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Relating to appropriate theory, what, if any, are the essential characteristics of leadership that separate it or do not separate it, from management?
Bennis (2009, pg 42), in his analysis of leadership versus management, famously quoted that “Managers do things right, while leaders do the right thing” and it is this dynamic contrast that marks the opening of what might be considered a moot area for discussion. Initially it is relevant to analyse pertinent literature in relation to both the theoretical and practical side of leadership and management. Continuing with Bennis (ibid), it is interesting to note that in addition to the above statement, eleven other comparative traits are listed, which generally speaking identify a manager as being someone who tends to focus predominantly on following procedures, achieving objectives and, for want of a better phrase, 'getting the job done'. In opposition, he regards leaders to have more of an influencing effect, to be able to see the bigger picture in terms of the organisation and to be someone who shows individuality and originality.
In addition to this, it would appear that a particular characteristic that separates a leader from a manager is the capability to be one who “focuses on people” (ibid). This seems to be a distinct separating trait in that a leader is able to identify that people are individual – they have different needs and expectations within the workplace – and it is in allowing these differences to be appreciated that contributes to the success of the organisation. Peters and Waterman concur this train of thought, adding that “building a loyal team at the top that speaks more or less with one voice” (1982, pg 82) is key to successful leadership. Furthermore, they deduce that the role of the leader is not to be at the forefront of everything, stating that leadership is more about “... being visible when things are going awry, and invisible when they are working well” (ibid). This is perhaps...
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