Leeds Business School

Do we need leaders and managers in the workplace?

Recently I read two articles written by SharpstoneSkinner one called Love your managers* and the second called Leaders vs Managers – who would win?* And it got me thinking .!

Do I subconsciously do Managers a disservice?

In my enthusiasm to promote Transformational Leadership as good practice am I sending out the message that Management and its more Transactional Leadership style is outdated and has no place in the workplace. Possibly I am…. but is that right?

Thinking about the things I have read on the situational nature of leadership and as Daniel Goleman says in his Harvard Business Review article Leadership that gets results:

“Many managers mistakenly assume that leadership style is a function of personality rather than strategic choice. Instead of choosing the one style that suits their temperament, they should ask which style best addresses the demands of a particular situation.”

Selecting a transactional style as the most appropriate for a situation doesn’t mean that the leader is going to be unsupportive or unfriendly, in fact transactional leadership is often about doing things right and making today better for everyone.

The key is when to stop being transactional and to switch styles.

If you find yourself stuck in the transactional style maybe you need to change the situation? Are you creating a culture of dependence and a team who are using you as a crutch or to avoid being held accountable for decisions that are within the remit of their role?

Certainly, transformational leadership is good practice, and could be summarised as doing the right thing and making tomorrow better for everyone. However, used inappropriately it can leave people feeling unsupported and unclear as to what is expected of them.

On balance the answer is YES we need both, having both leaders and managers in the workplace means that great things get done.

*Sharpstoneskinnercouk. (2016). Sharpstoneskinnercouk. Retrieved from www.sharpstoneskinner.co.uk



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Lorraine Goodhand

Leadership Development Consultant / Leeds Business School

Lorraine's background is in Retail Management, and she ran her own Learning and Development Company before joining the team at the Leadership Centre. Her passion is for delivering first class customer experiences and her delivery style balances support and challenge to ensure that you can be the best you can be.

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