Business Leader-Manager Essay

Business Leader-Manager

            The context to which businesses today exist requires that every organization’s performance should be at the best as they adhere to their plans. This is done to efficiently and effectively achieve their goals in line with the plans that they have. It has been proposed by Osborne and Gaebler that in the public sphere, which is mainly that of the government, there should be a catalytic spirit where the principle is “steering rather than rowing” (Borins & Altshiler 34). Adopting this in the business organizations, it is seen that while the boat is being rowed, there should be a larger entity which oversees everything else and steers the boat towards the desired outcomes. Thus, there is a need for a leader who could also be a manager to provide for the right direction. Likewise, it is realized that there should be a certain set of characteristics which this individual should possess and not everyone is considered to be qualified for the said position.

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What is a leader-manager?

            The two roles of being a leader and a manager can not be separated from one another. However, an independent review of the definition of what a leader is and what a manager deserves a rightful examination.

What is a manager?

            A manager is defined to be an individual who is given the responsibility of overseeing the employees and to whom they also have to report to (Brounstein 3). This scope of the word manager shows that the manager is provided with ensuring his/her work and that of other people (Brounstein 3). In addition to this, the term “management” includes several courses of action that serves as intercessions that are required with having in mind the objective of completing things through the efforts of other people (Fournies 6). An extension, which the author did not indicate, is that the people from whom the effort comes are those which are directly subordinates and, taking from the definition provided by Brounstein, directly report to the manager.

The manager is considered by Caroselli to be someone who ensures that things are done towards a specific set of goals that include tasks of “planning, directing, controlling, hiring, delegating, assigning, organizing, motivating, disciplining, or doing any number of things managers do on a daily basis” (1). From the list of the responsibilities that the managers have on their shoulders, it is observed that these are routine tasks which are needed by the organizations to survive. These tasks give them the chance to build the status quo and order within their business and provide for a harmonious relationship both inside and outside. Likewise, these are requirements that are to be adhered to for purposes of survival.

             It is also the argument of Murrell, Formisano, and Meredith when they mention that it is the actions manifested by the manager that also serves as the determinant of who he/she is. Among the things that a manager does is a) instruction for the purpose of learning, b) communication of the relevance of information, c) training for professional growth, d) advancement of learning through setting an example, e) assistance for employees in terms of the organizational schema (1).

            In addition to this, there are several indications that one is acting as a manager. First, as mentioned earlier, the manager takes the role of directing rather than performing the task as an employee (Caroselli 2). They do not get their hands laid on completing but rather has the say of what are to be complete and how they should be completed. They also ensure that these are well-achieved and come to an end. Second, it is within the sphere of obligations of the manager to hire, dismiss, coach, and castigate the employees (Caroselli 2). It is important for the manager to be given these set of tasks are they serve as the agents who tell the employees to perform several tasks and without these, they are left without any responses for adverse behavior and without any weapon to answer for their needs as managers. Third, the manager ensures that quality is one of the adjectives that describe the output of the people he/she manages and the circumstances under which the employees perform (Caroselli 2). It is both the process and the output which has an impact in terms of management. It is considered that the output reflects on who manages and for good results, there is also the need for the manager to create the enabling environment to which the employees could perform their best. Fourth, the manager serves as the link through which the lower level and the upper level of the organization is connected (Caroselli 2). Being in the middle would mean a lot of the tasks that is mentioned earlier. It is likewise noted that the manager should be at the neutral ground but situations arise where the upper management compels the manager to take their side. However, it also happens that the managers take the side of the employees. These two opposite poles have to be addressed properly depending on the issue being resolved. It is still the best for the manager to have a win-win situation where it is characterized to be a condition where there is a “high focus on task accomplishment coupled with a high focus on addressing the needs of other people” (Dew 60). Lastly, the manager is also bestowed with the task of motivating employees and drives them towards a “culture of accomplishment” (Caroselli 2). As it is mentioned above that they are the persons who serve as the link between the management and the lower-level employees, it is given that managers are given direct contact with the employees and could be the source of motivation for them. They should serve as the primary driving force for the employees to complete their tasks as they are assigned to it.

What is a leader?

            The main responsibility of a leader within an organization is to initiate and carry out plans of transformation for the betterment (Deming 116). These changes can range from shallow, yet useful innovations, up to radical changes that would allow for their interests to flow through the organization in consideration of making it a better environment for everyone. Likewise, there are two roles which leaders posses and these include their being “masters of change” and “visionaries” (Fisher 138). It is important that they are able to profess themselves in abiding with the idea of change to an extent which they see as beneficial. Along with this, it is necessary that they are able to look beyond what is now and predict what will be for the future of the organization. As several uncertainties abound the environment of businesses, there is definitely a big room left for changes and unpredictability and the good leader would have to acquire the ability of predicting for the future because it contributes to the maintenance and improvement of the company. Likewise, it serves as a good characteristic for the leader as they are able to plan for the future and be in the lead of what is to be done in terms of changes to constantly adapt for the betterment of the organization and for the people.

            As can be seen, the leader is an individual in the business who can provide for changes within the status quo and is not afraid to engage in the said behavior (Caroselli 3). It is important that this is done in the most “diplomatic” way (Caroselli 3). This means that these changes are still instituted through the legal and ethical procedures, which may be through policies or based on the handbook that states on how to deal with instituting changes in the said sector of the organization. It is important that these changes are institutionalized through legal and correct procedures in order to avoid unnecessary upheavals from the people. Likewise, this would mean that it goes through the reasonable process of instituting change to ensure that no rights are being neglected and that there are no chances for committing procedural mistakes.

            In addition to this, there is the notion that leadership occurs with the goal of “eliminate[ing] the dumb” and that mediocrity has always been out of the picture (Caroselli 3). It proposes the need for the leader to take on different roles and dare to “think like a scientist, an artist, or a poet” (Greenleaf & Spears 36). There are different mediums through which the leader could initiate changes and it entails taking on a variety of roles, whether it may be taken one at a time, in series, or in multiplicity. All of this depends on the needs of the circumstances and the changes that the situation warrants.

            For one to become a good leader, it is likewise necessary for the individual to exhibit the characteristic of being “tough as nails…and warm as toast” (White & Prywes 4). The right mix of the two characteristics provides the great leader with the necessary armor on how to deal with the different situations in terms of the needs that are to be addressed and what type of approach is needed. This is also stated by Machiavelli in his book “The Prince” and it follows that:

A prince, therefore, being compelled knowingly to adopt the beast, ought to choose the fox and the lion; because the lion cannot defend himself against snares and the fox cannot defend himself against wolves. Therefore, it is necessary to be a fox to discover the snares and a lion to terrify the wolves. Those who rely simply on the lion do not understand what they are about. (p. 93).

Machiavelli desires for a great ruler, which is the prince in this context, to adopt both the characteristics of a fox and a lion. There are both advantages and disadvantages that need to be taken from both types of personalities. There are certain weaknesses and strengths that are realized from each character and that the other compensates for the weakness of the other to make it a holistic being. However, it should be noted that it is not enough to simply acquire the lion and the fox but should rather extend to knowing when each is suitable. Placed in more simple terms, there is the need to know when to be a fox and when to be a lion in lieu of the different circumstances to which the lion and the fox fits. It is not advisable for a leader to always portray himself/herself as a lion and use might and strength as the primary means of making changes and completing the plans intended for the organization. Likewise, the same is true for the fox where it is not also an effective means of leading to simply just act like a fox at all times. Depending on the situation, there should be variations between the two and the leader should carefully pick out which costume to wear; whether it is of strength or that of sensible tactics.

            There are additional insignias that leaders carry around and this include: a) carrying the notion and will that, through cooperative work with other people, change ought to be the outcome, b) giving rise to something that is nonexistent before, c) being the source of optimism and positive affects, d) objectifying or realizing plans and goals, and e) being open to changes (Caroselli 3-4). First, as has always been mentioned before, the leader constantly goes for achieving change and carries this as they work with others. With certain goals in mind, there is always the notion that these goals ought to provide for changes within the status quo that exists in the company. Probably, the closest thing that portrays the quote to which the leaders live by is that which is stated by Rosa Guy, a Trinidadian-born U.S. writer, and is quoted as “Change is the one constant in life.” As leaders work with other people, they see that there is an incessant flow of changes that permeate the organization and that it is an inevitable flow. Second, it is always the goal of the leader to provide for something new, something that does not exist before. As can be seen, there is always the search for something that is not there before in terms of the work of the leader. This starts with the identification of problems that are encountered in the organization, which affects the efficiency of their operations. After the identification of the problem, there are several steps that follow and this include providing for identification of the work flow related and the critical incidences that has an impact. It is important to provide for the areas where it is deemed necessary and has an effect on the problem. In the identification of these, it would now be easier to provide for a plan with regard to the options. These alternatives need to be weighed in terms of their impact and a final choice has to be made. Third, the leader should also have an optimistic attitude towards the goals. This is important in achieving the desired outcomes because when one is feeling good towards a certain task, it follows that the outcome would also be positive just the same as the attitude of the doer. Likewise, this provides as a fountain of positive feelings that could flow to the members of the group and this enables them to achieve better outcomes and have the drive to do as they are assigned of. Fourth, it is mentioned that without a particular set of actions taken, a good plan could not materialize (Chandler 164). The leader is the person who lets good plans turn into a full-blown initiative through a planned course of action and does not let these plans remain as plans. They are well-driven to achieve all of their goals and that these are the things which they take into account as they work. Lastly, they open themselves to changes. They serve as the means through which changes happen and it is important that they are able to open their mind and broaden their horizons that enable them see more changes.

Being a Leader-Manager

            It can be seen that in certain organizations, not all of the managers are leaders and not all of those who emerge as leaders become managers (Adair & Reed 71). Moreover, it is seen that a certain barrier exists that differentiates leadership from that of management that considers the two different from one another (Adair & Reed 71). Further differentiation between the dichotomy of the leader and manager is provided by Bennis and Nanus, which further additions given by Bass. Bennuns and Nanus, as quoted in Brundrett, Burton, & Smith, that “managers are people who do things right and leaders are people who do the right thing” (26). Likewise, it is deemed important for Bass to differentiate between the two by stating that the leaders are “transformational” and that managers are “transactional” (Brundrett, Burton, & Smith 26-7).

Where the managers are the one bestowed with the position within the company, it is important for them to get acquainted with the characteristics of a leader and adopt them, too, in the theme of management. The pressure for the convergence of the two tasks, which is that of a leader and a manager, is due to the emerging needs that warrant managers to also acquire leadership qualities (Brundrett, Burton, & Smith 27).

            In an attempt to converge the set of characteristics held by the manager and the leader, there are particular points that are to be highlighted. These include motivation and sources of power and authority. These are the points where it is deemed critical for a manager to become a leader.

Motivation theories

            In defining work motivation, it can be seen as “a set of energetic forces that originate both within as well as beyond an individual’s being, to initiate work-related behavior, and to determine its form, direction, intensity, and duration” (qtd in Muchinsky 377).

There are three general classifications of motivation theories that apply to the work setting. These three categories include the need-motive-value theories, cognitive-choice theories, and self-regulation-metacognition theories (Craighead & Nemeroff 1115).

            First, the need-motive-value theories assume that there are basic needs of a person that when fulfilled or met, leads to a rise in the level of effort that is exhibited by the individual (Colquitt & Greenberg 200). As a leader-manager, there is the need to identify the different needs of the individuals in the company to be able to dutifully select which one is suitable. The chronology of needs as it is presented in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs from the lowest to the highest is as follows: physiological needs, safety and security, love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization (Slater & Bremner 58). A good leader-manager upon identification of such, would have to do their best in order to address the needs according to the levels provided above. Likewise, it is also within the goals of the leader to self-actualize while they carry out their advocacies of change within the organization (Caroselli 4). It has become an inevitable part of the leader to constantly seek for self-actualization in every task that is done. Self-actualization, in this context, means that the leader-manager is able to “develop to one’s fullest [or] to actualize one’s potential” (Bolman & Deal 117). Merging this with that of the manager, it is deemed important to provide self-actualization in the routine task and to point towards the needs of other people.

            Second, there are cognitive-choice theories which provide for the psychological processes used in determining the level of effort that is to be used in doing a particular task (Rabin 586). There are various motivation theories placed under this category and the leader-manager is tasked to facilitate the employees in terms of their goals within the company that leads them to perform better. With regard to the determination of goals, it is not enough for the employees to deal with routine tasks and simply be treated as cogs in the wheel but should have to be drawn as people, who can, by themselves, provide for changes. In addition to this, the statement provided by Raul Hilberg which reiterates that

…all heard the saying that a bureaucrat is merely a cog in the wheel ? it turns whenever the wheel is turning. As a political scientist, I have a different view: the bureaucrat drives the wheel ? without him, it would not turn. (Landau 36).

It is important not to simply live with directing the people alone but should also involve the people in important decisions within the organization. it has become both the responsibility of the leader and the manager to empower the employees and this includes having “mutual influence; it is the creative distribution of power, it is shared responsibility; it is vital and energetic, and it is inclusive, democratic, and long-lasting” (Murrell, Formisano, & Meredith 1).

Third, there are the self-regulation metacognition theories which lie on the means of motivating employee that happen through “goal-directed behaviors” (Hollyforde & Whiddett 6). Thus, the leader-manager should ensure that it is within the goals of the employees to institute for changes themselves and work towards it. A mere completion of routine tasks and a view of the employees to be simply instruments to the completion of particular responsibilities could lead to alienation and demotivation within the workplace. This is something that the leader-manager would have to take into consideration and have to ensure that this would not happen.

Sources of Power

            There are three types of legitimate power that is popularized by Max Weber, which includes rational, traditional, and charismatic grounds for power to become legitimate (Weber, “Bureaucracy and Legitimate Authority” 17). First, rational authority is considered to be that which comes from the institutionalized rules and regulations, which are often that of legal statutes (Weber, “Bureaucracy” 27). In terms of the organization, this could be seen to be that which are under the formal policies that are provided for the maintenance of stability. Second, the traditional means of authority is something that is sourced from the “status derived from persona allegiances, traditional customs, or age-old practices” (Woo & Khoo 79). Where this is not generally applicable to organizations, there are a selected few which practices this and incorporates it in the workplace as it has been in their culture that affects the way work is done. Third, the charismatic leadership stems from the personal characteristics of the leader and their influence based on the reputation built (Wallis 404). More often than not, this is something that most leaders are able to exhibit because of their natural tendency to have strong personalities. This is something that is important in instituting the changes that are needed. It is important for the leader-manager to identify which among theses sources of legitimate power should be needed in the different situations that they have to deal with. More often than not, there is a need for a mix of the three for it to become as reliable as it can be and so that they could stand on a far greater stable ground and environment in terms of their leadership and management in the organization.


            It has become easy to identify the leader from the manager. However, it has become important for the two to be merged as the business organizations warrant them to be such. There are particular interests, strengths, and weaknesses that each carries and it can be seen that for purposes of efficiency, innovation, and achievement, it is necessary for the other to become a complement for what the other lacks.

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