Most effective Leadership & Management Styles & approaches

Leadership and management are often considered to be an overlapping concept in practices. While some view them as synonym, but other view them as two different terms. Both imply a unique set of functions that share similarities but at the same time, they show prominent differences in some circumstances. For example, some of the managers do not practice leadership while some people lead without a managerial role (Algahtani, 2014: 71).

Management vs Leadership

Figure 1: The similarities and contrasts between leadership and management (Created by author)

Illustration above shows the functions between leadership and management. Both functions require communication while working with people (Leader with the followers and Manager with the subordinates), demonstrate problem-solving skills when issue arise, making decision for the team by setting goals and rules and giving direction and guidance to achieve common goals (Ratcliffe, 2013).

However, both leadership and management also stand distinctly with different forms, roles and responsibilities. A research done by Jim Collins and his research team pointed that most of the great-performed companies follow a particular module of hierarchy of leadership and management, which is known as “Level 5” (Bohoris & Vorria, N.D.). It clearly differentiates the principles and contributions between leadership and management by levels in an organization.

Level 5.PNGFigure 2: The Level 5 Hierarchy (Collins, N.D.)

Leadership tend to have a “soul” in the sense that it is a concept of creating and gathering resources for the organization. It is known as a collective behavior or ability in influencing relationship, creating vision, building trust and transforming people in a positive and integrity manner. At workplace, leaders are able to show the characteristics such as creative, inspiring, visionary, transformative and people-oriented. On the other hand, management is about to manage the “available” resources within an organization. It is an art or a process in controlling and exercising the resources, structures and systems which are aimed to be functioned efficiently and effectively to achieve goal in short-term. Therefore, managers are usually behave to be more analytical, authoritative, multi-tasking, practical and task-oriented.


Figure 3: The illustration between Leadership and Management (Monnappa, 2017)

The main objective of management is to drive performance and results for the organization. It is driven by how the managers best use of their resources in the manner of cost-effective and economic, high productivity, operational efficiency and minimal waste of resources that fully utilize its capacity under supervision and instructions. Scientific Management is one of the very first and popular management theory suggested by Frederick Taylor (Olum, 2004) that would be a good approach in managing subordinates. This theory emphasis on rationalizing the work and production at a workplace by applying scientific methods to evaluate and measure different processes and tasks in making decision in allocating resources range from skilled-workers to management level. It also promotes of breaking down high complexity task into a number sub-tasks and assigns to high relevant and competent workers to deliver that lead to optimizing the performance.

Car manufacturers like Ford and Toyota are the good example of companies that apply scientific management as strategy in their production. It helps the company to minimize lead-time from preventing delays and enhance the production quality by ensuring all the workers are assigned to their technical and specialized tasks with high concentration. However, there are several studies (Turan, 2015) & (Caldari, 2007) argue that scientific management shows ignorance of worker’s behavioral factors and social equity that lead to limited growth and demotivation. Besides, this management strategy is only effective and applicable to certain sectors such as construction, manufacturing and food and beverage.

The above also justified that the statement from (CMI, 2013) is right that there is no single ideal, as the best approach in managing people. It may vary according to different circumstances and individual characteristics. It is believed that there is no concept as “one-size-fits-all” in management. In the 21st century‘s workplace, the management concept should be practiced in more consultative and humanize ways rather than strong “command and control”. It is recommended that managers should practice a mixed strategy or technique in both management and leadership styles in current working environment.  A research done by (Dierendonck, 2014) suggests that employees are more committed and engaged to their work with the combination of servant and transformational leaderships.

10 Leadership styles

Figure 4: The 10 Leadership Styles (Career2NextOrbit, 2017)

Personally, as a team member, I would like to be led by Democratic and Transformational leadership styles where Carlos Ghosn and Steve Jobs are the good examples as shown in figure 4. At workplace, these type of leaderships practice policy that promotes zero power distance that subordinates will be treated as “friends” and highly participating in decision-making process. Besides, subordinates are encouraged to share ideas and always being challenged and inspired to be more productive in work.

(736 words)


Algahtani A. (2014), Are Leadership and Management Different? A Review. Journal of Management Policies and Practices [online] 2(3), 71-82. Available from <  > [19 February 2018].

Bohoris G. A. & Vorria E. P. (N.D.), Leadership vs Management Business Excellence / Performance Management view [online] Lund University, Campus Helsingborg. Available from < > [20 February 2018].

Caldari K. (2007), Alfred Marshall’s critical analysis of scientific management. Euro. J. History of Economic Thought [online] 14(1), 55-78. available from <; [20 February 2018], (2017), 10 Leadership styles with examples. Available from < > [22 February 2018].

Collins J. (N.D.), Level 5 Leadership: The Triumph of Humility and Fierce Resolve. Available from <> [20 February 2018].

Dierendonck D. V. & Stam D. (2014), Combination of leadership styles means success. Available from < > [22 February 2018].

Monnappa A. (2017), What’s the Difference Between Leadership and Management? [online] available from < > [21 February 2018].

Olum Y. (2004), MODERN MANAGEMENT THEORIES AND PRACTICES [online] Department of Political Science and Public Administration, Makerere University. Available from <> [21 February 2018].

Ratcliffe R. (2013), What’s the difference between leadership and management? Available from <> [20 February 2018].

Turan H. (2015), Taylor’s “Scientific Management Principles”: Contemporary Issues in Personnel Selection Period. Journal of Economics, Business and Management [online] 3(11), 1102-1105. available from <; [20 February 2018]






14 thoughts on “Most effective Leadership & Management Styles & approaches

  1. A creative and strong analysis on leadership and management. I agree zero power distance would greatly enhance team member participation and quality in decision making, however in my opinion high participation would lengthen the decision making process. What do you think as a leader or managers could do to speed up this process especially in scenario where quick decision are required?


    1. Thanks for your comment!
      There is always more than a way to do things, same to managing people. As either a leader or a manager, one should always know the technique to manage his/her people. I think Belbin theory is a very good reference that I would recommend, as it helps in understanding the role of each team member and that could be used as a reference to allocate tasks accordingly. This is how the decision makers and executors get separated to run the progress efficiently. Of course, we should not ignore and always welcome new ideas from every team members regardless of their roles.


    1. Hi Febrinal,
      I would say managing is one of a leader’s functions, but not main function. In my opinion, some people could manage subordinates without leading, their objective is to drive performance by allocating the right resources especially for project-based manager, usually the relationship will no long last until end of the particular project, unless there is a new project which requires them be a team again.
      I believe leadership is born, but not trained. Purely born leaders can lead without a senior position, they have the nature power in influencing others and people are willing to listen to them naturally. The managerial role in leadership is to control team’s ethics and human risks.


  2. I am totally impressed with the zero power distance between leaders or managers and their followers or subordinates. This is commonly practiced in most of the multinational companies, but not local companies especially in Asian countries. What do you think the main barriers for a company to adopt this leadership style?


    1. Hi,
      Participative or democratic leadership would be my preferred leading style.
      I used to lead several teams in doing projects and I always encourage team members to provide recommendations rather than just listen to instructions. I like the concept where people is allowed to share and exchange ideas and deliver the work together with everyone’s contributions, regardless it is good or bad.
      I feel accepting others’ ideas and showing trust is a form of motivation that people will feel they are being valued.


  3. Nice write up. In your opinion, if your manager currently applying management style on his/her manager role in company, How would you advise to him to change his management style into leadership style?


  4. Really a nice blog, with a lot good insights and interesting facts. I like how you showed some of the great exemplary leaders matching certain leadership styles. I also agree that Steve Jobs was great transformational leader who inspired and motivated people around to achieve bigger goals. But don’t you think most successful leaders adapt a situational leadership approach rather than combining a mix of two or more styles at one time, as you may need only one style at a time, meaning by an effective leader is who adapts leadership style based on the situation he is in?


    1. Situational leadership is kind of the common one we see in today’s business world, but it is also depends on the culture, environment or even country that the leaders work in, as some of them need certain level of controls and powers, . For example bureaucratic leadship that we usually see from civil servants or militaries.


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