The article by Plucknette was interesting to me because this article painted managers in what I would consider a very uninspiring image. Plucknette describes leaders as “visionaries” who are “always looking for ways to improve what they make” and “engage with people” in various motivating interactions. He describes the classic image of a leader as an individual who is highly ambitious, never satisfied with average achievements, and cherishes the value in pushing each individual to recognize their highest potential. However, Plucknette goes on to compare managers by contrast as individuals who ” focus their efforts primarily on controlling costs and obtaining their personal goals,” and who “focus more time on cutting costs as opposed to improving productivity.” Overall, Plucknette seems to think most managers are individuals who struggle to see the purpose in long-term goals, who do not care about vision casting or caring for their teams, and who would prefer to coast along their career path by meeting basic expectations rather than question the corporate path set before them. However, Plucknette clearly seems to believe it is possible to be both a leader and a manager, as he says that those who are “are truly a blessing to work with” (Plucknette, 2014).
I think that most managers fall into the lack luster descriptions laid out by Plucknette because of their lack of true leadership skills. Managers provide clear expectations, guidance, stability, and regulation to a work environment. A visionary leader with a gift for creating goals but no ability to create a stable environment for their team will never reach those goals. I would argue that the best managers are able to create the clear expectations and stable environment that are expected of their role, but are also able to incorporate leadership traits through the way their care for and inspire their team.
When it comes to planning, organizing, leading, and controlling, leaders and managers will both face struggles. Leaders are often gifted visionaries, but can struggle to back their visions up with realistic plans and careful organization necessary to make those dreams a reality. Leaders can also struggle to lead a diverse team well, often overwhelming followers and offering no opportunity for others to step forward and take on a leadership role. Additionally, leaders can struggle to be over-controlling or show a total lack of control for their team, depending on their leadership style. Managers, on the other hand, may not primarily vision-cast, but can fail to plan properly if they become too reliant on other leaders to do so for them. Managers are required to be skilled planners and organized, and a manager who is not gifted in these areas can lead a team to failure. Managers with few leadership skills may find that they struggle to maintain unity for their team or have an unhealthy team culture. Managers who struggle to find balance with control can easily become micro-managers who exhaust both themselves and their team with their need for control.
Plucknette, D. (2014). 4 Differences Between Managers and Leaders. Retrieved from https://lopes.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?
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