Leadership and Management Behaviors
ORG300 – Applying Leadership Principles
Colorado State University – Global
Everyone has had the opportunity to work for individuals that have been more effective as a leader than others. As such, I have had the opportunity to work for one such individual that had possessed exceptional leadership skills. I have also had the opportunity of working for another who, despite their lack of leadership, was a rather decent manager. Management and leadership are terms that are frequently used interchangeably, however, they are not the same thing – they have quite distinct meanings (Bârgau, 2015). While the two do share similarities, they have very important differences. Much like Bârgau’s statement, the two individuals that I have worked for were both similar, yet different. Both were effective in their own ways, and each has their own strengths and weaknesses. Each shared similarities but had clear differences in the way they managed their subordinates. One of my bosses, Mr. Santisteven, practiced micromanaging all of the staff and delegating duties. My other boss, Mr. Neff, believes that we are all capable of greatness and encourages us to test our abilities. Both Mr. Santisteven and Mr. Neff were/are effective in their own ways, and each met their goals through their leadership and management styles.
Leaders tend to instill a sense of significance in the workforce by giving employees the power of their vision and values (Kibort, 2004). Kibort’s definition of leadership describes Mr. Neff’s approach in the way he leads us. Mr. Neff is the supervisor for the Case Management Department; he supervises 12 Case Manager I’s, 1 Case Manager II, and myself, although on paper he is technically not my boss. Every day he inspires everyone to improve themselves and their skills in case management. He encourages people to take more training classes, follow their desires and work together. All of the staff, including myself, respond well to Mr. Neff, and it translates well into the workplace. He has been able to taylor his leadership style to effectively fit the learning style of his subordinates, which makes things more comfortable and reduces stress. Additionally, Mr. Neff takes interest in what our career goals are and looks into different ways that can help us move on to positions that are more aligned with those goals.
The definition of management, according to Bârgau, is exercising executive, administrative, and supervisory direction of a group or organization. Management, in general, is a process that is used to achieve organizational goals (Bârgau, 2015). When I worked at the United States Post Office, I worked under Mr. Santisteven, who would manage us in our day to day tasks serving as an assistant Postmaster. His work was primarily administrative, but he would often be out on the floor micromanaging as we sorted mail. He was very by the book and made a point of holding us to the rules and regulations. He was not very lenient when it came to our schedules, did not approve of us working overtime and would often sit at his desk glaring almost. This kind of made work uncomfortable. Our main tasks were sorting packages into route bins which we started at 3am. There were 6 of us there every morning to do this and Mr. Santisteven would not arrive until 5am. In those 2 hours we would often play music and talk loudly, telling jokes and laughing because we knew that we worked faster when we were all in a lighter mood. When Mr. Santisteven would arrive, the music would be turned down or turned off and we would each become rather silent. While this was kind of a bummer, it was important for us to tone it down as the mail carriers were also arriving and that meant we needed to be more safety minded. This wasn’t a problem for us, and even with his authoritative manner we always tried our best to make sure we kept our times and to get the carriers out as soon as possible.
The way that both of my supervisors are similar is that they both wanted results, as bosses should, they just went about getting them in different ways. While I do enjoy the leadership style of Mr. Neff more than that of Mr. Santisteven, there are times that he can also be a bit of a micromanager. I find it to be a bit surprising considering how he takes time to understand our learning styles in order to help us improve on our own work. It is almost like he doesn’t trust us. If I were to suggest any changes or improvements, it would be that he should trust us to be able to complete our daily tasks; he is the one who taught us afterall.
With regard to Mr. Santisteven, I would say there is a lot of room for him to improve. He would usually come off very cold, and I can’t recall a time he smiled. I think if he changed his demeanor a bit and not come off as a cold person he might have a better reaction from his subordinates. Additionally, I think that if he used more leadership skills to include into his management style, I think he could be more effective and taken more seriously as a postmaster.
Mr. Neff’s leadership style is one that I truly appreciate. I have never felt so comfortable or more confident in my abilities. I think it is so incredible how he takes time out of his incredibly busy day to meet with any of his staff who need his assistance. He is truly inspiring as a leader and hope that I will be able to emulate those skills as I progress through my career.
One way that I think that I can implement some of his skills, is by sitting with the case managers and getting to know them better. I have only been in this department for about 7 months and while I do assist them with day to day tasks, I don’t truly know what all they do. I think that by making that personal connection I’ll be able to better understand the potential of each case manager and also incorporate tasks into my routine that assist them further.
Bârgau, M. (2015). LEADERSHIP VERSUS MANAGEMENT. Romanian Economic and Business Review, 10(2), 197-204. Retrieved from https://csuglobal.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.csuglobal.idm.oclc.org/docview/1700066847?accountid=38569
Kibort, P. (2004). Management vs. leadership. Physician Executive, 30(6), 32-35.