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The traditional view of management, back in when Abraham Zaleznik wrote this The difference between managers and leaders, he wrote, lies in the. Abraham Zaleznik on management and leadership, criticism of The Managerial Mystique and Managers and leaders: are they different?. author Abraham Zaleznik’s answer to this intriguing (and slightly provocative) Managers are very different; they are rational, balanced, unemotional and easy.

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The principle is rationality. In this way, Zaleznik argued, business leaders have much more in common with artists, scientists, and other creative thinkers than they do with managers.

Abraham Zaleznik on Leadership

Personality and Social Psychology Review, 5, This definition includes a range of kinds of leadership that have nothing to do with the conventional image of the person in charge of a group. Introduction Leadership and Emergent Organizational Structures. The Journal of Business Communication35, John Kotter tried this approach, saying that managers deal with complexity while leaders focus on change. Complexity theory and organization science.

Management is like investment, an attempt to get the best return or add the most value relative to specific goals and resources. The role of task-related behavior in the emergence of leaders: Among the questions raised by this discussion are as follows: From this point of view, leaders simply do it better than managers. But analyzing how it works can radically Where they are formal sales and marketing roles, people in sales might be more outgoing and those in marketing might be more analytical, but this has nothing do with how we define these functions.

Beyond Leadership Style Leadership Traits: They have different aims making best use of resources versus showing others a better way and they work in different ways deciding or facilitating versus influencing. How Leadership Works Like management, leadership can also be shown by all employees as it is also a tool or process not a role. Managerial development at the time focused exclusively on building competence, control, and the appropriate balance of power.


It works through influence, not by making decisions. Organizations need both managers and leaders to succeed, but developing both requires a reduced focus on logic and strategic exercises in favor of an environment where creativity and imagination are permitted to flourish.

In his article Zaleznik makes exactly the same claim, stating that: Is Leadership a Relationship? Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Mandela were activists who we now recognize as leaders When managing intelligent knowledge workers this can include letting them manage themselves to a large extent but also being supportive, empowering and developmental and, yes, even inspiring or transformational.

But what if we say that they have different functions? Martin Luther King had a similar leadership impact on the general population and the US Supreme Court when his demonstrations against segregation on buses led the latter to rule it unconstitutional.

How does an activist become a leader? Abraham Zaleznik on Leadership.

Managers and leaders: are they different?

Small group decision making. Level 5 Leadership Jim Complex Adaptive Systems The same is true of sales and marketing. Should we focus on personality to differentiate leaders from managers?

A Functional Slant A fully functional perspective should make no mention of personality when we define leadership and management. A rationale for focusing on personality is the assumption that both leaders and managers perform the same function and are thus competing for the same territory of getting work done through people.

Managers and leaders: are they different?

The question in this form is not answerable because many types of people can both lead and manage. The traditional view of management, back in when Abraham Zaleznik wrote this article, centered on organizational structure and processes. But he had one foot in the past because, despite the different focus, he still wanted to say that leaders were inspirational and managers transactional.

Managers apply the same principles as an unemployed person looking for a job; they just have more resources to manage and more complex tasks to undertake. Why can we not simply upgrade management in a way that meets the demands of a different world, one involving more knowledge work than assembly line operations?


An effective manager is one who gets the best out of all resources. These are organizational functions that are independent of role in the sense that all employees can aaleznik in them.

This leaves the means of managing completely open.

Even if this is historically accurate, there is nothing in this manageers fact that commits management to operating in zxleznik manner forever. It is not clear what evidence Zaleznik has for these charges. The Leader as Activist. How Management Works Management, so defined, is something we all do every day, even if only when we manage our time.

Management achieves goals in a way that makes the best use of all pertinent resources.

Leadership shows the way for others, either by example or by advocating a new direction. Is Leadership a Role? Stogdill’s handbook of leadership 2nd ed. If they both have the same function, then there is no way to differentiate them other than by pointing to style or personality differences.

The aim is efficiency. The difference between managers and leaders, he wrote, lies in the conceptions they hold, deep in leadees psyches, rhey chaos and order. This is why we use positive words to describe leaders and why we look to glamorous CEOs or heads of states, rather than front line supervisors as our paradigm cases of leadership.

A fully functional perspective should make no mention of personality when we define leadership and management.