Analysis Of Abraham Zaleznik's Article 'Managers And Leaders: Are They Different'

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Abraham Zaleznik in his article, “Managers and Leaders: Are They Different?” (1977) puts forth a claim that in every aspect of personality and reaction to certain events, managers and leaders are fundamentally different from each other. In this paper, I shall summarize Zaleznik’s argument and subsequently his reasons and evidences to make such a claim. To build on his main claim, Zaleznik at first creates a fine line between managers and leaders based on their personalities. He states that a manager operates in the realms of rationality; his reasons being the structured, ordered environment managers exercise their power in: the business organization. In contrast, a leader, as Zaleznik implies, is somewhat erratic and invites disorder, the…show more content…
Zaleznik summarizes that managers see work as an ordered process, where precise calculations can predict events and people have roles to fulfill, like cogs of a clockwork. Managers then react to their social environment accordingly to how they see their work; with reduced empathy. Instead of eliminating problems at the risk of creating new ones, managers tend to appease hostility to reduce risk. To highlight this claim, Zaleznik cites the acts of Alfred Sloan; a prominent manager in business history who carefully appeased opposition instead of direct elimination. Sloan’s actions were characteristically managerial. On the other hand, leaders, as Zaleznik identifies, involve emotion in their work which instead of rationally solving problems invites risks and newer problems. John F. Kennedy, a world leader, was cited by Zaleznik to show the emotion his words carried in his inauguration. Both managers and leaders exercise power on a group of people and Zaleznik identifies that they differ in their relation to these people. Basing his evidence on a psychological study, Zaleznik determines that managers are in need of working with people, i.e., to exercise power, as the presence of others IS a requirement of managerial authority. Furthermore, to rationally handle situations manager tend to invest lower amounts of emotions in their relations. In contrast, leaders tend to display empathy in their relations and rich emotions to fuel their passions and desires. This distinction shows that managers are appointed and leaders are made. Zaleznik then goes on to further emphasize the distinction on their respective emotional involvement in problem solving, where managers strive to order and stasis with no room for emotion and a leader to heavily invest feelings to their problems causing at times
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