Effective Leadership & Management Styles & Approaches

Leadership vs. Management

Leadership and management do not differ from one another as both involved in engagement with their subordinates on what they need to be done as the power of authority lies in their hand.  Besides that, leadership and management are needed to align people and resources so that the competencies can be used effectively to achieve strategic alignment of an organisation.

In work environment, leadership and management are often interrelated and used interchangeably. However, leadership and management do possess differences intrinsically. Table 1 shows the differences that distinguish between leadership and management.

Leadership (Kotter 1990)

Management (Fayol 1916)

Sets a direction Plans and budgets
Aligns people Organises and staffs
Motivates and inspires Controls and solve problems
Mastery of the context Control of the environment

Table 1: Key aspect of differences between leadership and management.

Effective Approach to Managing the Work of Subordinates

It is important to leader to possess an effective way to lead subordinates in achieving goals of an organisation.  Nahavandi (2002) has proven that different leadership styles may affect organisational effectiveness or performance. I personally agree that transformational leadership is the best approach to manage work of subordinates. Figure 1 shows the four basic components that underlie transformational leadership.



Benefits of Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership encourages broadening and elevating the ideas of subordinates for the sake of the organisation or team besides concerning individualised consideration for subordinates (Bass 1985). This will heightened capacity and commitment of subordinates to produce greater productivity to the group thus enhance business competitiveness (Barbuto 2005).

Limitations of Transformational Leadership

Abuse of power emerged such as escalating demands from leaders might causing subordinates having stress-related problems in workplace (Hall et al 2002). Therefore, leaders must create a work-life balance with subordinates to solve this issue. Besides that, Bass (1997) asserted that transformational leadership do not foster moral rectitude as subordinates are exploited for ideas regardless positive morale value. Thus, in his further research, Bass (1998) suggested that an authentic transformational leadership must obligate the values of fairness, loyalty and human rights.

A research done by CMI (2013) found out that ‘there is no single ideal, as the best approach may vary according to circumstances and individual characteristics’. This statement is agreeable mainly because leadership style can be varied by situation, depending on the needs of the team. Best leaders do not adopt just a style of leadership; they have the flexibility to switch between styles as the circumstances dictate. Studies found out that flexible and adaptive leadership is essential to enhance organisational performance (Yukl and Mahsud 2010). This is important because organisation need to encounter challenges of diverse workforce, increasing globalisation and rapid technological change.

Examples of Good Leadership Skills have on Subordinates

One of the examples is Tan Sri Tony Fernandes (Figure 2), Director of AirAsia Bhd. Tony known for his credibility in turning AirAsia to one of the well known airline brands in the world. He practices good organisational culture as there is no bureaucracy involved in his office because he believed that too much bureaucracy could impede the growth of the business. His is easily approachable and accessible to his staff and stressed the importance of working as a team to archive organisational goal (Schien 2004). Under his wings, employees are treated as family and management will reward to those contributing ideas to the organisation. By practising good leadership in organisation, he gained trust and respect among his dedicated employees (Tracey and Hinkin 1994).


Figure 2: Tony and his employees received Skytrax World’s Airline Awards held at the Paris Air Show in Le Bourget (Source: AirAsia 2017)

Examples of Bad Leadership Skills have on Subordinates

Enron’s top management set as a bad example of leadership when most of the top executives were tried for fraud in November 2001 and caused 4,000 job losses (Fox News 2001). The moment Enron filed for bankruptcy, employees were instructed to leave the building on the same day (Figure 3). Top management lack of integrity, insatiable spirit of success and arrogance that leads to failure (Clegg and Cooper 2009). Executives only concerning on their self interests but not for the interests of others as many of them made decisions to achieve their goal of maximizing profits. Enron’s stock was collapsed to worthless compared to $83 in early 2001 and subsequently resulted 62% of 15,000 employees were sufferings from losses as their saving plan which relied on Enron’s stock were practically worthless after the scandal (Ayala and Giancarlo 2006). In short, employees and shareholders received limited returns in lawsuits, losing their pensions and stock prices.

Figure 3: Enron’s swift collapse left the prospects of 21,000 employees in doubt and wiped out what was left of the holdings of stock investors

How People would like to be led?

Followers expect to be led by leaders who have commitment and have his/her own set of vision and strategy and capable to bring the team and organisation to reach desire goals. Transformational leadership would be more preferable in the extent to which it creates valuable and positive change in the followers to reach desire goals. In return, leader gain trust and respect from followers.


In conclusion, I would prefer transformational leadership styles as I think this style is more suitable in dynamic workplace environment and enhance motivation between subordinates and leaders and would be more perfect if morality is inculcated into it. As a member of a team, I would like to be led or manage by not just in one leadership styles but more fluid switch to adopt other styles under different circumstances and needs. This is also agreed by CMI that there is no one single style that can fit all situations.

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