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Leadership and Management Theory Defined
by LtCol Mark V. Eberhard, USMCR


"The wicked leader is he who people despise. The good leader is he who people revere. The great leader is he who the people say we did it ourselves."
- Lao Tsu

Often opinionated Marines within the Corps debate the practice of Leadership versus Management. Perhaps the proper philosophy for Marines and other military organizations should be the practice of leadership and management. The two concepts are often confused, but they are not the same. Managers bring order and consistency in drawing up formal plans, forming structures and monitoring results; authority of position gains compliance. Leaders establish direction by developing a vision and inspiring people to follow. Marines, other service members, and the civilian work force should understand the historical concepts and theories behind leadership and management. Taking a close-minded view and practice of one institutional leadership philosophy will assuredly limit organizational success.

This is no doubt that the Marine Corps has and continues to screen and instill basic however very necessary leadership traits into recruits, candidates, as well as seasoned Marines. It is also very obvious internal and external to the Marine Corps that these basic traits are the basis of the very fiber that differentiates Marines from all other people. Nevertheless if you listen closely to such professional conversations within the Marine Corps, you will often notice that Marines will speak of leadership as one of the actual Marine Corps Leadership Traits (Dependability, Bearing, Courage, Decisiveness, Endurance, Enthusiasm, Initiative, Integrity, Judgment, Justice, Knowledge, Tact, Unselfishness, and Loyalty). Leadership is not a trait but a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal. Leadership style, an even more abstract area of this topic, is often the misinterpreted focus with the subject or practice of leadership. Traditionally, the term management refers to the activities involved in the general functions of planning, organizing, budgeting, leading, and the coordination of resources. Note that these functions recur throughout a unit or organization and are highly integrated.

The Idiosyncrasies of a Leader and a Manager

1. Formulates long-term objectives to reform system: plans strategy and tactics Engages in day-to-day caretaker work: maintains and allocates resources
2. Exhibits leading behavior: acts to create change in others that is consistent with long-term objectives Exhibits supervisory behavior: makes others maintain standard job behavior
3. Innovates for entire organization Administers tasks within organizations
4. Asks what and why to change standard practice Asks how and when to engage in standard practice
5. Creates vision and meaning for organization Acts within established culture of organization
6. Uses transactional influences: induces change in values, attitudes, and behavior using personal examples and expertise Uses transactional influences: uses rewards, sanctions and formal authority to get compliance
7. Uses empowering strategies to make subordinates internalize values Relies on control strategies to get things done by subordinates
8. Status quo challenger and change creator Status quo supporter and stabilizer

Leadership is a process that occurs within the context of a group. In a group, a leader can be assigned or a leader can emerge. An assigned leader is one that is given a formal title or position. Conversely, an emergent leader is one that has received support from others in the group and has been elevated by the group to a leadership position. In either case, a leader influences the group toward the attainment of some goal. Leadership involves people in power roles and in leadership roles. Power is the capacity to influence other people, despite efforts on their part to resist the influence. This power can take the form of either authority or other outside pressure. A person with power, a leader, can help the group attain goals even when the group tries to resist the influence of the leader. A leader is, in many ways, immune to resistance.

There are two types of power that correspond to the types of leaders discussed above. Position power, such as that of an assigned leader, is derived from having an office in a formal organizational system. Personal power, which corresponds to emergent leadership, comes from the followers because the followers believe that the leader has something of value.

Path-Goal Theory of Leadership & Behavior

Description: Path-goal theory is based on the tenets of expectancy theory which suggests that subordinates will be motivated if they think they are capable of performing their work, if they believe their efforts will result in a certain outcomes, and if they believe that the payoffs for doing their work are worthwhile. Leaders help subordinates define their goals and clarify their work. They remove obstacles and provide support. Leaders need to select a style of leadership which is best suited to their subordinates.

Leader Behaviors are generally categorized as Directive Leadership, Supportive Leadership, Participative Leadership, and Achievement-oriented Leadership. Subordinate Characteristics have an affiliation or desire for structure, desire for control, and task ability. Task Ability is related to task design, the authority system, and the primary work group involved.

How does this approach work? It is theoretical and pragmatic. The leader's job is to help subordinates reach their goals by directing, guiding, and coaching them along the way. Based on the task and subordinates' characteristics, it suggests which style is most appropriate for leaders.

Strengths: It links leadership style with task and subordinate characteristics grounded in the principles of expectancy theory. Path-goal theory is very practical.

Criticisms: So broad and complex, path-goal is difficult to fully utilize. Research findings to date give only limited support fails to explain adequately the link between leadership styles and motivation. It suggests a one-way impact from leader to follower which could promote dependency.

Fiedler's Contingency Theory of Leadership & Trait Approach

Description: Fiedler's Contingency Theory of Leadership is based upon close analysis of thousands of leaders within the military history. Through studying which leaders were effective, Fiedler created a model which matches styles to situations. Fiedler noted that effective leadership depends on a match between the leader's style and the demands of the situation.

Contingency Model Leadership styles are based on scores from the Least Preferred Co-worker (LPC) scale. Low LPCs are task-oriented and are concerned primarily with reaching a goal. High LPCs are relationship-oriented and get their primary needs satisfied by first establishing good interpersonal relationships and then attending to tasks. Situation variables include three factors. Leader-member Relations is a good atmosphere where subordinates feel trust. Task Structure is determined when the requirements are clear, there are few alternatives, completion is measurable, and there is a limited number of correct ways to do it. Position power is defined as the leader having power when he/she can hire and fire, and reward and punish subordinates.

How does this approach work? The theory posits that certain styles will be effective in certain situations. Low LPCs will be effective in extremes (very favorable and very unfavorable situations) and highs will be effective in moderate situations.

Strengths: It is supported by a great deal of empirical research. This theory stresses the link between style of leader and situation. It has predictive power which does not require that individuals be effective in all situations. This theory also provides useful data for developing leadership profiles.

Criticisms: The "black box" problem is evident and shows that the LPC scale has validity and workability problems. This theory is cumbersome for ongoing organizations as it fails to explain how to effectively resolve mismatched situations.

The Trait Approach or the "Great Man" theory says that the best leaders have particular qualities that make them inherently more fit to lead then other people. For example, according to the "Great Man" theory, men like Julius Caesar or Napoleon would have been influential figures anywhere at any point in history. This view is commonly espoused in biographies, news reporting, and history books. In its most extreme form, the "Great Man" theory says that leaders are born, not made.

As interest one of the oldest leadership theories, researchers have focused their attention on the leader's actions rather than their attributes, which led to the emergence of the behaviorist theories. The most widely publicized exponent of this approach was Robert Blake and Jane Mouton's Managerial Grid, which attempted to explain that there was one best style of leadership. This philosophy states various combinations of two factors regarding a concern for mission accomplishment/production and people. There are many characteristics of leadership, such as possession of certain personality traits and motives, self-confidence and confidence in one's own abilities and skills, integrity, being honest and trustworthy. This last characteristic is perhaps the most important. Leaders inspire confidence because they can be trusted. Other characteristics include a person's sociability, that is, a leader's inclination to seek out pleasant social relationships. Leaders have good interpersonal skills and are cooperative.

Power & Leadership

There are several factors that can motivate leadership. The first of these is the power motive. A person who is motivated by power has a strong need to control resources. People who are motivated by power have three distinct characteristics. The first is that they act with vigor and determination to exert their power. They invest time into thinking about ways to alter the behaviors and cognitions of others. Finally, they care about their personal standing with those around them. There are two types of power leadership. The first is the personalized power motive. In this instance, the leaders seek power to further their own interests. People who are motivated by power can use their leadership position for the sake of others. The socialized power motive is when the leaders use power primarily to achieve organizational goals or a vision. Power is used to help others.

For these leaders, there are several motivations. These people are motivated by drive and achievement. They put forth high energy and persistence into achieving goals and they find joy in accomplishments. They have the desire to achieve success through their own efforts and take responsibility for their actions. They are willing to take moderate risks, receive feedback from people above and below themselves, introduce novel solutions, set goals and plan how those goals will be achieved. They are also motivated by a strong work ethic, that is, they believe in the dignity and value of hard work. They are tenacious and therefore better at overcoming obstacles because of their tenacity. These leaders have strong intellectual ability and knowledge of the business or group task. It is important for the leader to provide expertise in the field that will be a source of competitive advantage. A leader must be creative in finding original and imaginative solutions to complex problems. Insight into people and situations is yet another characteristic of effective leaders. Leaders must have a depth of understanding that requires both intuition and common sense. Interrelated, leaders must be capable of thinking into the future, be far-sighted, and possess conceptual thinking abilities. They must see situations from broad perspectives. Finally, a leader must be opened to new experiences and be willing to learn new things.

Emotional Intelligence Apparent in Leaders

Emotional Intelligence (EI or EQ) vice Intelligence Quotient (IQ) is also important for a leader. The emotional intelligence of a person is a more referent and reliable indicator of success in leadership than cognitive intelligence of a person is. Emotional intelligence (EQ) is a measurement of self-awareness, self-motivation, self-management, empathy and social skills. EQ is positively correlated to job performance at all levels. It is important, when assessing the EQ of a specific leader, to take into account cross-cultural dimensions and the dimensions of a national culture. The field of ethics has an awakening interest in leadership. A transformational leader fosters moral virtue and charisma has an ethical element. The effectiveness of a leader is not defined solely in terms of the achievement of goals, the means by which the goal was achieved and the moral content of the goal need to also be assessed.

Management Theory History Industrial Revolution (Prior to 1875)

The Industrial revolution saw a switch from small to large, agrarian to industrial. Prior to this time, there were no methods or standards for measuring work. Neither psychological nor physical aspects, like boredom, monotony, or fatigue had been studies. In the period from 1875-1900, all that began to change. The formations of corporate giants like John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, and Cornelius Vanderbilt, the "Captains of Industry," required that there be new methods of management. Businesses could no longer be run out of the home or on an informal basis.

Classical Management Theory (1895-1920)

During this time frame, the most popular theory was that there was one best way to manage a group of people. This idea is known as the "Scientific Management Theory." This theory was dictated by a set of universal bureaucratic and scientific management principles to be applied in all situations. In 1886, Henry Towne wrote an American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) paper titled, "The Engineer as Economist." This paper stressed that engineers should be concerned with financial and profit orientation as well as their traditional technical responsibilities. Shortly thereafter, in the period between 1895-1911, Frederick W. Taylor, in his article, "Principles of Scientific Management" scientifically defined a full and fair day's standard.

The 1920's through the early 1930's saw the founding of professional management societies. Management was, at this time, recognized as a respectable discipline. Universities and colleges began to acknowledge the subject of management and began offering classes in the field. Before this time, ASME presented most management studies. In 1923, the American Management Association perceived societal definitions of leaders and managers.

Societal Views on Leaders and Managers

Leaders tend to be active since they envision and promote their ideas instead of reacting to current situations. Leaders shape ideas instead of responding to them. They have a personal orientation toward goals and provide a vision that alters the way people think about what is desirable, possible, and necessary. Managers adopt impersonal, almost passive, attitudes toward goals. Managers also decide upon goals based on necessity instead of desire and are therefore deeply tied to their organization's culture. Finally they tend to be reactive since they focus on current information.

A Facet of Management. Leadership is just one of the many assets a successful manager must possess. Care must be taken in distinguishing between the two concepts. The main aim of a manager is to maximize the output of the organization through administrative implementation. To achieve this, managers must undertake the following functions: organization, planning, staffing, directing, and controlling. Leadership is just one important component of the directing function. A manager cannot just be a leader; he also needs formal authority to be effective. "For any quality initiative to take hold, senior management must be involved and act as a role model. This involvement cannot be delegated." [1]

Leadership Not Always Essential. In some circumstances, leadership is not required. For example, self motivated groups may not require a single leader and may find leaders dominating. The fact that a leader is not always required proves that leadership is just an asset and is not essential. Differences in perspectives, managers think incrementally, whilst leaders think radically. "Managers do things right, while leaders do the right thing." [2] This means that managers do things by the book and follow company policy, while leaders follow their own intuition, which may in turn be of more benefit to the company. A leader is more emotional than a manager. "Men are governed by their emotions rather than their intelligence". [3] This quotation illustrates why teams choose to follow leaders.

Standing Out. "Leaders stand out by being different. They question assumption and are suspicious of tradition. They seek out the truth and make decisions based on fact, not prejudice. They have a preference for innovation." [4]

Subordinate as a Leader. Often with small groups, it is not the manager who emerges as the leader. In many cases it is a subordinate member with specific talents who leads the group in a certain direction. "Leaders must let vision, strategies, goals, and values be the guide-post for action and behavior rather than attempting to control others." [5]

Emergent Leadership. When a natural leader emerges in a group containing a manager, conflict may arise if they have different views. When a manager sees the group looking towards someone else for leadership he may feel his authority is being questioned.

There are obvious similarities between Marine Corps leadership philosophies and styles and societal views. Although this can be noted, military leadership and external organizational leadership have significant differences based on their missions. Emerging trends in management include assertions that leading is different than managing, and that the nature of how these functions are carried out must change to accommodate a "new paradigm" in today's military and work environment.


Some people have the capacity to become excellent managers, but not strong leaders. Others have great leadership potential, but for a number of reasons have great difficulty becoming strong managers. Both leading and managing are desired aspects in unit and group situations. For example in daily unit and command operations, both should be present, in order for the organization to become an efficient and effective body. In summary leadership is dissimilar from management, but not for the reason most people think. Leadership is not supernatural and indecipherable. It is not synonymous with possessing charisma or other exotic personality traits. It is not the attribute of a chosen few. Nor is leadership necessarily better than management or a replacement for it. More accurately, leadership and management are two discernible and complementary activities. Both are necessary for success in increasingly complex and challenging military and business environments.


[1] Daniel. F. Predpall, ''Developing Quality Improvement Processes In Consulting Engineering Firms'', Journal of Management in Engineering, pp 30-31, May-June 1994

[2] Richard Pascale, ''Managing on the Edge'', Penguin Book, pp 65, 1990

[3] John Fenton, ''101 Ways to Boost Your Business Performance'', Mandarin Business, pp 113, 1990

[4] John Fenton, ''101 Ways to Boost Your Business Performance'', Mandarin Business, pp 113, 1990

[5] Daniel. F. Predpall, ''Developing Quality Improvement Processes In Consulting Engineering Firms'', Journal of Management in Engineering, pp 30-31, May-June 1994

[6] John Fenton, ''101 Ways to Boost Your Business Performance'', Mandarin Business, pp 114, 1990

[7] John Fenton, ''101 Ways to Boost Your Business Performance'', Mandarin Business, pp 113, 1990


The Author


LtCol Carl Eberhard is a CH-53D pilot serving as the Air Officer and Planner with 4th FSSG in New Orleans, LA. He has served in squadron, air-naval-gunfire, and reconnaissance billets as well as multiple USMC and Joint staffs. LtCol Eberhard has Associates, Bachelors, and Masters Degrees in Business Administration.

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