders typically motivate their followers intrinsically and focus more on forming personal relationships (Northouse, L 1 p. 15 2016). Their ability to drive change and create a sense of teamwork promotes a sense of self-motivation among followers. When followers are able to see the vision that the leader is presenting and feel personally connected to the goal that is set forth, they will more likely feel motivated from within to be successful. Leaders have the ability to connect on a deeper level with their followers that promote intrinsic motivation which is said to be more rewarding to a person.
Goal setting is a primary responsibility of a leader and manager. Managers set short-term goals in order to get tasks completed within the allotted time frame. Leaders set long term goals that encompass the vision statement. When it comes to setting good goals, you will often see the acronym SMART. When leaders and managers use SMART goals, they promote strategic alignment and motivation (Strickland, 2019). SMART stands for: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Both managers and leaders need to be well versed when it comes to creating realistic goals. Goals help employees and followers monitor their performance and it helps managers meet deadlines. Determination according to Northouse is a major leadership trait. Determination is the desire to get the job done and includes characteristics such as initiative, persistence, dominance and drive (Northouse, L 2 p. 24-25, 2016). Not only do employees and followers need to be motivated but managers and leaders also need to be highly motivated.
Communication goes beyond verbal interactions, communication from leaders encompasses direction. Leaders with high levels of integrity inspire confidence in others because they are trustworthy (Northouse, L 2 p. 25, 2016). Another trait that is important for leaders to encompass is sociability. Leaders and mangers alike need to be able to communicate effectively with their team members and subordinates. Take a second to think about your prior managers and leaders. Do you remember them having an open-door policy or being approachable when it comes to communication? Or were you fearful to ask questions and share your ideas? More often than not, employees do not feel as comfortable as they should when conversing with a superior. This is often due to the environment of communication set forth by the leader or manager.
Overall, communication, motivation, and goal setting are three major areas of focus for both leaders and managers. The ability to motivate, create goals and communicate effectively can distinguish good and bad managers and leaders. While managers are used more for organization and structural purposes, leaders are more focused on change and movement (Northouse, L 1 p. 13, 2016). Although they may have their differences, an organization is more successful with both a manager and leader.
Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Management. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. Retrieved May 20, 2020, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/management
Northouse, P. G. (2016). Leadership Theory and Practice, Seventh Edition. Chapters 1 & 2. Sage Publications.
Strickland, K. (2019). SMART Goals for Managers and Leaders. PeopleGoal. Retrieved from: https://www.peoplegoal.com/blog/smart-goals-for-managers