The terms leadership and management are often used interchangeably. While some writers argue that there is a clear distinction between leadership and management, others argue that leadership is simply a function of management. Which view do you feel is the most relevant in the context of your industry and why? According to Ricketts (2009) in today’s world effective leadership and management is essential in order to archive success. Terms of leadership and management are being seen as synonyms and often used interchangeably.
Some writers such as Zeleznik, Kotter think that there is no close relationship between leadership and management, while others persuade us that leadership is simply one of the characteristic of the manager. This essay will compare and evaluate different approaches to the subject. Armstrong (2008) describes leadership as a process that focuses mostly developing, communicating and motivating. Further Armstrong indentifies three fundamental roles for leaders; defining the task, achieve the task and maintain effective relationship between themselves and group members.
Moreover, Kanter (2004, as cited by Mullins 2007) states that leadership is not about leaders, but how they establish confidence of subordinates. Leaders must have followers, without them they would never reach their goals. Particularly in airline and airport management it vital, because they goals never change, customer experience is the most important for company. That is why line workers must be always confident and motivated by their leaders. According to Useem (2001, as cited by Mullins 2007) leadership is the most profitable, when the vision is strategic, the voice persuasive and the results appreciable.
Leadership says Mullins (2007: 363) “is a relationship through which one person influences the behaviour or action of other people”. Leader in this indutry definitely must have strong interpersonal skills, having people coming for different ethnic and cultural backgrounds, effective communication between subordinates and customers, it the most important. Positive interpersonal skills may increase the productivity and satisfaction of followers as well overall customer experience. According to Drucker (2006, as cited by Mullins 2007) management is about making people capable of working toward a common goal.
He states that management is the fundamental part of organisation. As it is with leadership management had many interpretations. Zeleznik believes (1989, as cited by McCrimmon 2006) managers are task orientated, cold, lacking of empathy. Furthermore, Armstrong (2008) says that management is to achieve goals using all available resources such as people, money, information, knowledge etc. On the other hand Mullins (2007) tries to answer the question whether managers are born or made.
According to him neither is an answer, it is rather combination of both, he explains that even though there are certain innate characteristics of good manager they must be encourage, developed and trained. One of the key characteristic of the manager is that they are to ensure that the job gets done. They are also responsible for planning, introducing new policies, resolving problem. Airline and airport industry is very changeable, where profits are marginal and losses are common. Management must act quickly implicating new policies, change the companies aims, within this industry it can be matter be or not to be for companies.
So how does one distinguish between leadership and management? Although these terms are frequently used interchangeably and they share some similarities such as working with people, influence and goal orientated work, there is also clear distinction between them. Zeleznik believes (1989, as cited by McCrimmon 2006) that managers and leaders differ in terms of their personality, he describes managers as cold machines who “adopt passive attitude toward goals”, according to him they maintain low emotional involvement and tend to be detached and manipulative.
He sees leaders as creative and demanding changes. For Zeleznik they are more interested in ideas than how they work. He says that leaders are more empathetic than managers. McCrimmon (2006) summarise Zeleznik with assumption that both leaders and managers have some goal, aim and that is only the approach, personality that differentiate them. Leaders are very good at motivating people, taking them to next level. They take great care of their subordinates ensuring high level of confidence. Zeleznik’s ideas are now out-dated, in today world manager has to possess good leadership skills.
No longer is it possible to describe manager as cold, task orientated, now they are more involved in their staff, taking care of them. On the other hand managers are good at planning, maintain stability, solving problems. Watson (1983, as cited in Mullins 2007) suggest that manager rely mostly on strategy, structure and system, leaders have an inherent tendency to soft Ss style, staff, super ordinate goals. According Mullins (2007) leadership does not have to be official in structure of organisation, further he says that many people work as leaders although their position in company does not require that.
Kotter (1991, as cited in Armstrong 2008) likewise Zeleznik thinks that there is clear distinction among leaders and managers, although he says that they have different purposes. Management is about coping with complexity while leadership is about coping with change. Nevertheless, there is close relationship between two. Mullins (2008) it is not easy to isolate these activities. These days they appear to be seen more as synonymous. According to Fullan (2001, as quoted in Mullins 2008) both terms tend to overlap themselves and good manager or leader needs qualities of both.
It is easy to agree that nowadays leadership is becoming more and more essential as function of management. It clearly seen within airline and airport industry. Leadership is being considered as one of the compulsory skills for managers. This brings up big challenge for managers to make sure that all employees are sufficiently motivated, receive enough support and are aware of company’s goals. Only when this is ensured by managers, companies in this industry can maintain stability even if they face major economic crisis. Almost every business today airline and airport industry needs effective and efficient management.
It means that good manager must be good leader at the same time. These days, major airlines employ as many as 100,000 people. The structure of management, decision-making process within the industry is complex. It is difficult for individual employees to see their contribution to the company. Moreover, the industry is highly competitive and ineffective management or bad organisation may lead to destructive effects. To sum up, there are many ways of looking at leadership and management and even more interpretations of meaning. It is important to remember that there are definite strengths and weaknesses of both types.
However, the most important is the relationship between them; they overlay themselves and often are seen as linked together. Furthermore, it essential to remember that not every leader is manager, as well as not every industry needs leader and manager in one. Sometimes it may be more beneficiary for the company when these activities are clearly distinguished.
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