When it comes to establishing authority, which is more effective in the game of management vs leadership? In this article we explain how managers and leaders alike attempt to let people know who’s boss.
Establishing authority in the work place is the first thing that any decent manager should do. Authority and responsibility go hand in hand so if you are fully responsible for the day-to-day running of a business then you should also have full authority. This, however, is not always the case.
Managers lead by prescription. This means that they are handed the responsibility (and therefore authority) to manage a business using prescribed methods. The prescribed methods at the disposal of the manager are essentially disciplinary ones. Various procedures exist with the sole intention of modifying the behaviour of individuals within an enterprise and if an individual consistently refuses to modify his or her behaviour when asked by a company representative, then this individual will be asked to leave the business. Although the company will then cease to have any prescribed authority over the individual, the individual will cease to have any say over what goes on in the company and will also lose the monthly compensation package they receive for their time spent there (otherwise known as wages).
Non-prescribed leadership lacks the prescriptive measures that companies possess. An analysis of leaders would show that one of the key ingredients leaders have in establishing authority is social pressure. For non-prescribed leadership to work, all members of the group have to have total faith in the decision making ability of the leader. If a member of the group disagrees with a decision a leader has made and makes a public objection he or she is essentially challenging the leadership of the group.
It is then left to the remaining members of the group to enforce the leader’s wishes or to back the member who lodged the objection. If they choose to back the member who lodged the objection then the leadership will have changed and the new leader will then have the authority. If they don’t back the member who made the objection then the member will be forced to withdraw the objection or leave the group.
In all forms of leadership, establishing authority is only really possible if the threat of expulsion from a group is real. In this regards leadership has the advantage over management as the social pressures brought to bear are often-times swift and decisive. Management can be more difficult in that the processes necessary to expel someone take longer and are subject to scrutiny by outside authorities such as tribunals and courts. So, which do you prefer when it comes to management vs leadership?
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