Theme 2: The Best Approach May Varying According To Circumstances and Individual Characterisics

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Many people are confused about the relationship between leadership and management and use the terms interchangeably. Therefore, it is important to discuss how these two terms differentiate from each other and in what circumstances they should be used. As the first step of this blog, the similarities and differences between management and leadership will be observed.

An initial comparison and contrast between management and leadership is illustrated as below.

Figure 1: The Relationship between Leadership and Management


(Source: Truss, 2012)

The figure above demonstrates that the leadership implies instilling an inspiring vision while management involves instilling good operational processes. Nonetheless, both of the terms have a common scope, i.e. getting important things done.

Basically, leadership and management have two apparent similarities between them. The primary similarity between them is that they both involve controlling or guiding a group of people as to approach common objectives. Another similarity is that leadership and managers often share the same qualities, i.e. the qualities ascribed to leadership also apply to managers. There are good and bad leaders in the world. At the same time, there are good and bad managers.

Also, leadership and management have a number of differences that the leaders and managers need to understand as to produce good results. In general, the manager’s job is to plan, organize and coordinate. By contrast, the leader’s job is to inspire and motivate (Dow Jones & Company, Inc., 2014). In details, there are a number of differences between the two terms, including: leaders question while managers direct; leaders tend to praise while managers are likely to find fault; leadership inspires while management plans; managers have subordinates while leaders have followers; and so on (Myers, 2014 and Changing Minds, 2013).

CMI (2013) points out that there is no single ideal approach under modern context since the best approach may vary dependant on the specific circumstances and individual characteristics. I totally agree with this argument and would like support it with evidences.

According to the theory proposed by Hay-McBer, there are six key leadership or management styles. All of these styles are effective under certain circumstances but ineffective under others.

The directive management style is to approach the immediate compliance from employees by closely controlling employees. This style proves to be effective in case that there is a crisis or deviations may cause risks. However, this style is ineffective when employees are underdeveloped or highly skilled. The authoritative style, by providing long-term vision for employees, could be effective when the leader is creditable or clear directions are needed but ineffective when employees are underdeveloped or the leader is unreliable. The afflictive style that aims at harmony is effective in managing conflicts but ineffective when performance is inadequate. The participative style that focuses on consensus among employees may be effective when employees are working together, especially in a steady working environment, but can be ineffective in case that there is a crisis or lack of competency. The pacesetting style that encourages do-it-myself managers is effective when employees are highly motivated and little direction is required, but ineffective in case that teamwork is needed. The coaching style, which encourages managers to be developmental, is effective when the employees’ skills need to be developed, but may be ineffective during a crisis (Cardinal, 2014).

The theory above shows that there is no ideal management or leadership style that is effective under all the business circumstances. The adoption of the most effective management or leadership should be determined by the specific circumstance and individual characteristics.

As a member of a team, I would like to be managed or led by a coaching style. This style sets the primary objective at the professional development of employees in a long term. I have chosen this management or leadership style because my skills need to be developed, and additionally I am motivated and want professional development. By adopting coach style, the manager would encourage me to develop my strengths and improve my work performance by providing development opportunities. Considering my characteristics, the coach style is the most effective management or leadership style for me. However, as to overcome the disadvantages of this style, I need to avoid the circumstances in which this style could be ineffective. To achieve this, I would seek an alternative style when the leader lacks expertise, or my professional proficiency is too low to be developed compared to my peers, or a crisis occurs.

In conclusion, leadership and management, though distinct from each other, have shared connotations also. As CMI argues, the best approach should be determined by circumstances and individual characteristics. In my point of view, I would like to be managed or led under the coach style as to improve my strengths and work performance.


Cardinal, R. (2014) ‘6 management styles and when best to use them – The Leaders Tool Kit’ [online]. Available from:

< > [10 February  2014].

Changing Minds (2013) ‘Leadership vs. Management’ [online]. Available from:< > [10 February 2014].

Dow Jones & Company, Inc. (2014) ‘What is the Difference between Management and Leadership?’ [online]. Available from:

< > [ 10 February 2014].

Myers, S.(2014)‘Leadership and Management: What is the Difference?’ [online]. Available from: < > [10 February 2014].

Truss, D.(2012) ‘Leadership and Management’ [online]. Available from:

< > [10 February 2014].