What is the difference between management and leadership?

In overall management theory, the recent trends consider distinguishing strongly between leadership and managerial qualities. According to this view, managers and leaders have certain major differences in a number of areas, including:

Psychological personality profile: Administrative for a manager and innovative for a leader.

Type of power and approach to making people do things: Administratively supported ordering for a manager and inspiring for a leader; subordinates' respect replaced by admiration.

Approach to task execution: Objective-oriented task fulfillment with lots of detailed planning involved for a manager and overall vision (mission)-oriented movement for a leader; control replaced by trust.

Approach to planning: Acting on the basis of the goals set by others for a manager and fighting for their own goals with a great level of belief and commitment for a leader; professionalism replaced by enthusiasm.

Ways of affecting people: Logical for a manager and emotional for a leader.

Generally: While the manager is the one ''doing things right,'' the position of the leader becomes to ''do the right thing.''

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While all the differences described above might really be of importance in the case of general management, in projects there is a need for both types of behavior, leadership as well as managerial. The leader's behavior is critical in the initial phase of the project when the whole project plan largely sits within the project manager's head and at the moments of major changes and problems. At these times deep emotional commitment and vision of the overall project mission is critical for project success and team members' performance. Meanwhile, managerial characteristics are extremely important during the normal process of project task execution.

The other way of looking at differences between managerial and leadership approaches, as applied to a project management environment, has to do with the different types of project managers. This is determined by the different types of projects carried out and the organizational structure involved. In the case of the managed-by-projects or project-oriented or matrix organization, the project managers carry out certain types of similar projects on a constant basis and demonstrate more management qualities, with the major decisions on project implementation being more or less outside of their competence. In the case of large-scale projects with the project organization formation, the manager of the project is normally much more emotionally involved with the project's overall mission and presents many of the qualities regarded as those of a project leader.

The same situation, strangely enough, could be the case in a weak matrix organization with a project coordinator having very little formal authority but a large level of commitment toward the overall project result.

What are the major theories of behavioral and situational leadership?

The concept of leadership behavior started to be developed before World War II and is still popular because those theories consider the opportunity for leaders to be trained according to special types of programs.

The best-known classical theory of behavioral leadership is Douglas McGregor's Theory X-Theory Y concept of management. McGregor distinguished between those managers who consider people to be lazy and unwilling to work or take responsibility and who use punishment and fear to make them do what they have to (Theory X) and those managers who consider people to naturally be committed to labor if given a correct environment where people are capable of self-education and have the ability to use results-oriented rewards systems to make them more committed (Theory Y).

McGregor's theory reached its purpose of making managers look critically at the style by which they manage people. In McGregor's description, Theory X managers were described as being clearly ''evil'' and creating the wrong atmosphere for people to be able to work most efficiently. In modern management science and practice, Theory Y managers' approach to managing people is viewed as the best one for most types of jobs, even those that do not necessarily seem to be creative. This was definitely not the case fifty years ago. Needless to say, in a project environment we always strongly recommend Theory Y managers as being the most appropriate for helping people take ownership and increasing involvement and motivation of the project team. Of course these things are normally viewed as one of the key factors of project success.

However, because of its strong ideological orientation, McGregor's approach is too primitive to be sufficient to describe complex situations managers often get into, especially in projects.

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The concept that is considered to be more applicable to management situations is the so-called Likkert's leadership styles theory, which shows four styles of leadership behavior: exploitation-authoritative, favorable- authoritative, consultant-democratic, and democratic.

Other theories of leadership behavior basically develop a complicated McGregor's model in order to get it closer to actual situations occurring in groups doing certain types of work. They are normally shown as certain types of matrices describing four to nine types of leaders' behavior. The following theories have been quite popular at certain times:

Leaders' behavior is based on the degree of work coordination and the degree of attention to subordinates.

Leaders' behavior is based on the degree of interest in production and the degree of interest in people.

Theories of situational leadership have allowed further complexity in the process of leadership model development. The major idea of situational leadership is that management behavior has to be different depending on the situation. Thus, another variable is added to the equation models, characterizing the situation where leadership styles are shown. Recognizing the huge amount of management materials on situational leadership that have been written in the last fifty years, we will discuss two theories that, from our perspective, give the overall idea of this approach and also have more relevance to a project environment.

Fred Fiedler's model of situational leadership was developed in the 1960s. The model allows us to predict the efficiency of the work of the group headed by the leader. As in the other models of situational leadership, this one looks at a number of different leadership situations developed by the combination of the leader's characteristics and situational characteristics. The model uses three situational variables: relations between the leader and the members of the group (leader-member relations); the structure of task or the degree of work coordination (task structure); and the official authority (ability to reward and punish). In order to be able to measure the leadership style, Fiedler suggested using a scale of characteristics of the least preferred coworker (LPC).

Following the suggested scale, shown in Figure 6-1, the leaders are to describe the most ideal employee and the least preferred coworker they can work with. Finally, the overall number of scores gained by the leader shows him being oriented toward one of the two styles: relations- oriented (high LPC) or task-oriented (low LPC). The combination of three situational variables and two leadership styles gives eight major types of situations describing Fiedler's model (see Figure 6-2). Fiedler's characteristics scale for the least preferred coworker

Figure 6-1: Fiedler's characteristics scale for the least preferred coworker

The leaders with low-scoring LPC are more work-oriented and can be more efficient in very favorable situations where they can afford to spend more time developing relations with employees instead of interfering with their work or in very unfavorable situations where they just dictate what the employees do. In a project environment, that corresponds to two types of projects: the very typical project with very low uncertainty, lots of flexibility and reserves, and with team members with lots of experience in implementing projects of this type; or the project that gets into crisis conditions in which the project manager is expected to temporarily break the major rules of HR management and move on to a dictating and authoritative style.

Fiedler's situational leadership model

Figure 6-2: Fiedler's situational leadership model The leaders with high LPC would be more efficient in the moderately favorable situations that are common in the case of projects. The two types of conditions can occur when the tasks are well structured and the relations with the employees are good or when the relations with the leader are good but the tasks are poorly structured. In the last case, the leader is dependent on the employees to have enough desire and creative initiative for task implementation. This is also often the case in projects. However, in this last case the leader has the opportunity to pay more attention to the work itself because the relationship is already well established.

The model allows us to choose a manager related to the situation who has already familiarized himself with the group and organization. It also helps a manager to see ways of changing the situation if changing the manager himself is for some reason undesirable.

However, this model considers the leadership style to be something more or less set for a certain leader. Therefore, for a project environment where the situation can change many times throughout the project, it is more reasonable to pay attention to another model considering the ability of the leader to change his or her behavior during the different project stages.

The situational leadership model of Paul Hersey and Kenneth Blanchard concentrates on something called the followers' maturity level as a key factor that is determined by people who have the ability and wish to fulfill the task set up by the leader. The two components of maturity are:

Professional Maturity: knowledge, experience, and skills, ability in general. The high level of this component means that the leader will spend less time on directives.

Psychological Maturity: Readiness to fulfill the task or high motivation of employees. A high level of this component allows the leader to spend less effort on encouraging employees to work because they are already being internally motivated.

There are four stages of maturity described by the model: unwilling and unable; willing but unable; able but unwilling; and able and willing. When people are unwilling and unable to work, they are either incompetent or uncertain. When people are willing but unable to work, they have the motivation but do not have the knowledge and skills. When people are able but unwilling to work, they are not interested in what the leader is suggesting.

As we look at the four levels of maturity described above in the context of a project, it is quite clear that they do not represent different groups of people but rather describe different types of behavior that change as the project moves on. In a classical project, the team members start with high enthusiasm and low competence, then their enthusiasm normally gets lower without changing the competence much as the work develops; further on, the competence level starts to grow as the experience grows with the project; finally, a high degree of professionalism and a high level of motivation are reached as the person starts seeing herself producing really good results.

Based on the Blanchard model, the leader in turn has to balance the attention paid to task implementation with the attention paid to developing relationships with people, the balance being different in different situations, related to the different maturity levels of the followers. There are four styles of leadership a leader can use. The first style, called S1, having to do with the early project stage, has to concentrate more on task direction in order to compensate for a lack of competence among the team members; it is not necessary to pay much attention to people's relationships because of the enthusiasm of the newcomers. Style S2 is used at what is almost the most difficult stage of the project and has to be strong in both respects in order to compensate for the team members' losing their initial enthusiasm. At further stages, as the skill levels grow, style S3, which involves much more delegation and fewer directives, but still high attention to people, becomes more effective. As we move toward the end of the project, style S4 can be used where the efforts on both task implementation and peoples' relationship development decrease and the manager's attention can become less intense.

It is easy to see that none of the leadership theories is complex enough to fully describe the phenomena of leadership. Therefore, in project management we use all the possible approaches and insights that can help us to be flexible enough to be able to move our team members through the different stages of the project with the most efficiency.

 
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