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Leadership vs. Management

Shared Leadership 2012 group, Carrie Quinney photo

Leading vs. Managing

In order to be an exceptional manger it is beneficial to know what kind of leader you are, however, first recognize that manager and leader are two completely different roles, although the words are often used interchangeably. Managers facilitate team members’ success by providing them with the tools and resources needed to encourage productivity and success. Leaders can be any member of a team, regardless of title or authority. Good managers encourage team members to be great leaders, think creatively, and capitalize on their strengths and talents. When leadership is shared among team members, including managers, teams are more productive, efficient, nimble, successful, and able to handle unforeseen challenges.

Leadership Styles

Everyone has experienced different styles of leadership at some point in their career; styles may vary from leader to leader. Some leaders prefer to direct employees in an authoritarian process, while others prefer to involve employees in the processes through democracy. Still other leaders have a laissez-faire attitude that relinquishes responsibilities and leaves employees to figure things out on their own, whereas some leaders prefer more of a coaching or mentoring role. Every leader is different and situations may arise when each of these styles of leadership is necessary for success. Leadership styles can change and evolve, so it is important for mangers to know what kind of leader they are and when it is appropriate to utilize different leadership styles. An effective leader has the ability to adjust to differing situations and diversity of people and personalities.

  • Authoritarian or Directive:
    • individual control over all decisions with minimal input
    • Rarely accept advice from others & often make decisions based on only their own judgments and ideas.
    • typically dictate all work methods & processes
    • rarely trust others with decision making or important tasks
    • beneficial when decisions need to be made quickly, without consent of group members, or in safety-sensitive situations
    • productivity, efficiency, and speed are high priorities
  • Democratic:
    • encourage group members to share ideas & opinions, even though the leader retains the final say over decisions
    • believe in an open & collaborative working environment that encourages idea sharing and open communication
    • decision making is a group effort, requiring more time to make decisions
    • flexible, adaptable, and able to synthesize group information in order to make final decisions
    • Conformity is not a priority & employees are able to capitalize on their individual skills, talent, and motivations.
    • Value relationships & utilize ideas from different areas of expertise. This style works best when employees are highly skilled professionals who are self-motivated and able to complete tasks on their own.
  • Delegated or Laissez-Faire:
    • provides little guidance to group members, gives the freedom to make decisions without the assistance of the leader
    • provide the tools & resources needed
    • allow team members to have complete control
    • team expected to solve problems on their own
    • Can lead to lowest productivity due to a lack of guidance and direction.
    • works best with members who are highly motivated, work independently, and are not afraid to make decisions on their own
  • Coaching/Mentoring:
    • work with team members to develop abilities & skills that will enable them to work independently
    • believe in developing team members for the future
    • mentors who build up team members & capitalize on individual team members strengths to make them more successful over all
    • encourage a learning environment that inspires innovation through creativity, trial & error
    • Allow team members to experiment with ideas and try new things.
    • works best with individuals who are open to change and learning opportunities
  • Transactional or Managerial:
    • emphasis is on supervision, organization, rules, procedures, standards, and group performance
    • focus on getting the job done by offering team members rewards in exchange for accomplishing organizational goals
    • take action and correct issues
    • provide clear and concise expectations and carefully monitor team members to ensure that expectations are met
    • rewards when team or individual is successful and reprimands when they are not successful
    • May prevent both leaders and team members from achieving their full potential because it assumes that employees are motivated by reward and punishment, subordinates have to obey the orders of the superior, and employees are not self-motivated and must be closely monitored and controlled to get work done.
  • Transformation:
    • garner trust, respect and admiration from team members
    • focus on relationship building in teams in order to achieve organizational goals
    • inspire excellence by acting as role models & setting the ideal for the team
    • focus on intellectual stimulation to encourage creativity and innovation
    • concentrate on individual strengths & considerations in order to capitalize on individual abilities, interests & talents
    • encourage idea sharing & offer direct recognition for unique contributions
    • inspire motivation by providing a clear mission and vision
    • coaches that encourage individual team member to develop their skills and abilities and improve their performance

Resources Available to Managers

  1. Boise State University offers managers a variety of leadership and management development courses through the Center for Professional Development and Employee Learning and Development. These courses provide competency-based learning to enhance management and leadership skills. Courses are available for a variety of topics such as foundations in supervision, applied leadership, and personality styles in a workplace.
  2. Employee learning and Development offers a Shared Leadership program to Boise State employees. The purpose of the Boise State University Shared Leadership Program is to train faculty and staff to become involved in the University decision making process. The program is designed to:
    1. Enhance and develop knowledge and understanding of the campus community — its complexities and its potential;
    2. Provide an opportunity for participants to meet and exchange ideas with each other and with current campus community leaders;
    3. Motivate and encourage participants to assume individual leadership roles on campus.
    4. The Center for Professional Development at Boise State offers applied Leadership courses that offer competency based learning to enhance management and leadership styles. They explore tools and skills needed to lead, coach, and develop a team. Emphasis is placed in customer service, effective decision making, problem solving, and improvement in efficiency, creativity, and innovation. This course examines how the leader impacts the workplace by understanding emotional intelligence, managing conflict, leading change, and creating trust.
    5. The President of the University values leadership and provides the University with a Leadership Academy. This Academy provides a forum for leaders to share a common language and vision and discuss current research in order to direct organizational change. The Academy is designed to assist Boise State University leaders in (1) creating professional development opportunities focused on leadership for faculty and staff who already hold supervisory positions or will in the near future, and (2) allows current and future campus leaders access to the most current research and knowledge related to organizational culture, leadership, creativity, performance management, and decision-making. For more information about the President’s Leadership Academy please contact:

Other Resources

Original: July 30, 2013
Last Update: August 1, 2013