Most Effective Leadership style to Managing the work of sub-ordinates


Management is the organizational process that includes strategic planning, setting; objectives, managing resources, deploying the human and financial assets needed to achieve objectives and measuring results” (, 2014)

Leadership is a process of social influence which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal” (Kruse, 2013)

From the definitions above, it can be deduced that management and leadership have to co-exist, but are different in each right. A manager’s job is to plan, manage and co-ordinate while a leader’s job is to inspire his team and motivate them. (The Wall Street Journal, 2014). In terms of personality, leaders tend to have a high level of imagination while managers are usually rational, unlike leaders who take risks, managers would rather be under control and be certain of the outcome from situations, they are averse to risk. Managers see outcomes as results, whereas leaders look at it as achievements.

Leaders take on problems by proffering creative solutions, they motivate people to excel at problem solving, and leaders have followers whilst managers have sub-ordinates. Managers take on problems by creating strategic methods to ensure that the problem is solved; as this is a more specific approach, which they believe, helps reduce risk. (, 2014)

Below is a diagram showing some more differences between Leaders and Managers (Bosses)






The Chartered Management Institute have stated that the best approach to managing the work of sub-ordinates may vary according to circumstances and individual characteristics (CMI,2013). I would agree with this because there are different styles of management and leadership that are tailored to every individual. As we have learned from the blog post on diversity, every person is different and unique in their own way, so how a leader or manager would handle works of their followers or sub-ordinates would certainly differ. To further explain this, let us look into some theories on leadership and management styles.

Though there are so many theories on leadership and management styles, they have all been born from four major theory groups, namely:

  • Trait Theories
  • Behavioral Theories
  • Contingency Theories
  • Power and Influence Theories


Trait Theories

The Trait theories are of the notion that great leaders share a number of common traits. Traits such as assertiveness, integrity, decision-making etc. possessing all these traits does not necessarily mean instance success as a leader. (, 2014)

Behavioral Theories

This is to do with the behavior of leaders. A popular framework by Kurt Lewin says there are three kinds of leaders:

  1. Autocratic Leaders (they make decisions without consulting team members)
  2. Democratic Leaders (they consult team members and appreciate input before decision making)
  3. Laissez-Faire Leaders (they allow team members make many decisions)

Contingency Theories

This theory is based on leadership styles being dependent on a situation/circumstance. Some of these contingency theories are Path Goal theory, Hersey-Blanchard Situational Leadership theory. (, 2014)

Power and Influence Theories

This theory is based on various ways leaders get work done through the influence and power they wield. Examples are French and Raven’s five forms of Power, which are Coercive, Reward, Legitimate, Expert and Referent Power.


Below is a video explaining what makes a good leader





A theorist named Rensis Likert carried out research at the University of Michigan and came up with four styles of management:

  1. Exploitative/Authoritative: Here, manager does not have confidence in his sub-ordinates, to ensure that work gets done; he tends to instill fear in them, which works as motivation. (CMI, 2013)
  2. Benevolent/Authoritative: Here, the manager has some level of trust in his sub-ordinates yet treats them disdainfully. (CMI, 2013)
  3. Consultative: Here, the manager trusts his sub-ordinates, not completely, listens to suggestions, but makes the decisions solely. (CMI, 2013)
  4. Participative: The manager trusts his sub-ordinates totally, listens to their ideas and implements them; also they are included in setting objectives. (CMI, 2013)

In agreement to the Chartered Management Institute, there is not one specific leading style that is the best but to be an effective leader I would suggest that the contingency theory which is leadership based on a situation/circumstance be applied.


List of References

CMI (Chartered Management Institute), (2013). Management Articles of the Year. First. London: Charted Management Institute., (2014) Leadership Vs Management – Difference and Comparison [Online] Available at: [Accessed 15 June 2014]

The Wall Street Journal, (2014) What is the Difference Between Management and Leadership? – Management [Online] Available at: [Accessed 17 June 2014]

Kruse, K. (2013) What is Leadership? [Online] Available at: [Accessed 17 June 2014] (2014) Core Leadership Theories: Learning the Foundations of Leadership. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 17 June 2014] (2014). Management: Career: UNCW [Online] Available at: [Accessed 17 June 2014]

YouTube, (2014). What is Leadership? Learn What Makes a Good Leader. [Online] Available at:  [Accessed 17 Jun.2014]




23 thoughts on “Most Effective Leadership style to Managing the work of sub-ordinates”

  1. I think the difference is clear. Never actually quite thought about the difference before but it definitely has affected my manner of thinking. Going forward I definitely want to be a leader. Good write up.

  2. well i know what i am now, cause at work , i just keep saying we, lets, please can you or can we…. i share or take the blame and just give out the credits and so does my boss. its unconscious though . but in all i think its better to be a leader , because that way the subordinates stay motivated and a willing to give there all to the growth of the organisation and feel free to share what ever ideas they have.

  3. I find the topic ‘leadership’ interesting. A leader may not necessarily be a manager and a manager may not necessarily be a leader but leadership is part and parcel of management..the existence of followership makes leadership meaningful.

  4. In terms of role continuity,a manager can continue his role as long as the organization still wants his services. But for a leader,once the followers are against him,he seizes to be a leader.In addition to the approaches of leadership,the trait approach assumes that leaders are born and not made while the behavioral approach believes that leaders are made and not born.

    1. This is why leaders should be “people-friendly” because having followers who are against you will negate almost all of what the leader stands for. There is no point in calling yourself a leader when you can’t have a united force. Thank you for your contribution, Renique

  5. Good write up….really expantiated on the differences between leadership and a manager and the applicability of these two especially in this part of the world..Another thing is that the situation and circumstances determines either o be a leader or a manager. At times it is often discovered that a manager at times is forced to be a leader and vice versa but the main thing is that how it is applied to a situation is a crucial factor to achieving either personal or organizationalgoals

    1. I agree with you Mukhtar when you say sometimes, a manager has to be a leader as there are definitely cases/circumstances where the opposite role would need to be played to make decisions or just motivate staff. This is very much in line with Situational Leadership. Thank you for your contribution.

  6. I totally agree that the leadership style used should be one based on the current situation or working environment. Most managers fail to understand this and often carry out their duties from a power/authority stance. Thanks for this insightful article on leadership styles.

  7. Definitely gained information from this but I’d have to say at the end of the day, leadership is all about service. A good leader must be willing to serve in order to succeed. Anyone can be a good manager, not everyone can be a good leader. Management is just what it is, management which you require just management skills for. A good leader must have both management and people skills. That’s my take. Good write up

  8. Good write up. Anyone can be a good manager but not everyone can be a good leader. My take, for management all you require is basically management skills but for a good leader, you need both management and people skills. Welldone.

  9. I am going to agree with Deola..she definitely took the words out of my mouth…not everyone was born to lead and now I know the difference between a manager and a leader..

  10. I’m glad that this post has helped and that you’ve gained some knowledge on the differences between a manager and a leader. Thank you for your contribution Abi.

  11. This is a good piece. No Manager can achieve much with “bossing” subordinates; they will only operate in fear and eye-service. However, a lot can be achieved from leading and working with subordinates. An empathic manager is loved, which is better than being feared.

  12. Great piece, key thing I’ve found when dealing with subordinates is to be empathic and honest. Empathy especially helps builds trust, which is a much stronger currency than fear.

  13. Another lovely article! I am currently handling a project at work and it hasn’t been easy because it is male dominated( not a sexist). Although challenging I have found a way to address them to avoid conflict which I think is working. It is important that individuals feel like they are involved in the project and also setting time out to listen to what they think about you and how you can change. You can please everyone but there is a level that everyone can agree on. So far the project has been going well with positive feedbacks.

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