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Defining Leadership: Do You Manage or Do

You Lead?
Some people consider leadership to be the ability to motivate and inspire followers.
Others argue that leadership is the ability to get a job done no matter what. Both
definitions are true.
Colin Powell said, The way I like to put it, leadership is the art of accomplishing more
than the science of management says is possible.
Leadership and management are different but complementary skills. Leadership is a soft
talent. It revolves around influence, motivation, drive, and other unquantifiable skills.
Management is a hard skill that is often defined as the science of quantifying a project
by evaluating the skills within an organization. Managers create budgets, determine the
tasks and subtasks required to meet a goal, keep a project on schedule, and myriad
other quantifiable skills.

How do leadership and management differ?

Leadership and management are different but complementary skills. Leadership
revolves around influence, motivation, drive, and other unquantifiable skills. Here are
nine traits many great leaders possess:

Awareness: The ability to maintain an objective perspective

Decisiveness: Spot problems and make difficult decisions

Empathy: Express praise in public and address problems in private, with a true
concern for the follower

Accountability: Take responsibility for everything in their organization, as well

as everyone and every decision

Confidence: The confidence to follow their plans and get buy-in from others, but
a willingness to revisit a decision if it is not successful

Optimism: Understand the power of positive behavior and influence their

followers to be positive as well

Honesty: Moral, ethical, and believe in the Golden Rule

Focus: Focus on the end game and continuous improvement on the way there

Inspiration: Communicate clearly and effectively and find ways to motivate the
members of their team or organization

Basic tasks performed by managers

In contrast, here are five basic tasks that managers perform as described by
management consultant and author Peter Drucker:

Sets objectives: Define goals and lay out the work that needs to be done

Organizes: Divide tasks into manageable pieces and select the team to do the

Motivates and communicates: Make decisions about pay, placement, and

promotion by communicating with the team

Measures: Define target goals, and analyze, interpret, and appraise


Develops people: Determines what knowledge and education each person

needs to add to get the job done

Effective leadership can increase an organizations success and improve the

productivity of workers. If done poorly, management can be make life difficult and
stressful for workers and harm organizations.
Warren Bennis, a scholar and author who published the classic book On Becoming a
Leader in 1989, concluded that:

Leaders innovate and focus on individuals

Managers administer and focus on systems

Peter Drucker wrote, Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right
things. In Druckers assessment, a leader starts by asking, What needs to be done?
He noted the increasing prominence of knowledge workers and suggested that the
new challenge is to lead people rather than manage them.
The Center for Leadership Development describes the contrast this way: The
managers job is to plan, organize and coordinate. The leaders job is to inspire and

Types of leadership styles

There are many styles of leadership that fit many types of businesses and organizations.
People learn and become motivated in different ways, so effective leaders need to know
which styles work best in what situations or organizations.
Many styles share common traits, and multiple studies have narrowed down the key
styles of leadership. The Center for Association Leadership identifies eight leadership

Charismatic: Charismatic leadership relies on the charm and persuasiveness of

the leader, as well as the leaders self-belief.

Innovative: Innovative leadership focuses on inspiring others to think originally,

then creates an environment where the ideas can be tested and evaluated.

Command and control (bureaucratic): Bureaucratic leadership emphasizes

going by the book. Typically, they do not care who wrote the book.

Laissez-faire: Laissez-faire leadership focuses on strong relationships and

helping followers make the right decisions for the good of the community.

Pacesetter (transactional): Transformational leadership relies on order and


Servant: Servant leadership focuses on the needs of the individual and holds
individuals in high regard.

Situational: Situational leadership encourages leaders to take stock of their

team members, weigh the many variables in their workplace, and choose the
leadership style that best fits their circumstances.

Transformational: Transformational leadership focuses on inspiring people to

achieve unexpected or remarkable results.

Leadership studies suggest there is no right or wrong style and that each one works
in certain environments.

What is Transactional Leadership? How

Structure Leads to Results
A transactional leader is someone who values order and structure. They are likely to
command military operations, manage large corporations, or lead international projects
that require rules and regulations to complete objectives on time or move people and
supplies in an organized way. Transactional leaders are not a good fit for places where
creativity and innovative ideas are valued.
Transactional leadership is most often compared to transformational leadership.
Transactional leadership depends on self-motivated people who work well in a
structured, directed environment. By contrast, transformational leadership seeks to
motivate and inspire workers, choosing to influence rather than direct others.

Transactional leadership definition

Transactional leadership focuses on results, conforms to the existing structure of an
organization and measures success according to that organizations system of
rewards and penalties. Transactional leaders have formal authority and positions of
responsibility in an organization. This type of leader is responsible for maintaining
routine by managing individual performance and facilitating group performance.
This type of leader sets the criteria for their workers according to previously defined
requirements. Performance reviews are the most common way to judge employee
performance. Transactional, or managerial, leaders work best with employees who
know their jobs and are motivated by the reward-penalty system. The status quo of
an organization is maintained through transactional leadership.
Differences between transactional leadership and other leadership styles
Transactional leaders differ from charismatic and transformational leaders in both
structure and method. Charismatic leadership emphasizes influencing a group or
organization to make the world a better place. In transactional leadership, the
emphasis is on managing the performance of the individual and determining how
well he or she performs in a structured environment.
The difference between transactional leadership and transformational leadership is
also quite large. Simply put, transactional is a telling leadership style, and
transformational is a selling style. While the transactional approach features
positive and negative reinforcement, transformational leadership emphasizes
motivation and inspiration. Transactional leaders are reactive; transformational
leaders are proactive. Transactional leadership appeals to the self-interest of
individuals, while the transformational style prioritizes group progress.
Transactional leadership style
Here are some of the characteristics of transactional leaders:
Focused on short-term goals
Favor structured policies and procedures
Thrive on following rules and doing things correctly
Revel in efficiency
Very left-brained
Tend to be inflexible
Opposed to change

What is Situational Leadership? How

Flexibility Leads to Success
Situational leadership is an adaptive leadership style. This strategy encourages
leaders to take stock of their team members, weigh the many variables in their
workplace and choose the leadership style that best fits their goals and
circumstances. In the words of leadership theorist Ken Blanchard, In the past a
leader was a boss. Todays leaders can no longer lead solely based on positional
Situational leadership is the model of choice for organizations around the world that
want to do the following:
Develop people and workgroups
Establish rapport and to bring out the best in their people
Use a common leadership style across all units in an organization, be it local,
national, or international
Read more about situational leadership:
Situational leadership defined
History of situational leadership
Examples of situational leadership and quotations
Characteristics of situational leaders
Advantages and disadvantages of situational leadership
Benefits of situational leadership

Situational leadership defined

Situational leadership is flexible. It adapts to the existing work environment and the
needs of the organization. Situational leadership is not based on a specific skill of
the leader; instead, he or she modifies the style of management to suit the
requirements of the organization.
One of the keys to situational leadership is adaptability. Leaders must be able to
move from one leadership style to another to meet the changing needs of an
organization and its employees. These leaders must have the insight to understand
when to change their management style and what leadership strategy fits each new
There are two mainstream models of situational leadership, one described by Daniel
Goleman and another by Ken Blanchard and Paul Hershey.
Differences between situational leadership and other leadership styles
The difference between situational leadership and other leadership styles is that
situational leadership incorporates many different techniques. The style of choice
depends upon the organizations environment and the competence and
commitment of its followers.

Situational leadership style requirements

Here are some of the characteristics of the situational leadership style:
Insight: The situational leader must be able to understand the needs of the
followers, then adjust his or her management style to meet those needs

Flexibility: Situational leaders must be able to move seamlessly from one

type of leadership style to another
Trust: The leader must be able gain his or her followers trust and confidence
Problem solving: The situational leader must be able to solve problems,
such as how to get a job done using the best leadership style available
Coach: The situational leader must be able to evaluate the maturity and
competence of the followers and then apply the right strategy to enhance the
follower and their personal character

Charismatic leadership defined

What sets charismatic leaders apart is that they are essentially very skilled
communicators, individuals who are both verbally eloquent, but also able to
communicate to followers on a deep, emotional level, said Ronald E. Riggio, Ph.D.,
professor of leadership and organizational psychology at Claremont McKenna
College, in his Psychology Today article What is Charisma and Charismatic
Charismatic leaders are often identified in times of crisis and exhibit exceptional
devotion to and expertise in their fields. They are often people with a clear vision in
business or politics and the ability to engage with a large audience.
A charismatic leadership definition is incomplete if it does not focus on the leader
personally. More than other popular leadership styles, charismatic leadership
depends on the personality and actions of the leader not the process or structure.
Differences between charismatic leadership and other styles
Charismatic leadership is a leadership style that is recognizable but may be
perceived with less tangibility than other leadership styles, writes Mar Bell in
Charismatic Leadership Case Study with Ronald Reagan as Exemplar.
Charismatic leadership is similar to other styles. Both it and transformational
leadership rely on the ability of the leader to influence and inspire followers.
Transformational and charismatic leaders motivate the individual or those around
them to be better and to work for the greater good of an organization or society.
Other similarities include:
Leaders rally those around them in service of a common goal
Initiative and boldness are encouraged
The differences between charismatic and transformational leadership styles lie
primarily in how the individual is viewed.
The personal vision of a charismatic leader has a great deal of influence over
his or her audience
Charismatic leaders speak about their moral compass or passion rather than
an existing method of doing business
Democratic and charismatic leaders compared
When compared to democratic leadership, similarities to the charismatic style
They both place considerable responsibility on the leader

Leaders guide employees, team members or volunteers in a particular

There is often a spirit of collaboration
The differences between charismatic leadership and democratic leadership include:
In democratic leadership, workers must have high-level skills in addition to
the desire to work
Democratic leaders are highly rational and deliberate in their style
Charismatic leaders appeal to the emotions of the audience
In the charismatic leadership style, working toward a greater good is

Comparing autocratic and charismatic leadership

Likewise, charismatic and autocratic leadership styles share some traits. Both
leaders often increase employee productivity. The key difference: The charismatic
leader typically inspires employees to perform. The autocratic leader uses their
authority to demand high performance. The short-term result is identical, although
the long-term consequences may differ.
Charismatic leaders structure their organizations as they see fit. This is another
example of a crossover between charismatic and autocratic leadership styles. The
intensity of both styles may also generate early burnout of their leaders (and
Advantages and disadvantages of charismatic leadership
There are many advantages to this leadership style. Charismatic leaders are often a
catalyst for social change. They are, however, not a fit for organizations that depend
on rigid structures and processes to function.
Charismatic leadership pros
Charismatic leaders inspire people to work together for a common cause
Organizations are committed to a central mission
Management prioritizes learning from mistakes in an effort to succeed in their
Charismatic-led companies tend to be cohesive because their workers have a
clear purpose
Charismatic leadership cons
Leaders may develop tunnel vision or arrogance, undoing their previous good
Organizations can become dependent on charismatic leaders and may suffer
if he or she retires, leaves the company, or dies suddenly
Charismatic leaders sometimes become unresponsive to their subordinates or
These leaders may not learn from their mistakes, compounding them
Charismatic leaders may believe they are above the law, committing financial
or ethical violations

Benefits of charismatic leadership

The world needs charismatic leaders because they fight for quality of life and a
better world. Charismatic leaders have the courage of their convictions. They are

willing to stand up to people who have a differing view of society or the

Charismatic leaders tend to be able to see the gaps between what an organization
delivers to its workers and what the workers need from the organization. They
create visions that their supporters can readily see, and in return the supporters are
motivated to contribute to a common goal.