Leadership and management are used synonymously in organizations. However, they are distinct in their functions and in the characteristics exhibited by leaders and managers. Leadership is about influencing and inspiring people to achieve the strategic goals of an organization (Khoshhal & Guraya, 2016). Management is concerned with directing, controlling, and organizing the day-to-day operations of an organization. It requires managers to utilize some levels of persuasion and rewards and disciplinary measures. Notably, both leaders and managers focus on achieving set goals and objectives in organizations.
I perceive leaders as people who possess good communication skills. Communication is integral to a healthy organization and effective execution of duties leading towards the realization of goals and objectives. Leaders need to communicate clearly to ascertain that people grasp the similar meanings in messages (Azad et al., 2017). Communication can be verbal or written; hence, leaders need good verbal and written communication skills. Overall, communication helps a leader to connect with others and develop empathy, which is fundamental for effective leadership.
Leaders need to exhibit integrity at all times. Integrity is about being truthful and possessing strong moral convictions. It enables a leader to become accountable and build trust and confidence with others. Also, leaders with integrity lead by example and focus on excellence (Azad et al., 2017). Thus, I perceive leaders as persons who have accountability, honesty, and strong moral convictions. Honest leaders take responsibility for their actions and provide credence where it is due rather than take credit for others’ achievements. In addition, integrity requires a leader to do the right thing in the absence of observation. These aspects set the pace for accountability in others and drive success in organizations.
I believe that leaders are people who have the ability to inspire and influence others. They influence their followers to achieve set goals and objectives. They use their influence to steer organizations in the right direction. Without influence, a leader is bound to fail. Influence requires one to have charisma, good communication, and leadership by example, the ability to sell a strategic objective, and harness required resources to achieve it. Influence in a leader is about seeking others’ input to foster inclusivity, building strong long-term relationships, driving change, and inspiring people to achieve shared goals. Influential leaders bring out the best in each person without castigation.
I perceive good managers as individuals who are assertive and focused. These attributes ascertain that they achieve operational goals. Assertiveness and focus are required in the enforcement of rules and regulations which characterize management practice. Additionally, managers have good delegation and communication skills. They delegate duties on a daily basis (Khoshhal & Guraya, 2016). Excellent communication skills ensure clarity of instructions to foster a healthy work environment. Managers need to have good decision-making along with perceptive emotional intelligence. This is because managers make decisions that are representative of an organization and those that require one to exhibit balance and impartiality (Khoshhal & Guraya, 2016). For example, managers make decisions touching on an organization’s finances, human resources, and operations. Thus, a manager needs decision-making skills and perceptive emotional intelligence to make decisions that promote a positive image of the organization. In addition, a manager should possess integrity because they deal with organizational resources. Honesty empowers helps managers to model integrity and positive work culture to staff.
My direct supervisors are both leaders and managers. They exhibit qualities of leaders and managers, such as influence, accountability, integrity, delegation, and emotional intelligence. For example, my unit supervisor conducts staff briefings each morning to inspire nurses to perform to the best of their ability. The individual ascertains that each person’s needs are met, and that they have required resources for optimal productivity.
Azad, N., Anderson, H. G., Jr, Brooks, A., Garza, O., O’Neil, C., Stutz, M. M., & Sobotka, J. L. (2017). Leadership and management are one and the same. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 81(6), 102. doi:10.5688/ajpe816102
Khoshhal, K. I., & Guraya, S. Y. (2016). Leaders produce leaders and managers produce followers. A systematic review of the desired competencies and standard settings for physicians’ leadership. Saudi Medical Journal, 37(10), 1061–1067. doi:10.15537/smj.2016.10.15620
Leader vs. Manager
The term leadership can be defined as the use of individual traits and abilities, in relationship with others, and the ability to interpret the environment/context where situation is emerging and enter that situation in the absence of a script or defined plan that could have been projected (Yoder-Wise, 2015). Management on the other hand is defined as the ability to plan, direct, control, and evaluate others in situations where the outcomes are known or preestablished, where one of more ways of performing have been agreed upon based upon evidence, where feedback and communication is shared to improve clinical process and outcomes, and where sustained relationships advance consistency of purpose (Yoder-Wise, 2015).
Some attributes of a manger compared to attributes of a leader are: A manager tells you what to do and how they want you to do it vs. a leader who will try to sell you on an idea and try to get you to go along with it; while a manager will approve a job well done, a leader will motivate you to do well; a manager relies on control over a situation vs. a leader that inspires trust to workers to be the best they can be (McKale, 2020).
Based upon my own personal experience, I have come across both leaders as well as managers. In my current place of employment, my unit manager fits most of the attributes that can describe a manager. He will hold meetings and discuss what his expectations are and how corrections need to be made if any. He is not one that will trust right away. He expects for his employees to prove themselves in the work that they do as well as show initiative in things that were not expected of them. Having a manager like this I believe is important. You need someone that knows the ins and outs with rules, regulations, and laws in order to avoid repercussions from the organization as well as the state and federal governments. On the other hand, I also have leaders in my current place of employment. The leaders offer solutions to problems that may arise or offer suggestions to improve the quality of care that is given to patients. An example of a leader is the charge nurse. A charge nurse is there to support the staff on the unit and offer assistance to those that may need it. A great charge nurse would be a point of reference for the floor staff as well as physicians, they encourage other nurses to feel confident in the work that they are doing, and they motivate others to continue doing a great job. On my unit, I am one of the charge nurses and I was trained by my assistant nurse manager who on occasion assumes the role of charge nurse as well. I learned a lot from her on how to treat the staff, to make them feel like we are all on the same team and are there with the same goals in mind. Motivating and helping each other makes the unit run smoothly and that encourages everyone to do their best, which then gives the patients the best chance to have optimal health outcomes.
McKale, Lisa. (2020). Leaders vs. Managers: 17 Traits That Set Them Apart (Infographic). Retrieved from: https://www.resourcefulmanager.com/leaders-vs-managers/ (Links to an external site.)
Yoder-Wise, Patricia S. (2015). Leading and Managing in Nursing (6th ed). St. Louis, MO: Mosby, an imprint of Elsevier
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