Are you a Leader or a Manager?

Leadership decision-making and management decision-making are both important for leaders within an organization; however, the time in which a leader uses one of these decision-making types will vary based on a situation. First, it is critical to understand the difference between a leader and a manager. According to Arsham (2017), leaders are more focused on the interpersonal aspects of their position or how they relate to their team, while managers are more focused on the administrative aspects of their position or how they complete the tasks assigned to their role. Anyone in a leadership position within an organization is a manger but being a leader does not require a title or leadership position.

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     Management decision-making is more of a “dictatorship”; a manager makes a decision and expects to have his or her employees carry out that decision (Rodriguez, 2017). In contrast, leadership decision-making is more democratic; a leader may ask for the team to be involved in the decision-making process and take their knowledge and opinions into consideration before making a decision (Rodriguez, 2017). Management decision-making looks at the benefits to the manager and his or her team or division and choices are made based on what provides the greatest benefit, while leadership decision-making looks at the benefits to the organization, no matter the effect on the team or division; the needs of the organization are the most important (Burns, Sorenson, Goethals, & Sage, 2004, p. 317).

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     Leadership decision-making has a positive impact on the individuals, divisions, organizations, and societies it affects. As more voices are included in decision-making, additional knowledge is shared with the group, which increases the likelihood the decision being made will be successful. This process also increases the likelihood of success because it allows those individuals included to increase their own engagement in the decision; team members who are engaged in the decision-making process feel more responsibility for the decision made and will work to make sure it is successful. With my current team, there have been some complaints about scheduling. Our contact center is open from 7:00am until 8:00pm Monday through Friday, and many of my employees have a rotating schedule that changes every week based on business need. Recently I worked with my team to start a scheduling pilot where everyone could have a set schedule but after a certain number of weeks would work a closing shift. Everyone on my team got to have input into the decision-making process about what their schedules would be and how often they would help with closing schedules. Because of having this input, my team has seen an increase in satisfaction over the three months we have implemented this, and it seems to be a success based on their performance in their roles as well.

     Management decision-making is a necessary part of an organization administratively speaking, but it does not always encourage improvement or engagement by the individuals it affects. As a contact center, we are always trying to be more efficient in order to assist our members as quickly as possible and decrease their wait times. A recent push has been to crack down on after call work, or the time between a call with a member ending and the customer service representative going available to assist with other members. The directors decided that all representatives must immediately move to the threshold goal and we must performance manage those who do not get there right away. This decision was not brought to the supervisor teams prior to being implemented, so the direct leaders of the customer service representatives have not all become engaged with this process. Because we are not all engaged, many of the customer service representatives are not engaged in improving their performance in this manner. While the decision made is a good decision because it helps us improve performance for our members, the use of management decision-making may not have been the correct approach as it did not help get the majority of the staff engaged in the decision. Management decision-making makes sense in the scope of quick administrative decisions, but in situations like this where employee engagement is critical, a leadership decision-making style is more effective and better received by a team.


Arsham, H. (2017). Leadership decision making.

Burns, J. M, Sorenson, G. J., Goethals, G. R., & Sage Publications, i. (2004). Encyclopedia of      Leadership. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc  

Rodriguez, I. (2017). What differences in decision-making approaches might occur among           leadership styles? Retrieved from:            decisionmaking-approaches-might-occur-among-leadership-styles-74048.html 

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Daniel Fortune

Daniel Fortune is a successful business professional, entrepreneur, father, and lover of travel.

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