Management Vs. Leadership – An Assessment of Interdependence


Leadership and management have been the focus of study and attention since the dawn of time. Over time leadership and management have been seen as separate entities, but those times have past. It is this paper’s intent to prove that good management is incumbent upon the success and quality of the leadership that drives it, and by proxy, so too will poor leadership bring poor management that will lead to poor results, and decreased levels of success.

From the great minds in management theory: Fayol, Taylor, and Weber; homage being paid to Barnard and Mayo, as well as Maslow, Mintzberg, Drucker and Porter; to the great minds in leadership development: Jung, McClelland and Burnham, this paper intends to examine them all and bring them together as is required in this economy and these times.

Much time, effort, and money has been placed into the study of both management and leadership successes. Mintzberg and Drucker have done some of the best and most informative work at bringing management and leadership together; now, with the rising costs of overhead and decreasing profit margins, now is the time to connect the dots, once and for all.

Leadership and management have been the focus of study and attention since the dawn of time. Reference biblical scripture that questions the leadership decisions of King David and the managerial prowess of Moses and his exodus to the “Promised Lands” (Cohen, 2007); Plato helped us to manage the Republic while Machiavelli helped us to formulate our idea of what a Prince should represent (Klosko, 1995); Shakespeare questioned Hamlet’s decision making (Augustine & Adelman, 1999) and trumpeted Henry IV’s managerial effectiveness (Corrigan, 1999). John Stuart Mill gave us the “shining city upon a hill”, while Hegel taught us the “elements of the philosophy of right” and Marx taught us how to manage a people in his overly popularized (and oft misunderstood) manifestos (Klosko, 1995). Thomas Payne rewrote leadership to the basic levels of Common Sense, while Thomas Jefferson acknowledged that in the management of a people, you must remember that “all men are created equal” and that they maintain certain degree of”unalienable Rights”. Countless others have come to the surface over the span of time, all promoting a new or improved way to both manage and lead their people. (And hopefully yours, too, if you’re willing to pay for it.) However, through it all, one thing has remained constant; people are not autonomous entities that will respond the same to every situation. People are evolving, thinking, emotionally and socially aware of all that is around them; they are motivated through different methods and they are driven by differing levels of success (McClelland & Burnham, 1995). Over time, leadership and management have been seen as separate entities, but no more: it is, therefore, this paper’s intent to prove that good management is incumbent upon the success and quality of the leadership that drives it, and by proxy, so too will poor leadership bring poor management that will lead to poor results, and decreased levels of success. In today’s fast paced environments, management requires leadership; you cannot have one without the other and still attain the success that you desire.

Reference any management text or publication and you will inevitably come across the obligatory references to the great minds in management theory: Fayol – the first to recognize management as a “discipline” to be studied (Brunsson, 2008), Taylor’s scientific management of industrial work and workers (Safferstone, 2006), and Weber’s bureaucracy; homage must also be paid to Barnard, Kotter, Bennis, and Mayo, as well as Maslow, Mintzberg, Drucker, and Porter (Lamond, 2005). These great minds have helped to forge the way for the management field and helped to better management teams across the world. The world of “leadership study” carries quite the similar pedigree; ironically, it also carries many of the same names. It is, however, this author’s opinion that many of the additions to the pool of knowledge on leadership were not made known until the study of psychology was made more fashionable by the likes of Freud and Jung. Management, it appears, is a tool to better the bottom line and productivity, whereas leadership is one of those studies that is to be improved through the person’s ability to be in touch with their personality, traits, motives and effects on the human elements of productivity.

There appears be some coincidence in the timing of the juxtaposition of the terms “management” and “leadership” and the correlation to the fact that most literature post 1950 seems to cross pollinate the two phrases. It is quite possible that this, the historical time for post war boom, is where production was at record highs and management of production was not as key as the management of people Possibly drawn from a social recognition that people were not to be managed, but rather, they were to be valued members of the team, and therefore, to be led – it is speculative, but it appears evident that entering the 1960’s, most literature intertwines the “leaders” and the “managers” into the same professional classification.

Carl Jung (1923) posits that people carry specific traits and that those traits cannot be altered. However, much time effort and money has been placed into the study of both management and leadership traits, tendencies, styles, and successes. Why is this? One belief is that Jung only half analyzes the person and that more than your traits influence your leadership potential (de Charon, 2003). This affords the opportunity for you to learn skills necessary to become a better leader, even if that means understanding who you are and what your tendencies are, in order to counteract them. Jung’s work with personality traits has become the hallmark to virtually every professional development and personal development course on the market. Jung stipulates that every person has any combination of sixteen different personality types. By definition, knowing these personality types helps you to better negotiate your way through the situation in order to attain the maximum output desired (Anastasi, 1998).

Running in concert to Jung’s ideas are those of Henry Mintzberg. Mintzberg stipulates that much has changed since Fayol’s assessment in 1916; gone are the days when the “picture of a manager was a reflective planner, organizer, leader, and controller” (Pavett & Lau, 1983). Mintzberg breaks the manager’s job into ten roles, divided into three areas: interpersonal, informational, and decisional (2004):

Interpersonal Roles

Informational Roles

Decisional Roles






Disturbance handler



Resource allocator


(Lussier & Achua, 2007).

Ironically, in today’s interpretation of a leader, one would be hard pressed to find a leader whom is unable to do all of the above, and then some. Mintzberg, in later publications, however, goes much further in his assessment of managers and their roles in the organization. In a collaborative effort with Jonathon Gosling, the two determine the five mindsets of a manager (2003). They break the five mindsets into:

1. Managing self: the reflective mindset; where the effective manager is able to reflect upon the history (current and aged) to create a better future moving forward.

2. Managing the organization: the analytical mindset; here referencing a tennis match, where the manager must be cognizant of the crowd and their reaction, but also focusing on the ball itself.

3. Managing context: the worldly mindset; thinking globally and looking for the unorthodox solution.

4. Managing relationships: the collaborative mindset; where the manager is able to engage the employees and moves beyond empowerment [which “implies that people who know the work best somehow receive the blessing of their managers to do it (Kibort, 2004)] into commitment.

5. Managing change: the action mindset; “imagine your organization as a chariot pulled by wild horses. These horses represent the emotions, aspirations, and motives of all the people in the organization. Holding a steady course requires just as much skill in steering around to a new direction” (Gosling & Mintzberg, 2003, p. 54-63).

Gosling and Mintzberg conclude with one very interesting point. They stipulate that, unlike Pavett & Lau (1983) that good managers are able to look beyond the desire to fix problems with simple reorganizations. In fact, they argue that hierarchy plays a very small role in the actual completion of tasks on the unit level and can only lead to more bureaucracy. Which leads one to ask the question: who is to complete those unit level tasks and solve those problems associated with people?

There is no definitive definition of what leadership is, as it appears to change form and focus for each individual study. For the purposes of this paper, however, the definition set forth by Lussier & Achua (2007) seems to fit best: “Leadership is the influencing process of leaders and followers to achieve organizational objectives through change” (p.6). How do we compare leadership and management? The common misconception is that it is something that should be compared “straight up”, or “even Steven”. Obviously, there are natural leaders and persons in positions of social authority throughout every facility, and yes, it is incumbent upon the managers and leaders to empower those people to support the overall mission. Admittedly, some of these people may never become managers, but their role in the facility is of the utmost importance.

However, as managers are an industry specific entity, it is ridiculous to try and compare leadership to management outside of the constraint of the management role. Recognizing and accepting the constraint of the comparison, it must be acknowledged that in industry, you cannot have good leadership without good management; and in obvious juxtaposition, poor leadership leads to poor success rates for the management. It seems apparent that our management staffs should concentrate on growing employees into leaders, to eventually become managers; but if the managers themselves are not leaders yet, then much difficulties will soon befall upon that company. As Peter Drucker will tell you, it is imperative to build a strong management team, centered around strong leadership. In thinner times, gone are the days of two people for every position. Here are the days when a successful company is able to package good managerial skills into every leader, and good leadership skills into every manager. Failure to do so will result in failure to succeed.

“Drucker devotes considerable effort and space to defining the nature and role of management. This discussion also focuses on the nature and value of leadership in the organization. According to Drucker, leadership gives the organization meaning, defines and nurtures its central values, creates a sense of mission, and builds the systems and processes that lead to successful performance” (Wittmeyer, 2003).


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Source by Kevin Vail

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