Leadership and Management Are One and the Same
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Managing and leading are two different ways of managing people. Leadership is setting a new direction or vision for a group of people to follow, on the other hand, management controls or directs people in a group according to principles or values that have been established. In the absence of the leader, the manager becomes the leader and in the absence of the leader, the manager becomes the leader. The aspects that should be considered by a leader to ensure success in his/her department is multifaceted for most of the times, cannot be clearly implemented in isolation from each other. These aspects include but are not limited to, the environment within which the organization operates, skills conflict management, motivation, influence and combination of leadership functions and styles. This portfolio will first define the basis and roles of the leadership and management and follow through with describing and explaining aspects to be considered by a leader to ensure success in his/her department.
1.Leadership and Management
According to Smit et al (2007:271), leadership is the process of directing the behaviour of others to accomplish the goals of the organisation. A leader translates plans into action by influencing people, giving orders, motivating people, managing conflict and communicating with subordinates. The ideal is that the supervisor should be able to unite the roles of manager and leader (Van Jaarsveldt, 2015:82).
According to Van Jaarsveldt (2015:4), management can be described as a continuous and integrated process whereby certain individuals with authority ensure institutional goal-setting and optimum realization of objectives. According to Fox (2010:101), managers are responsible for delivering specific results using specific resources while taking responsibility for these resources and acting in a transparent why.
Within the department for example, with attention to the aspects of essence, approach and decision making, the leader will focus on change, setting direction and facilitating decision making in a department. Within the same context, the manager will primarily focus on stability, planning detail and making the decisions in a department. The leader and the manager must be able to play both roles, to ensure success of the department.
2. Aspects to be considered by a leader
There are a number of aspects to be considered by a leader and a manager, in order for the organisation to be successful. These aspects will be discussed as per the subtitles below.
2.1 The Environment
The leader and the manager must be knowledgeable about the environment within which the institution functions and also be aware that there is a constant interaction between the institution and its environment. As the officials of the government, the leader and the manager need to keep in touch with political, constitutional, economical, social and religious factors that may influence the activities of the institution. The leader and the manager should also take into consideration that there are principles that are unique to the public sector that serve as guidelines for the conduct of the public servant (Van Jaarsveldt, 2015:3).
The government is facing increasing needs from the communities and has limited funding available to meet the increasing needs. The cost containment measures may thus be imposed on the departments. In this example, the leader needs to be able to correctly communicate and inspire the staff members of his/her department when guiding the staff members on how to achieve the goals of the department using the limited resources available. As a further example, the coordination of transport may be strengthened so that duplication of the trips to the same area, is minimised. The leader must also have the skill to remove or reduce resistance to change of those employees who might not be in agreement with the cost containment measures.
This leadership theory states that learned knowledge and acquired skills/abilities are significant factors in the practice of effective leadership. A strong belief in skills theory often demands that considerable effort and resources be devoted to leadership training and development (Wolinski, 2010). Avolio et al (2009: 421-449) state that while most research today has shifted from traditional trait or personality-based theories to a situation theory, which dictates that the situation in which leadership is exercised is determined by the leadership skills and characteristics of the leader, all contemporary theories can fall under one of the following three perspectives: leadership as a process or relationship, leadership as a combination of traits or personality characteristics, or leadership as certain behaviors or, as they are more commonly referred to, leadership skills. These leadership skills include technical (used for proficiency and understanding of a specific kind of activity involving method, process, procedure or technique), informational (collating, editing, processing and disseminating the necessary information to subordinates), human (ability to work with others and to build a cooperative effort with group that he/she leads), decision-making (involves the adoption of the best method to reach a goal) and conceptual (which implies the ability to visualise the organisation as a whole).
For example, within the department that has low staff morale with employees not being in good terms with each other, the role of the leader is to communicate with the employees to find out the causes of the situation and ask the employees to suggest the options of remedying the situation. The leader needs to create the conducive environment for the implementation of the feasible options presented by the employee and monitor the progress. Thus, the leader needs to have skills relating to the ability to work with people, the ability to listen, the ability solve problems and communicate properly. Furthermore, the leader needs to also ensure that there is continuous training and development for the employees of his/her department so that they can be able to effectively perform their different duties linking to their respective career development.
2.3 Conflict management
Conflict can be defined as the differences of opinion that influence the interaction between independent parties. Conflict management is the ability to be able to identify and handle conflicts sensibly, fairly and efficiently. Types of conflict include personality, value, intergroup, task and procedural conflicts (Pro-Active Public Services College, 2011:3-13).
According to Van der Waldt and Du Toit, (1999: 248) conflict represents energy and if managed and channeled correctly, can serve as a driving force to increase productivity and render suitable changes. A leader translates plans into action by influencing people, giving orders, motivating people, managing conflict and communicating with subordinates (Van Jaarsveldt, 2015:82).
The conflict appears in a variety of forms and has varying causes. For example, when the line function places and order for the promotional material that needs to be used during a project and the supply chain office fails to deliver on time. This may cause a conflict between the aforementioned line function, because of not being able to reach their target on time due to the non-delivery of the order, and the supply chain office. The leader needs to convene these two groups together and facilitate the process of finding a solution (suggested by supply chain and the affected line function) of this conflict for improving the working relationship.
King and Lawley (2013:269) define motivation as the will and desire that a person has to engage in a particular behavior or perform a particular task. Coggburn and Kearney (2016:183) define the motivation as the drive individuals experience to satisfy perceived need deficiencies. Employees are not only complex but also very variable. Many motives operate at different levels of importance to the employee and this hierarchy of needs and motives changes from time to time and from situation to situation (Swanepoel et al. 2014:358).
A leader motivates people, guides and directs their potential energy to elicit the desired contribution towards accomplishment of goals. In any business setting, employees need guidance and motivation to perform at their best. The leader may introduce performance rewards system (e.g. prestige bonuses) in his department in order to motivate the employees to achieve above the normal expectations.
Leaders can improve the performance of an organization by influencing the performance determinants of an organization. One form of influence is the use of specific leadership behaviours in interactions with subordinates, peers, and outsiders. A second form of influence involves decisions about management programs and systems, and organizational structure. A third form of influence involves decisions about the competitive strategy for the organization. The three forms of influence must be used together in a consistent way for effective strategic leadership. The performance determinants can be enhanced by relevant task-oriented (useful for improving efficiency), relations-oriented (useful for improving human resources and relations), and change-oriented (useful for improving adaptation) leadership behaviours (Yukl, 2008:711).
For example, the leader may use the task-oriented behavior by eliminating duplication of activities (e.g. eliminating officials traveling to the same venue/meeting using different vehicles instead of using one vehicle). The leader may also use relations oriented behaviors by introducing the employee of the month recognition programme and may also use the change-oriented behavior by empowering employees to be able to monitor the environment in order to identify threats and opportunities facing the department which he/she leads.
6. Combination of leadership functions and styles
According to Smit et al (2007:1), every organization needs managers that will be able to find new and innovative ways to manage people, integrate new technology, manage diversity, solve conflict, plan, organize and control. The implementation of the later does not happen in isolation but may be evident through the application of the leadership styles which a leader can use to provide guidance. Van Jaarsveldt (2015:82-83) mentions that leadership styles are traditionally divided into three main groups which are autocratic, democratic and Laissez-faire leadership styles. Smit et al (2007:285–287) state that contemporary perspectives (transactional, charismatic, transformational and female leadership) can also be included when looking at leadership styles.
When the department is planning the rollout of the community awareness project, the leader can determine a course of action and communicate it to employees (i.e. make decisions and organize various aspects of the work in the organization). The leader can also delegate some responsibilities to a different line and support functions (e.g. Communications and Community awareness departments) to draft their respective implementation plans (practical sections) during the organizing phase. As part of the control phase, the leader may incorporate the lessons learned (inclusive of the information from the departmental information and knowledge management systems) from similar previous projects, as part of tightening the control of the project and ensuring implementation improvements. The leader should also create a platform to include the employees (lower levels) to make inputs (also encourage innovation) into the project plan and also clarify the role of each employee and link them to the entire project. In this way, the leader would have applied the transformational leadership participative management. Based on the magnitude of the project, the leader can also make an empowering decision of opting to use the female employees to lead the project and the different implementation teams as the females sometimes tend to be more caring and more observant than males.
The manager becomes the leader in the absence of the leader and the leader becomes the manager in the absence of the manager. The leader and the manager must be able to play each other’s roles to ensure the success of their department. There are many aspects that need to be considered by a leader in order for his/her department to be successful towards reaching its objectives. The use of the best combination of the leadership styles functions and styles are part of the precursors to the successful functioning of the department.
List of references
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