What leaders really do Instructions:
Students are required to choose one of the “Suggested Additional Readings” and submit short reviews, no more than 400 words (less than two double-spaced pages). The reviews should not be mere summaries of the article, but should focus on the personal and professional learnings or “take-aways” that the student gains.
Submit as a double spaced attachment in MS Word format
What Leaders Really Do
Is Management the same thing as Leadership? On the face value, one is tempted to think that they are the same. However, a close examination of the roles of leaders and managers is enough to convince you that the two are not the same. This is what is contained in the article “What Leaders Really Do” by John P. Kotter. (Kotter, 1990) This summary of the article will focus on demystifying the roles of leaders and managers to indicate that while the two complement each other, they serve different purposes in any organization.
The first main distinction between leadership and management is the focus on the direction that the organization is heading. Management usually focuses on guiding the business in a defined path to ensure they avoid risks. In essence, managers guarantee the stability of the firm. On the other hand, leaders focus on making the business more competitive which requires constant change and evolution. The leader is tasked with aligning the business employees to adapt to new changes. The leader follows this alignment by motivating the employees towards achieving success despite the changes. This is accomplished with the efforts of management who organize and plan for the requirements needed by employees, stakeholders, and consumers to ensure a stable transition. (Lunenburg, 2011)
John Kotter states at the beginning of the article that most business entities are “overmanaged and underled.” While this is a fair assessment, it also undermines the main idea of the entire article which is that managers and leaders should co-exist and complement each other. This evaluation suggests that managers are more often made to take over the role of leadership such as aligning the employees. Aligning is a task which he suggests should be left to leaders since managers are not able to connect with the human side of the business as their focus is on organizing duties. This is why he says that leaders can come from any member of the organization regardless of their position as long as they exhibit leadership skills. Thus, leadership culture needs to be implemented in the business by focusing on the young employees. These are people whose career can be guided towards a particular direction by placing them in positions of leadership. (Kotter, 1990) Here they have to make choices which are risky and could lead to failure or success. However, it is these early challenges that equip the leader with the perspectives and skills to know both sides of the business and how to adapt to change, a skill which is equally important for every leader.
Koffer, J. (1990). What Leaders Really Do. Harvard Business Review, 85-96.
Lunenburg, F. (2011). Leadership versus Management: A Key Distinction — At Least in Theory. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MANAGEMENT, BUSINESS, AND ADMINISTRATION, 14(1).