1. How is leadership different than management?
To answer this question, I have to think about the meaning of leadership which can be interpreted in two ways. One aspect of leadership means the entities that perform one or more acts of leading. I think this means a person or a group of people in a higher position who lead an organization. The other aspect of leadership is the ability to affect human behavior so as to accomplish a vision. From my perspective, Wheately tries to get the latter across to readers.
Leadership and management are very similar in that both of them want to accomplish something by getting people to perform their roles in an organization. However, they are very different in what they want to accomplish and what they do to achieve what they want.
One difference is that leadership requires people to identify a moral and ethical vision as an ultimate end of actions while management doesn’t need people to have an ethical or moral vision. Management is the act of getting people together to accomplish desired goals, but “the desired goals” don’t need to be desirable. Last time when the meaning of management was discussed, Roger E. Allen says in his book Winnie the Pooh on Management, “Management is neither good nor bad. It just is. You can have either good or bad management, depending on how mangers do their job.” Even a group for an organized crime needs management. Management needs to have only goals, not a mission or vision. However, people who want to be a leader in our society are required to think of what is right and what is wrong for our society. Every leader talks about and wants to bring about “change.” In what direction do we want to change? Wheately says even the universe has a great thought, so leaders should take a larger perspective for a vision.
The other difference is about how to get people to work for their organization. Leadership involves power by influence, whereas management involves power by position. A leader exerts his/her power to affect others’ behavior through “relationships” such as love, care and respect. A leader pays attention to people’s emotion and intrinsic motivation. However, a manager exerts the power his/her position gives him/her to control employees’ behavior. It is just matter of obedience or not. A manager gives incentives or punishments in response to their achievement and results. This difference also suggests new meaning of leadership (informal leadership). People don’t need to be in a high position to lead an organization for its development. We all members need to build healthy relationships with people and do our best to achieve what we want in a cooperative environment. This small effort brings about big change through indirect relationships (invisible forces) in our society.
All in all, teachers as educational leaders should have abilities not only of management but also of leadership because we should build relationships with our students and colleagues to solve problems of education. School society is a unique organization which is different from business organizations in the fact that schools pursue the growth of people, not the profit of organization.
2. Explain what the Newtonian model of reduction mean for leadership?
In the Newtonian model of reduction, people try to reduce the number of variable of a system, to identify or define each variable’s role, and to explain cause and effect relationship among variables, believing there must be better methods of objectively perceiving the world. So, in an organization designed from the Newtonian model of reduction, everything should be separated and defined as a part of a system; influence occurs as a direct result of force exerted from one person to another; an environment is expected to be predictable; and thus complex planning is continually made.
This kind of leadership is focused on “order and control” to maintain the organization and to achieve its goals. As a result, a Newtonian organization is very structured and follows the procedures as they had been established. We can see typical examples in bureaucratic organizations. There are so many regulations, guidelines, policies and procedures for every eventuality. People are drawing lines of authorities and limits to responsibilities and define roles and accountabilities. Furthermore, when the Newtonian leaders search for ways to solve problems, they take analytical approaches to the problems, taking things apart. However, this approach prevents leaders from having a holistic view of organization. Remaining entrenched in his/her own view, the leader resorts his authority to get his people to perform better by giving rewards or threatening depending on situation. I mean this kind of leaders believe in Theory X and focus his role on management.
3. What are the implications of systems thinking for leadership?
There are two views on the nature of systems.
One is a belief that there must be an objective system which is so precisely working like a clock that it could be a role model of our organizations. If we find the model and impose the model to our organization, we can improve our performance or develop our organization. In this system, a leader pays attention to achievements, not relationships, of the members, and regards fluctuations, disorder, and change as danger to the organization. Accordingly, leaders are conservative and passive.
The other belief is that there is no objective reality of a system. The system is subjective and shaped by our interactions with it. There is only what we create through our engagement with others and with events. Besides, in a system, even from a chemical system in a flask to the universe, things in the environment that disturb the system’s equilibrium play a crucial role in creating new forms of order. In this system, a leader isn’t afraid of change, but takes the change as an opportunity for development. As a result, leaders are progressive, flexible and innovative.
4. Explain what Wheatley means by relationships are more real than individuals?
We individuals are not isolated in a group or a society. We are connected by relationships which are “invisible forces” that affect our behavior and potential. We come to being and are observed only in relationship to something else. Therefore, it is more realistic to focus our attention on relationships instead of individuals.
In organizations, which is the more important influence on behavior – the system or the individual? This is not an either/or question. What is critical is the relationship created between the person and the system. That relationship will always be different and evoke different potentialities. Thus, building fellowship, empowerment, and leader accessibility are significant factors that make an organization healthy and successful. Listening, communication, and facilitating groups are needed skills for today’s leadership.