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Leadership styles, characteristics and management skills

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Business
Wordcount: 4399 words Published: 24th Apr 2017

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The word leadership drives its meaning from the word ‘Leader’who is defined as a person capable of inspiring and associating others with a dream.” It is therefore important that organizations have a mission to strengthen the leadership of its directors.

Leadership can be described as the “process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task”. Alan Keith of Genentech states that, “Leadership is ultimately about creating a way for people to contribute to making something extraordinary happen.” According to Ken “SKC” Ogbonnia, “effective leadership is the ability to successfully integrate and maximize available resources within the internal and external environment for the attainment of organizational or societal goals.”

Leadership can also be defined as the act of organizing a group of people to achieve a common goal.” The leader may or may not have any formal authority.

Leadership is also the manner or the process through which a person influences others in an organization to achieve pre-defined objectives in a cohesive and coherent manner.

The leaders must have all the necessary knowledge and skills.Leaders should clearly express themselves, know what they want and communicate it to their subjects for cooperation.

In general, management is the activity of resolving a disorderly situation into an intentionally orderly situation, to achieve pre-determined (i.e., purposeful) outcomes.

Since disorder continuously arises from creativity, destruction, decay, variance, versioning, chaos, and other natural and intentional changes, resolving that disorder into an intended order requires continuous tracking and adjustments in the “architecture” of the intended order’s parts, part relationships, and part and relationship attributes.

Management is a practice of utilizing all available resources to obtain a desired result.

Management is necessary because

A desired result must be established,

Someone must be delegated, or assume the authority, to obtain, organize, guide, and direct those resources toward the desired result. Someone must “manage” the entire process. For that reason, all persons involved must agree to the desired result, and even if not in total agreement with the plan being advocated, still agree to the plan so as not to consciously or unconsciously sabotage the journey.

I think it’s safe to say that the success of any managed project is determined in direct ratio to the control of all resources utilized, especially human resources.

Management is also the art of getting things done from others. Management is a universal phenomenon and it exists in all the sectors. In case of private sector the management is very transparent. The goals are properly defined and all the employees are very well aware of their goals and are rewarded well for hard work. In case of public sector, there’s not that much transparency.

Management can also be defined as the act or art of managing; the manner of treating, directing, carrying on, or using, for a purpose; conduct; administration; guidance; control;.



1. Authenticity “After years of studying leaders and their traits, I believe that leadership begins and ends with authenticity.”

2. Desire to Serve Others “Authentic leaders genuinely desire to serve others through their leadership.”

3. Empowering People “They are more interested in empowering the people they lead to make a difference than they are in power, money, or prestige for themselves.”

4. Guided by Heart, passion and compassion “They are as guided by qualities of the heart, by passion, and compassion, as they are by qualities of the mind.”

5. Recognize their shortcomings “Authentic leaders use their natural abilities, but they also recognize their shortcomings and work hard to overcome them.”

6. Lead with Purpose “They lead with purpose, meaning and values.”

7. Build Enduring Relationships “They build enduring relationships with people.”

8. Clear Where They Stand “Others follow them because they know where they stand.”

9. Refuse to Compromise “When principles are tested, they refuse to compromise.”

10. Develop Themselves “Authentic leaders are dedicated to developing themselves because they know that becoming a leader takes a lifetime of personal growth.”


There are four Main Leadership Styles





Autocratic Leadership Style

This is often considered the classical approach. It is one in which the manager retains as much power and decision-making authority as possible. The manager does not consult employees, nor are they allowed to give any input. Employees are expected to obey orders without receiving any explanations. The motivation environment is produced by creating a structured set of rewards and punishments.

This leadership style has been greatly criticized during the past 30 years. Some studies say that organizations with many autocratic leaders have higher turnover and absenteeism than other organizations.

The studies say that autocratic leaders:

Rely on threats and punishment to influence employees

Do not trust employees

Do not allow for employee input

Yet, autocratic leadership is not all bad. Sometimes it is the most effective style to use. These situations can include:

New, untrained employees who do not know which tasks to perform or which procedures to follow

Effective supervision can be provided only through detailed orders and instructions

Employees do not respond to any other leadership style

There are high-volume production needs on a daily basis

There is limited time in which to make a decision

A manager’s power is challenged by an employee

The area was poorly managed

Work needs to be coordinated with another department or organization

The autocratic leadership style should not be used when:

Employees become tense, fearful, or resentful

Employees expect to have their opinions heard

Employees begin depending on their manager to make all their decisions

There is low employee morale, high turnover and absenteeism and work stoppage

Bureaucratic Leadership Style

Bureaucratic leadership is where the manager manages “by the book¨ Everything must be done according to procedure or policy. If it isn’t covered by the book, the manager refers to the next level above him or her. This manager is really more of a police officer than a leader. He or she enforces the rules.

This style can be effective when:

Employees are performing routine tasks over and over.

Employees need to understand certain standards or procedures.

Employees are working with dangerous or delicate equipment that requires a definite set of procedures to operate.

Safety or security training is being conducted.

Employees are performing tasks that require handling cash.

This style is ineffective when:

Work habits form that are hard to break, especially if they are no longer useful.

Employees lose their interest in their jobs and in their fellow workers.

Employees do only what is expected of them and no more.

Democratic Leadership Style

The democratic leadership style is also called the participative style as it encourages employees to be a part of the decision making. The democratic manager keeps his or her employees informed about everything that affects their work and shares decision making and problem solving responsibilities. This style requires the leader to be a coach who has the final say, but gathers information from staff members before making a decision.

Democratic leadership can produce high quality and high quantity work for long periods of time. Many employees like the trust they receive and respond with cooperation, team spirit, and high morale. Typically the democratic leader:

Develops plans to help employees evaluate their own performance

Allows employees to establish goals

Encourages employees to grow on the job and be promoted

Recognizes and encourages achievement.

Like the other styles, the democratic style is not always appropriate. It is most successful when used with highly skilled or experienced employees or when implementing operational changes or resolving individual or group problems.

The democratic leadership style is most effective when:

The leader wants to keep employees informed about matters that affect them.

The leader wants employees to share in decision-making and problem-solving duties.

The leader wants to provide opportunities for employees to develop a high sense of personal growth and job satisfaction.

There is a large or complex problem that requires lots of input to solve.

Changes must be made or problems solved that affect employees or groups of employees.

You want to encourage team building and participation.

Democratic leadership should not be used when:

There is not enough time to get everyone’s input.

It’s easier and more cost-effective for the manager to make the decision.

The business can’t afford mistakes.

The manager feels threatened by this type of leadership.

Employee safety is a critical concern.

Laissez-Faire Leadership Style

The laissez-faire leadership style is also known as the “hands-off¨ style. It is one in which the manager provides little or no direction and gives employees as much freedom as possible. All authority or power is given to the employees and they must determine goals, make decisions, and resolve problems on their own.

This is an effective style to use when:

Employees are highly skilled, experienced, and educated.

Employees have pride in their work and the drive to do it successfully on their own.

Outside experts, such as staff specialists or consultants are being used

Employees are trustworthy and experienced.

This style should not be used when:

It makes employees feel insecure at the unavailability of a manager.

The manager cannot provide regular feedback to let employees know how well they are doing.

Managers are unable to thank employees for their good work.

The manager doesn’t understand his or her responsibilities and is hoping the employees can cover for him or her.

Factors Affecting Leadership Styles

While the proper leadership style depends on the situation, there are three other factors that also influence which leadership style to use.

1. The manager’s personal background. What personality, knowledge, values, ethics, and experiences does the manager have. What does he or she think will work?

2. The employees being supervised. Employees are individuals with different personalities and backgrounds. The leadership style managers use will vary depending upon the individual employee and what he or she will respond best to.

3. The company. The traditions, values, philosophy, and concerns of the company will influence how a manager acts.



Management success is gained through accomplishment of mission and objectives. Managers fail when they do not accomplish mission and objectives. Success and failure are tied directly to the reasons for being in business, i.e., mission and objectives. However, accomplishing mission and objectives is not sufficient. Success requires both effectiveness and efficiency. Managers who accomplish their mission and objectives are said to be effective. Efficiency describes the relationship between the amount of resources used (input) and the extent to which objectives were accomplished (output). If the cost of accomplishing an objective is prohibitive, then the objective is not realistic in the context of the firm’s resources. Additional planning is necessary.

Management is creative problem solving. This creative problem solving is accomplished through four functions of management: planning, organizing, leading and controlling.


Planning is the ongoing process of developing the business’ mission and objectives and determining how they will be accomplished. Planning includes both the broadest view of the organization, e.g., its mission, and the narrowest, e.g., a tactic for accomplishing a specific goal.

Organizing is establishing the internal organizational structure of the organization. The focus is on division, coordination, and control of tasks and the flow of information within the organization. It is in this function that managers distribute authority to job holders.

Staffing is filling and keeping filled with qualified people all positions in the business. Recruiting, hiring, training, evaluating and compensating are the specific activities included in the function. In the family business, staffing includes all paid and unpaid positions held by family members including the owner/operators.

Directing is influencing people’s behavior through motivation, communication, group dynamics, leadership and discipline. The purpose of directing is to channel the behavior of all personnel to accomplish the organization’s mission and objectives while simultaneously helping them accomplish their own career objectives.

Controlling is a four-step process of establishing performance standards based on the firm’s objectives, measuring and reporting actual performance, comparing the two, and taking corrective or preventive action as necessary.

Each of these functions involves creative problem solving. Creative problem solving is broader than problem finding, choice making or decision making. It extends from analysis of the environment within which the business is functioning to evaluation of the outcomes from the alternative implemented.


· It helps in Achieving Group Goals – It arranges the factors of production, assembles and organizes the resources, integrates the resources in effective manner to achieve goals. It directs group efforts towards achievement of pre-determined goals. By defining objective of organization clearly there would be no wastage of time, money and effort. Management converts disorganized resources of men, machines, money etc. into useful enterprise. These resources are coordinated, directed and controlled in such a manner that enterprise work towards attainment of goals.

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· Optimum Utilization of Resources – Management utilizes all the physical & human resources productively. This leads to efficacy in management. Management provides maximum utilization of scarce resources by selecting its best possible alternate use in industry from out of various uses. It makes use of experts, professional and these services leads to use of their skills, knowledge, and proper utilization and avoids wastage. If employees and machines are producing its maximum there is no under employment of any resources.

· Reduces Costs – It gets maximum results through minimum input by proper planning and by using minimum input & getting maximum output. Management uses physical, human and financial resources in such a manner which results in best combination. This helps in cost reduction.

· Establishes Sound Organization – No overlapping of efforts (smooth and coordinated functions). To establish sound organizational structure is one of the objective of management which is in tune with objective of organization and for fulfillment of this, it establishes effective authority & responsibility relationship i.e. who is accountable to whom, who can give instructions to whom, who are superiors & who are subordinates. Management fills up various positions with right persons, having right skills, training and qualification. All jobs should be cleared to everyone.

· Establishes Equilibrium – It enables the organization to survive in changing environment. It keeps in touch with the changing environment. With the change is external environment, the initial co-ordination of organization must be changed. So it adapts organization to changing demand of market / changing needs of societies. It is responsible for growth and survival of organization.

· Essentials for Prosperity of Society – Efficient management leads to better economical production which helps in turn to increase the welfare of people. Good management makes a difficult task easier by avoiding wastage of scarce resource. It improves standard of living. It increases the profit which is beneficial to business and society will get maximum output at minimum cost by creating employment opportunities which generate income in hands. Organization comes with new products and researches beneficial for society.

Management Skills

There are three basic management skills: technical, human and conceptual.

A technical skill is the ability to use tools, techniques, and specialized knowledge to carry out a method, process, or procedure. Much of the technology that farmers know and can use so well comes under this management skill.

Human skills are used to build positive interpersonal relationships, solve human relations problems, build acceptance of one’s co-workers, and relate to them in a way that their behavior is consistent with the needs of the organization.

Conceptual skills involve the ability to see the organization as a whole and to solve problems in a way that benefits the entire organization. (Higgins, page 15) Analytical, creative and intuitive talents make up the manager’s conceptual skills.

Introductory Management programs (Managing for Success) pay little attention to technical skills. Most managers in attendance have developed these skills far beyond their human and conceptual skills. In some advanced Management programs, e.g., animal nutrition and financial management, the emphasis is on integration of technical, human and conceptual skills rather than on a more traditional technical approach.

The relative importance of conceptual, human and technical skills changes as a person progresses from lower, to middle, to top management. Although all three management skills are important at all three levels of management, conceptual skills become relatively more important at the top level of management. The consistently high level of importance of human skills helps us understand why people problems are so often cited as a core cause of business failure.

Differences between Leadership and Management skills

The following matrix offers a good grouping of characteristics to think about for project managers:

Leadership Skills

Management Skills

More concerned with vision

More concerned with implementation than the vision

Oriented toward driving change and anticipating environmental changes

Oriented toward adapting to change, not taking the initiative

Concerned with dynamics of a situation, which provides hints on how to leverage or shape; concerned with setting or changing the culture

Concerned more with technique; sometimes preoccupied with maintaining order and the status quo, but otherwise with adapting to the culture

Concerned with empowering

Concerned with BEING empowered

Actions demonstrate skill, but are strongly character based

Actions tend to be more strongly skill-based

More concerned with positive possibilities

More concerned with negative consequences

Concerned with building and/or reshaping the organization; willing to use skills of persuasion to advance vision and ideas of possibilities – regardless of position

Concerned with filling out the prescribed organization; adopt behavior and attitudes according to level or position; tend to be more protective of position, information, and knowledge; may feel that a situation is out of their control or influence

Understand their strengths and weaknesses, and are willing to learn from their mistakes and grow; able and interested in helping others do the same

Tend to avoid risks for self protection, and hence growth is more limited; might understand strengths and weaknesses, but unaware of how to manage them to achieve goals

See relationships as opportunities for growth; personal goals in alignment with organizational goals; recognize that interdependence is the best way to achievement

See a more limited web of relationships in terms of immediately adjacent areas; tend to focus mostly on goals set by others, and work more independently within organizational limitations

Build systems to support goals, empower others, and provide direction; promote sharing and collaboration; concerned with removal of performance barriers; and continued growth of team members

Concerned with segmenting areas of responsibility; become indispensable and part of the system; overly concerned with what team members do and how they do it.

Leadership without management

…sets a direction or vision that others follow, without considering too much how the new direction is going to be achieved. Other people then have to work hard in the trail that is left behind, picking up the pieces and making it work. Eg: in Lord of the Rings, at the council of Elrond, Frodo Baggins rescues the council from conflict by taking responsibility for the quest of destroying the ring – but most of the management of the group comes from others.

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Management without leadership

…controls resources to maintain the status quo or ensure things happen according to already-established plans. Eg: a referee manages a sports game, but does not usually provide “leadership” because there is no new change, no new direction – the referee is controlling resources to ensure that the laws of the game are followed and status quo is maintained.

Leadership combined with management

…does both – it both sets a new direction and manages the resources to achieve it. Eg: a newly elected president or prime minister.

What is the difference between management and leadership? It is a question that has been asked more than once and also answered in different ways. The biggest difference between managers and leaders is the way they motivate the people who work or follow them, and this sets the tone for most other aspects of what they do.

Differences between a Leader and a Manager

The following shows the difference between a manager and a Leader once faced with different subjects.








Leading people

Managing work











Sets direction

Plans detail





Personal charisma

Formal authority

Appeal to



















Excitement for work

Money for work

















New roads

Existing roads





What is right

Being right








Leadership is about setting new direction for a group while Management is about directing and controlling according to established principles.

The term leader and manager are interchangeable in this context because we can’t separate leadership and management. Generally, the four models lets leaders choose what action plan to take when dealing with any situation that faces the company. A good leader should try to use a combined form of the models since situations differ. However, there are factors that determine what style can be used, for example, how much time is available and whether relationships are based on trust, respect or otherwise (Hersey 1984). If information is available both from the management and the employees, participative style has to be employed so that better and more informed decisions are reached. The extents to which employees are trained could be a determinant as to how they should be dealt with. A worker on training needs to be treated in an authoritative manner so that they can learn. Incase of internal conflicts, it is good for the managers to exercise some authority so that there can be a clear course of action.

External challenges can be counteracted through employment of marketing strategies that aims at putting the company at a competitive edge and enable growth even in times of strains (Ivancevich et al 2007). Positive leaders treat employees with rewards, such as education to motivate them instead of using penalties such as firing employees, warnings or even days off. Bosses work through the negatives while leaders work through the positives.


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