Managers Should Act as Good Leaders: Management v Leadership

In the current world, organizations formally authorize their managers to direct and control the activities of their subordinates, but at the same time stress the importance of managers to exhibit leadership skills. This is because organizations have now realized that the functions of managers have a correlation to those of leaders in one way or another. While directing and controlling the activities of subordinate staff within the organization, managers should act like leaders, exhibiting good leadership skills and qualities so as to cause harmonious relationship with the subordinates and motivate them to perform better.

Leadership v Management 

According to Rollinson (2008), the roles of a good leader are: inspiring, motivating, envisioning, behavior modeling, involving, promoting learning and building teams. On the other hand, a manager plans, controls, communicates information, evaluates, monitoring, encourages team-work and directs activities. These two sets of functions are related in many aspects. For instance, while a manager controls and directs the activities of his subordinates, he should also inspire and motivate them to perform those activities effectively.

Leadership Theories

There are several leadership theories that explain leadership skills. We can use these theories to explain further the reasons why managers should display leadership skills in their management roles.

Action-Centered Leadership Theory

In action-centered leadership theory, it is argued that leaders perform action related functions, team-related functions and individually related functions (Rollinson, 2008). Task-related functions requires a leader to enable its group to complete its task by helping them understand the nature of the task and how they can overcome the problems inherent within the task. A manager, while directing and controlling its subordinates should therefore act this way. Leaders should also use their skills to enable the group meet its need to build a cohesive team. This is in line with managers’ requirement to encourage teamwork in their organizations.

Leadership Behavior Theory

Leadership behavior theory postulates that the behavior of leaders determines their effectiveness (Rollinson, 2008). It also holds that leaders can be trained and that the style of leadership depends on situations. As such, a good leader is the one who behaves in such a way that he/she can identify the styles suitable for certain occasions. Therefore, managers should be able to behave in that manner too so as to direct and control activities towards a better course, depending on the occasion and the context of the activity goals.

The Path-Goal Theory

The path-goal theory suggests that leadership relies on the relationship between the leader and his/her followers (Rollinson, 2008). In this view, the leader rewards his/her followers and is thus permeated to continue assuming the role of a leader. If the leader’s rewards are not realized, his right to lead may be relinquished. In the same way, manager should relate well with his subordinates to achieve the organization’s roles or else risk losing his job.

Transformational Leadership Theory

Transformational leadership theory defines leadership skills and functions as: having interest in trust and values others, practicing effective delegation, developing the potential of his team, being approachable and not considering status as well as permeating the subjection of traditional approaches into scrutiny(Rollinson, 2008). These qualities, especially delegation, trust and values should be embraced by managers so as to accommodate the views of subordinates while they direct and control the subordinates’ activities. The manager, while playing the role of a leader should be transparent, honest, consultative and involving, decisive, team orientated, creative and critical analyst as well as an exceptional communicator.


In general, the role of a manager is to ensure that the status quo is maintained; things run consistently and according to plan. The manager should also assume the role of a leader by driving and causing change that will reflect the status quo.

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