Which personal style should managers adopt to ensure success? What is the most effective approach to managing the work of subordinates? These questions have been extensively researched and debated over the last century, and while the general consensus has moved away from ‘command and control’ to management and leadership towards more consultative and participative approaches, there is no single ideal, as the best approach may vary according to circumstances and individual characteristics (CMI 2013). 


During the initial period of industrialization, most of the organisations have introduced a demarcation between the roles assigned to Managers and Leaders. According to Peter Drucker, an individual who possess a leadership quality will make sure to do the right thing, while an individual who possess a managerial quality will make sure that the management is doing things right. Sometimes in a leadership industry, confusion occurs while understanding the relationships between a leader and a manager. In order to achieve excellence in these fields, we need to understand the essence of difference between them. This is a matter of understanding how the roles are different and how might they overlap. However, it is understood that Leadership and Management should go hand in hand for attaining better prospects in future (The Wall Street Journal, 2010).


Warren Bennis, an American Scholar, widely regarded as a pioneer of modern field of leadership studies has composed a list of differences between roles of a manager and leader. If the Manager administers – Leader innovates; Manager is a copy-Leader is an original; Manager Focuses on system and structure – Leader focuses on people. Perhaps there was a time in the past were the managers and leaders were easily separated. A foreman who acts as a manager in an industrial sector didn’t have to put a lot of thought about the production of stocks or the team who was producing it. His role was to assign the tasks efficiently to the right people, organize the work and ensure the job gets done on time (The Wall Street Journal, 2014).


The late management guru Drucker has framed the concept in a different manner. In the current economy, where the knowledge is valued and workers are no longer considered as industrial cogs/machines, management and leadership cannot be easily identified or separated. People expect their managers to define the purpose of their task before assigning a job to them, while it is a manager’s responsibility to enhance and nurture the extraordinary skills in an employee rather than utilizing them as an instrumental tool to maximize company’s profits (Forbes, 2014).

Management is a talent acquired by managers to get things done through the effort of others. Peter Drucker has explained about the tasks of a management through a 5 step process. 1) Setting Objectives: The manager sets goals and designs a plan for a group which describes the work that has to be enforced to meet those goals. 2) Organizes: The manager divides and assigns different tasks to group and selects a set of individuals to accomplish the tasks that need to be done. 3) Motivates and Communicates: The manager tries to create a synergy within a team through motivational activities like promotions, perks, bonus, placements and through his communication with the team. 4) Measures: The manager sets up a target system to monitor the performance and appraisal system. 5) Develops People: The manager believes that the people are the valued assets of an organisation and it is the responsibility of a manager to value their knowledge and develop that asset (The Wall Street Journal, 2010).


Daniel Goleman an author and science journalist who wrote for New York Times depicts leadership role as an “Emotional Intelligence” described in different styles. The basic fundamental role of a leader is to define the organisational goal, devise plans and assign it to people to achieve the goals through execution of plans (Business Balls, 2014). The leadership role is illustrated on a 3-Dimensional basis. 1) Vision:A Leader has to define and state the reason of a purpose-What to do? A vision helps a leader to determine a new product or a feature, exploring new markets and acquiring information on the latest trends in technology.  2) Strategy:  A leader has to structure a strategy to achieve the target goals- How to achieve the mission? Strategies or plans explicate the skill efficiency in a leader. It also includes product management and restructuring organization. 3) People: Who should carry out the strategy?”A leader should motivate the skills in an employee through inspiration, promotion, communication and establishing a good relationship. Using the power and position of a leadership, leaders can accomplish their goals by exploiting the employee’s skills and effort to the fullest. Moreover, a good leadership depends on the efficiency of a leader to make a wise decision (Practical Management, 2009).

Based on the human nature of every individual, internal and external factors can also highly influence a person to change or develop an action. According to Mayo’s theory an internal factor may be the desire to learn about a new skill or technology and an external factor could be an individual’s mind to achieve sales targets and incentives. Mayo suggested that maximizing profits through repeated tasks could lead an individual to lose his interest over the job and reduce motivation. Mayo believed that motivation was improved through inspiration and communication which makes an employee feel important, giving them a 360 degree of freedom to make choices and valuing their needs and requirements (Business Case Studies, 2009).

Tesco had practiced Mayo theory throughout the company to promote motivation within employees. Tesco had realized that Communication was a key factor in motivating employees. The company used to promote communication skills through 1-1 discussion with managers, through company intranet or newsletters. Tesco also had promoted motivation through activities like training and development opportunities which helps to provide better career opportunities for the staffs (Business Case Studies, 2009).

Workplace environment is also an influential factor which can even redefine the manager’s role in an organization. Applying contingency theory Lawrence and Lorsch (1967) had developed an open system to measure the immediate changes in the work place environment of an organisation.  This theory had monitored the changes in a manager when the differentiation and integration factors become increasingly unfavourable in an unpredicted external environment. Factors such as communications and composition of work force (age, sex, education, tenure) may reflect in a manager’s work if he/she is not able to withstand an unstable environment (Lawrence, 2010).

The models that were developed to outline the facts of managerial roles were inadequate to address the complete scope of the role and the factors behind the success of managers. These models may vary from person to person depending upon the individual’s character, cultural habits, circumstances and values. An organisation cannot adapt a single model to overcome every situation. Hence a robust model is to be developed to perform appropriate selection and to enforce a training system to extract global managerial talents. In contrast to contingency theory, Hersey and Blanchard had developed Situational leadership style, where managers can adapt different leadership styles to produce better results (Hersey & Blanchard, 2009).


Situational leadership style conveys that managers will not be able to survive with a single leadership style and should adapt alternatives to complete a given task with full potential. This theory helps the managers to understand the maturity of the followers and amend the leadership styles in terms of their readiness to perform a task.  This model emphasize on 4 leader ship styles namely – Delegating style, Participating style, Selling style and Telling style (Learning Domain, 2006).

Although this model encourages managers to adapt different leadership styles based on the situation or the task given to them, the explanation given on the way the other cultures communicate is still vague.

Hence I personally believe that today’s managers should encourage and accept innovative ideas from young talented individuals. They should be inspired through motivational activities which will make them to feel important by all aspects. A collaborative work force is to be created to join the hands of individuals from different culture, education, age and tenure and engage them in a competitive task. A manager should be highly driven by motivation and communication to understand and value the social needs of an employee.



[1]    The Wall Street Journal. (2014) What is the Difference Between Management and Leadership? [online] available from <>; [Accessed: 07 May 2014]

[2]    The Wall Street Journal. (2010) What do Managers do?; [online] available from <> [Accessed: 07 May 2014]

[3]    Forbes. (2014) Peter Drucker On Leadership [online] available from <> p.26 [Accessed: 07 May 2014]

[4]    Business Balls. (2014) Emotional Intelligence (EQ) [online] available from <> [Accessed: 07 May 2014]

[5]    Practical Management. (2009) Role of an Organizational Leader; [online] available from <> [Accessed: 07 May 2014]

[6]     Business Case Studies (2009), Motivational theory in practice at Tesco, [online] available from                 < >[Accessed: 07 May 2014]

[7]    Lawrence. (2010) “Differentiation and Integration in Complex Organizations” Administrative Science Quarterly 12, (1967), 1-30; [online] available from < > [Accessed: 07 May 2014]

[8]    Hersey & Blanchard. (2009) “Differentiation and Integration in Complex Organizations” Administrative Science Quarterly 12, (1967), 1-30; [online] available from < > [Accessed: 07 May 2014]

[9]    Learning Domain. (2006) A leader lives in each of us; [online] available from <> [Accessed: 07 May 2014]

By Vijay Sabarish


  1. I do agree that there are many different leadership styles that can be adopted by each individual. And the idea of managers or people can adopt different styles of leadership is unquestionable because I do believe that in a certain case, like you mentioned situational leadership, managers need to respond differently to the situation. In this case, managers who only stick to 1 single leadership style will most likely to fail in managing the situation.

  2. Yes I absolutely agree to your opinion. In future I believe a leader should manipulate his style according to the situation. As discussed in my blog, I would like to inherit the characteristics of both transformational and situational leaders to lead a corporate with better future prospects.

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