Leadership vs Management: Their Respective Roles in Engineering Essay

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Leadership versus Management: Their Respective Roles in Engineering "People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader leads, and the boss drives." Theodore Roosevelt Introduction The importance of management versus that of leadership is a widely debated topic within the engineering industry. Despite this the terms are often used interchangeably, with good managers regularly described as leaders. This is not necessarily the case, however. Though they are certainly linked, management and leadership are inherently different. A good manager does not necessarily make a good leader, just as a good leader will not always be a good manager. Much research has been undertaken to discover where their differences lie, but little empirical evidence has been found (Toor 2011). One reason for this could be the lack of a clear-cut definition of leadership. Whereas management is generally considered to involve the planning and organisation, leadership is much more ambiguous. This is not to say that it is not possible for a manager to become a leader. Contrary to popular belief, leaders are not born; they are made (Benator & Thumann, 2003). In this essay I aim to explore the meaning of leadership and to examine the relationship and the relative importance of management and leadership in the engineering industry. Discussion There are many theories as to what a leader is. Of these theories Bennis (1989) believes that leadership is about inspiring and supporting people, while Fenton (1990) believes that a leader questions assumptions, is suspicious of traditions and has a preference for innovation. According to Naoum (2005) leadership has also been defined in terms of group processes, personality, power and goal achievement. Though the theories are numerous, those mentioned above cover the assumptions of most. The similarities, therefore, among the

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