Exploring Leadership and Management
The University of Texas at Arlington College of Nursing
In partial fulfillment of the requirements of
N4351 Nursing Leadership and Management
Tamara Eades, DNP, MSN, RN
September 29, 2018
Exploring Leadership and Management
Leadership and management are interrelated concepts concerned with moving a group toward a collective goal. Leadership qualities are often associated with who you are, while management is concerned with the ability to effectively manipulate resources. However, Azad, Anderson, Brooks, Garza, O’Neil, Stutz, and Sobotka (2017) argue that leadership skills are required for productive management, and management skills must be utilized to achieve effective leadership. Both leadership and management require some level of optimism, integrity, communication, and decision-making (Azad, et al., 2017). While the roles, responsibilities, and skills of leadership and management positions often overlap, the differences come into play based on the individual as well as situational circumstances.
Traditional and contemporary roles, responsibilities, and characteristics of leaders and managers are interrelated. Though the argument that leadership and management are one and the same is compelling, it does not indicate that all managers are appropriately educated or trained in leadership skills. In order to prepare effective leader-managers in the workplace, a thorough understands of the skillsets of each must be established to allow adequate training for these positions. To develop a more extensive knowledge base of the relationships between leadership and management, theoretical perceptions and practical application of these concepts are explored through scholarly literature and an interview with a management professional.
Leadership ; Management Characteristics
Leaders are typically defined in terms of their communication skills, role-modeling of positive attitudes and behaviors, and ability to empower those around them. Common terms to describe a leader include intelligent, adaptable, emotionally stable, and charismatic among many others (Marquis ; Huston, 2017). Many of these characteristics are directly related to how the leader’s influence affects his or her followers. Effective leaders are decisive, emotionally intelligent, cooperative, and use empowering (Marquis & Huston, 2017). Many of these characteristics are skills that can be learned through practice. Descriptions of managers are focused primarily on their functions within in an organization. Managers are authority figures, charged with ensuring employees are able and willing to achieve organizational goals (Marquis & Huston, 2017). Overall, managers typically need to be administratively proficient, organized, and flexible to fulfill the responsibilities of their position and achieve organizational goals.
Leadership & Management Roles
The roles of a leader are largely based upon the context and needs of followers. Dependent on situational factors, a leader may need to take on the role of decision-maker, mentor, visionary, advocate, or role model (Marquis & Huston). Leaders must empower and encourage followers to work toward common goals. R?ducan and R?ducan (2014) postulate that the primary role of a leader is mediator. This function requires the individual to manage and reconcile the group’s collective beliefs, values, and opinions with the surrounding climate within and outside of the organization (R?ducan ; R?ducan, 2014). According to Axelsson, Kullén-Engström, and Edgren (2000), there are three primary leadership roles within a team organization. One is described as fanatic and unusually preoccupied with production over all else, while another approaches goals through a gradual process to make all factors work together (Axelsson, Kullén-Engström, ; Edgren, 2000). The final leadership role described by Axelsson, Kullén-Engström, and Edgren (2000) is the godfather, a style typically taken on by experienced leaders who have fought to reach their position and are confident in their ability to make sound decisions and appropriate coordinate cooperation of others. These descriptions offer a different perspective than the more common and well-known roles of autocratic, democratic, and laissez-faire leaders. Managerial functions are more clearly defined by their set job descriptions than are leaders, since management roles arise of from official delegation of authority. Overall, the role of a manager is manipulator of resources, including employees, to achieve set objectives and uphold organizational values (Marquis ; Huston, 2017). Some roles, including decision-maker, problem-solver, and forecaster are shared with defined leadership functions. However, a manager’s approach to these roles may be very different than that of a leader, dependent on the atmosphere and structure of the organization.
Leadership and Management Responsibilities
The principal responsibility of both leaders and managers is to do what is necessary to reach common goals. While the manager works toward these objectives through planning and budgeting, the leader focuses on establishing direction (Axelsson, Kullén-Engström, & Edgren, 2000). Management functions, including organization and staffing, are more effectively achieved through leadership that aligns the values, beliefs, and needs of the group with those of the organization as a whole (Azad, et al., 2017). The primary responsibility of a manager is an administrator, wherein the individual coordinates staffing, budgeting, and resource availability to meet goals within the unit or team as well as those defined by the organization as a whole. This administrative responsibility also requires management of the work climate and develop strategies to advance the group toward set objectives (R?ducan & R?ducan, 2014). Effective management is designed to handle complications by coordinating resources and problem-solving efforts.
Communication skills are necessary for both a manager and leader, as interactions with employees can influence attitudes as well as motivation and subsequent productivity. Leadership communication methods are largely determined by the individual’s preferred style. Autocratic leaders require downward communication, while democratic and laissez faire leaders allow for a more open environment wherein members of the group feel they are able to voice ideas, concerns, and opinions (Marquis ; Huston, 2017). More specialized leadership styles emphasize different aspects of the leader’s role in the communication process. Symbolic leadership highlights the role of informal communication with coworkers and subordinates to promote commitment to set objectives in meeting expectations, (Axelsson, Kullén-Engström, & Edgren, 2000). Management communication also varies based on the individual as well as factors within the work environment. Regardless of organization structure and prescribed management responsibilities, effective communication skills are vital to maintain strategic relations and ensure coordination of tasks and resource availability (R?ducan & R?ducan, 2014). Leadership roles are more directly focused on open communication and collaboration, with allows for direction of followers through constructive changes within the work environment. Integrating principles of leadership and management communication are likely to promote an open communication environment, allowing consensus on objectives and input concerning strategies to achieving them.
Power and Decision-Making
The relationship of leadership and management with regard to power is variable based on the position of the individual and his or her overall role in the group. Appropriate use of power, for both leaders and managers, requires use of this authority in accordance with the best interests of the group rather than for the benefit of the powerful person. The key difference of management and leadership power is that managers are delegated official authority via job responsibilities while leaders develop a personal power base over time (Marquis & Huston, 2017). A leader or manager’s power requires use of the decision-making process as a result of their position within the group. The managerial decision-making model describes a process in which the individual identifies a problem, compares options and their potential costs, implements the preferred plan of action, and evaluate results for areas of success and others that could be improved (Marquis ; Huston, 2017). Leadership decision-making is largely processed according to style, varying based on a person’s preferred method and the norms of the group. Autocratic leaders emphasize individual decision-making, wherein the head of the team has absolute control. Democratic leaders encourage collaboration so that decisions represent the interests and abilities of the group at large. Laissez-faire leaders tend to delegate decision-making throughout the team with little regulation of the process (Marquis & Huston, 2017). Regardless of specific method or style, leadership and management must wield their power to make effective decisions and solve predicted or unexpected complications.
Manager ReflectionsIn order to develop a more thorough understanding of leadership and management concepts, I interviewed B. Pierce, MBA to discuss first-hand perspectives of leadership and management in the business setting. To clarify her perceptions of leadership and management, I asked her “What characteristics do you associate with leaders?” to which she responded that leaders are “trustworthy, good listeners, and experienced communicators,” (B. Pierce, personal communication, September 25, 2018). This question was repeated with regard to management characteristics. She describes managers as “task-oriented, good at follow-through, and organized,” (B. Pierce, personal communication, September 25, 2018). This understanding of management qualities received further elaboration, as the interviewee clarified that “the most important skill in management is being a task-master and being able to follow through on completion of those tasks,” (B. Pierce, personal communication, 2018). When asked “How do the roles of a leader compare to those of a manager?” B Pierce responded that
“Leaders are the inspiration, the facilitator of how the team interacts, and they encourage everyone to do their best work to reach their goals. The manager is the person who gets things done. They monitor others and make sure that tasks are completed when they are assigned to,” (B. Pierce, personal communication, 2018). I then asked her “What responsibilities do leaders and managers have for those roles?” and she stated “A leader is responsible for inspiring others and setting a vision. They model the behavior they expect from others. Managers have to set expectations and then monitor work to ensure everyone is making progress,” (B. Pierce, personal communication, September 25, 2018). Next I asked her to elaborate on how leaders and managers gain and utilize power. B. Pierce stated that “Leaders are powerful because they have established credibility. They use their power to solve problems and make sure everything is fair. Managers get their power because they have an official position; their power is in the job description. They use it to set the rules and discipline when known expectations are not being met,” (B. Pierce, personal communication, September 25, 2018). Finally, the interview was closed with the questions “How do leaders and managers communicate?” and “How does communication relate to power and decision-making?” Her response was “Leaders communicate interactivel and they allow others to ask questions, provide feedback, and contribute ideas. Managers communicate when necessary to direct employees but they make decisions on their own,” (B. Pierce, personal communication, 2018).
Many concepts associated with leadership and management share similarities in terms of roles, responsibilities, communication styles, decision-making, and the use of power to support an environment that promotes commitment to defined objectives. Descriptions of leaders are often characterized in terms of personal attributes and the way an individual interacts with others within the team. Management concepts and more driven toward ensuring administrative efficiency and sufficient performance from subordinates. Specific roles, responsibilities, and characteristics may be assigned to an individual that encompass management and leadership functions. The common goal of these positions is to encourage employees to aim for success, which potentially requires skillsets of both managers and leaders. Proper recognition of the foundational discrepancies between leadership and management function can be the key toward organizational success so that those occupying those positions can be adequately trained for both roles (R?ducan & R?ducan, 2014). Though some work environments allow for leadership outside of management, ideal outcomes can be more effectively pursued when accompanied by knowledge and skills for both concepts.
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