Manager & Leader

Cork’s Interpretation

Leading to innovate, Managing to delegate

        ‘Harry Truman once defined leadership as the art of getting people to do what they might not otherwise do, and to like it’ (Collins, 2002). At the same time, sitting on his desk was a plaque, ‘the buck stops here’. Truman was not only a leader but a manager and in today’s highly competitive environment organizations need both in order to thrive in an ever changing business environment. The following paper will attempt to address some fundamental issues surrounding the area of leadership and management while incorporating four case studies from the Cork business district.  The first case study examined will be that of Mark Nolan from Charles Nolan and Sons, effective and detrimental aspects of Mark’s leadership abilities will be discussed. The next case study referred to will cover the topical relationship between a conductor and his/her orchestra; this will be discussed with Keith Pascow, the conductor of the Cork Symphony Orchestra, as a case in point. Finally aspects of Cork born chocolatier Eve St Leger’s chocolate company will be examined in great detail. All of the above shall be argued objectively through a scope investigating leadership, its importance in organisations, and a brief comparison between leadership and management.

Defining leadership has been a challenge for academics and scholars alike since the issue was first raised by Zaleznik a number of years ago. While several different types of   leadership styles and approaches exist, the question remains; are leaders born or made?  While certain qualities and skills can be ascertained through practical experience and education, other attributes are rather more difficult to quantify, and are rather more often related to personality rather than a range of complex skills and attributes. There is no constellation of traits that is capable of predicting whether or not someone will make a great leader. Rather than being a simple assemblage of skills, one suggests that while certain leadership techniques can be acquired, traits such as natural charisma, flair and finesse cannot be taught, but are inherited. To further complicate the task ahead the attributes which make one leader great may not even contribute to the make-up of another, thus making the task of creating a set definition of leadership more than challenging.

In order to discuss whether leaders are born or made, we must work from a definition of ‘what is a leader?’ Abraham Zaleznik (2001, p.2) defines leadership as ‘inevitably requiring the use of power to influence the thoughts and actions of other people,’ while Kotter (Zaleznik 2001, p.) explores the need of leadership in organisations as a means of ‘producing change and setting a new direction, forcing people to live in alternative futures.’ While managerial skills are rather more tangible i.e. they organize, delegate and act rationally etc, Leaders’ attributes are rather more intangible, there is no simple list of ingredients which gives us a recipe for a great leader. On paper a person who may appear to contain all the necessary qualities, often does not fulfil the role required, leaders are anomalies, i.e. they do not fit the mould, and as such cannot be labelled, the best leaders will respond to and are capable of predicting a future change in circumstances. It is important to note that a leader may not necessarily be a manager or indeed a person of high status in job specification. However a true leader is always in a position to influence, motivate and navigate through turbulent and difficult times.

One does not suggest that leaders are simply born, however personnel development begins in the family and up-bringing. We, as individuals are part of a wider community. We do not exist in a vacuum; the people we are reflect our social, economical and environmental background.  Zaleznik (2001,p ) rationalizes that leaders are like artists, and other gifted people who often struggle with neuroses; and that their ability to function varies considerably from situation to situation. Even highly valued managers are no substitute for leaders who have the ability to fuel passions and ignite imagination in employees. Nevertheless there are some individuals who manage to combine managerial skills with leadership. If we take Mark Nolan as a case study we can see Mark is both a leader and a manager. Although like his father before him, saddled with such managerial responsibilities has stifled his creativity, forcing him to act rather cautiously.

Zaleznik  Zaleznik 2001, p.) suggests two ways in which leaders may be developed. First he posits that organisations should avoid overreliance on peer-learning situations as they often stifle aggressiveness and initiative that fuel leadership. Further  Zaleznik (Zaleznik 2001, p.) encourages an environment where one to one relationships are cultivated in a manner which encourages intense emotional interchange and an eagerness to challenge ideas and long held views. What it takes to develop a manager may inhibit developing leaders. Zaleznik  (Zaleznik 2001, p.)  concluded that gifted people need one- to- one relationship in order to develop tolerance for emotional interchange. While this situation may be useful in developing key leaders, it is by no means a sure thing, nor is it the only solution, as in the case of Mr. Nolan.

Often individuals get thrust into leadership positions, without necessarily asking or seeking out the position. If we take Mark Nolan as the prime example here, a man who confessed no desire to head up the family business, nor did he seem to possess a particular interest in becoming an entrepreneur. However in a time of dramatic and indeed traumatic events Mark was obliged to take up the burden of leading a third generation family business. Upon his return Mark was able to navigate through a turbulent and difficult period in the business, which one suggests is a real indication of his maturing leadership dexterity.

Attributes which can be thought.

 Attributes which a candidate is born with.

Leadership has often been interpreted as an inspirational tool used to motivate and enhance performance within a creative environment. Nevertheless when meticulous precision and delegation skills are required leadership is neither a necessity nor is it necessarily beneficial. I will discuss situations in which leadership can be powerfully effective in a positive way and I will also refer to how leadership or more specifically, the leader can be dangerously damaging to an organization. An article by Klann and Cartright (2004) argues whether leadership is more an art form or a science, the conclusion drawn is that leadership, can indeed be described as an art form as it requires creative versatility and expression. Klann and Cartright (2004) observe that within leadership even rigid ‘rules and principles must be creatively applied’. If leadership is, in fact, an art it therefore, in my opinion, is most effective and valid within a creative and artistic environment, (although motivational aspects of leadership can prove effective within most, if not all, business environments). In the words of Abraham Zalesnik (2001, p. 1) ‘leaders, like artists, tolerate chaos’. Essentially, I wish to argue whether or not leadership is necessarily a good thing.

I would now like to draw on the example of the key leadership role of the conductor in an orchestra with Keith Pascow, the conductor of the Cork Symphony Orchestra as a prime case in point. As discussed by Nussbeum and Ingrid (2005) in their article regarding the leadership of symphony orchestras the conductor is ‘responsible for all creative and artistic decisions’; the conductor’s sole concern and responsibility lies with the musical expression of the musicians and the overall musical success of the performance. Musicians look to their conductor not for guidance on the mechanical workings of their instruments, nor do they need help with the precision of the musical score. The orchestra rely on the conductor to express themselves as a unit, the conductor at his best is their inspirational, motivational leader. G K Kanji (2008, p. 417) describes the importance of the leader in ‘developing and communicating the vision, defining the mission’. It is the conductor’s (in this case) artistic vision that, as Kanji (2008, p. 420) states, ‘depicts a whole, a totality, into which people can place themselves, their feelings and their attitudes’. The conductor’s vision must openly welcome each musician’s creative expression and then transfer that energy into a total orchestral movement. Keith Pascow outlined the role of the conductor is to firstly, know the music score thoroughly, the conductor must then engage expressively with the orchestra. Atik (1994) describes the relationship between conductor and musicians as ‘a two way influence process’ in his article exploring the relationship between the conductor and the orchestra. The conductor must empathize and understand the individual interpretations of the score that each musician has in order to unite them as a whole and evoke his(or her) own vision just as the musicians have to understand the expressive creative gestures of the conductor. The conductor is used as the expressive mediator between the composer’s specific instructions, the score, and the individual musical interpretations of the piece. The conductor encompasses the tools laid out for him by the composer with his own artistic vision to inspire and unite the musicians of the orchestra; this is leadership at its best.

However wonderfully tender the relationship between the conductor and the musicians can be Keith Pascow also explained how fraught with complications this relationship can be. Pascow disclosed to us in class that due to the artistic nature of the work tension can often grow within an orchestra if, for example, there is a conflict of vision between the leader and his(or her) followers. In situations such as these the frivolous artistic traits of a conductor (and indeed musicians) can prove quite damaging. Another problem that can arise within the orchestral environment is, as Atik (1994) states, the unclear divide between the conductor and musicians, perhaps resulting in clashing of egos. Pascow also mentioned that, just as in business organisations, each conductor has a different style and approach. Perhaps such diverse styles may raise difficulties for the followers as conductors, according to Pascow, tend not to spend more than a short term with an orchestra. The constant turnover of conductors along with the lack of specific leadership structures means that musicians must therefore be able to adapt and mould fluidly to various leadership methods.

The leader’s role as an inspirational figure within the non-artistic organisation is very valid also, although if a leader is attempting to lead when he/she is not comfortable within his/her own skin, or within an environment that does not necessarily require a creative visionary, the actions of the leader can prove quite insignificant, or in fact damaging. I believe Mark Nolan of Charles Nolan and Sons is a prime example of both of the above. Although Nolan seems quite a competent leader today he admits he was not born with such entrepreneurial attributes. Frances Hesselbien (2000, p. 296) notes that leaders who ‘perceive the universe as essentially hostile and life as a competitive battleground’ will be truly ineffective as leaders. I believe that Mark Nolan fits this mould in the early years of him taking over the family business; his resentment towards his father stunted his ability to creatively lead the business. Another faux-pas of Mark Nolan’s in his earlier years was his inability to realize the invalidity of his plastic bag business with the rise of the ‘bag for life’ campaign in Ireland in 2002. If he was truly leading he would not have been blind to these changes and would have noticed his Theory of the Business, as Drucker (1994) says, becoming invalid and his assumptions about his environment, mission and his core capabilities slipping away from reality. Instead Mark Nolan allowed his fear of failing a long running family business dictate his ability to make decisions, he did not, as Bolman and Deal (1997, p. 377) specify, allow himself the ‘personal freedom’ required to effectively lead. This mistake of Nolan’s is brought to light when Hesselbien (2000, p. 297) states that a potential leader’s ‘fear of negative evaluation and public failure keeps projects and programs on life support systems long after they are moribund’. However, as stated previously in this essay Mark Nolan has grown enormously since these mishaps and has navigated his way towards a strong leadership role. When speaking honestly in class Mark admitted his short comings and has undoubtedly learnt from them. As Zaleznik (2001) discusses in his article, by learning from challenging experiences and by observing new opportunities and taking risks while admitting the companies weaknesses Mark Nolan has moulded himself into a strong effective leader with, in his own words, ‘good leadership relationship with customers and colleagues’.

Leadership is a creative, supportive, inspirational role used to evoke passion and motivation within the people of an organisation. The symphony orchestra is a perfect example of the importance of leadership and certainly proves the positive powerful influence a leader can have in a nourishing artistic environment. However negative aspects of leadership are potent in both artistic and non-artistic organisations, people need a leader but they also need structure and discipline. Leadership certainly has its pros and cons however I believe, when executed correctly and effectively leadership is a key tool in any functioning organisation and needs space and encouragement to flourish.

Frances Hesselbien (2000, p. 296) ‘truly effective leaders have set out not so much to be leaders as to fully express themselves’.

Mahatma Gandhi once wrote “The history of the world is full of men who rose to leadership, by sheer force of self-confidence, bravery and tenacity.” REFERENCE Throughout the years we have seen political and religious leaders, musicians, artists, writers, business people, television hosts, to name a few, who have all had a major impact on influencing a group of people. Delving into the characteristics and behaviors of these leaders, and how they appeared to have influenced people and events, one begins to wonder; do those perceived as leaders actually lead?

Warren Bennis (2000) identifies four competencies that people want from a leader: “(1) they want direction and meaning-a sense of purpose, a vision, a set of beliefs and convictions; (2) they want leaders to generate and sustain trust; (3) they want leaders to be purveyors of hope and optimism because they have to buy into the future; and (4) they want results” (Bennis, 2000, p. 172).  People usually see a leader as someone who can make things happen, and as will be shown not always for the best. Clearly, leadership styles differ among different leaders and in varying situations.

Alexander the Great, king of Macedonia is one of the greatest leaders in history. Alexander was influenced and inspired by his fathers’ conquests; which allowed him and his soldiers to bring the Greek way of doing things to all countries he conquered. Alexander the great is an excellent example of how influential and powerful leaders can be.  Clearly he was a leader who led by example, as he was always at the forefront of his soldiers.

Lee Iacocca, former CEO of Chrysler, used his strong personality, determination and dedication to save Chrysler from becoming bankrupt.  Appealing to Congress, customers and Chrysler employees, he proved himself to be a ruthless leader second to none. Iacocca was able to amalgamate the necessary components, to make the debt ridden company profitable again; “Iacocca seemed to combine Henry Ford’s vision, Billy Durant’s ‘street smarts’, Alfred Sloan’s marketing genius, and Walter Chrysler’s Flair”( Anastakis, 2007). Without Iacocca’s leadership Chrysler would never have been lead out of the financial crisis it faced.

Steve Jobs co-founder and former CEO of Apple is another example of a transformational leader who revolutionized the world and has proven how “innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower” ( Jobs, 2011). Evidently, Jobs used his skill as an exemplary leader to change the technology world forever and has resulted in long term benefits for Apple. Undoubtedly, he provoked a cult of followers not only among consumers, but also among others in similar industries to finally start transforming the products they produced.

Sometimes the absence of a definite leader who can set out and lead people to follow often leads to disillusionment and failure.  The Vietnam War is a classic example how lack of leadership led to defeat. For example, when Clark Clifford Secretary of Defence took office in 1968 he complained that not one person in the Defence Department could tell him of the plan to win the war or what army constituted victory. Also a survey taken by Army Generals who had commanded in the war showed that nearly 70 percent of the Army Generals that managed during the war were uncertain of its objectives. The army had only been told what the expected outcome of the war was; victory. Because the Army Generals did not know the main objective of the war, they could not inform the army members. Plagued with many supposed ‘leaders’, but none who could actually lead and define why they were in Vietnam.  The uncertainty and ultimately lack of leadership lead to America’s defeat.

Kim Jong-il, the leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, is often referred as the “Dear Leader” which exemplifies the autocratic type of leader who is in total control of his people and country.  He demonstrates what a leader in modern times should not be. He makes decisions without discussion or consultation and the views of others are ignored. Any deviations from his ideologies are seen to be disloyal and come with harsh consequences for his people.  Kim Jong-il uses fear and intimidation to ‘lead’ his people, resulting in a fearful, brainwashed nation. People of North Korea even believe that he has the ability to control the weather depending on his mood.  In the business arena autocratic leadership is needed in some situations, in particular when a difficult situation arises and team members usually want to be told what exactly needs to be done. However, total autocratic leadership displayed by Kim Jong-il is a recipe for disaster and has no longevity. Although he may be perceived as the ‘leader’, he clearly is a misleader.

We sometimes tend to underestimate the people behind these perceived ‘leaders’. Warren Bennis provides a wonderful example of this in using Michelangelo’s masterpiece in the Sistine Chapel. While most of us would automatically associate singly Michelangelo as a lone leader of this creation yet, “13 people helped paint the work” (Bennis, 2000, p.93).  Noticeably, leadership can be seen as a singular role; however behind every leader lies a team of leaders who are indispensable to the success of the leader at the frontline; who relies on the team of leaders for cooperation to achieve the leader’s vision. David G. Brian manger of the Bishopstown library is a born leader who appears to be the perceived leader of the library. David does not believe in hierarchy and wants his co-workers to take responsibility within their roles. David facilitates leadership in that he allows employees in the library to be leaders in their own jobs creating a cooperative working environment. As Bennis states, “leaders are made great by their followers, and followers made great by their leaders” (2000, p.111). Evidently the perceived leader may take the praise for certain achievements, however it is apparent they cannot achieve success on their own.

In order to discover whether a manager is different to a leader one must investigate the traits of both positions. It is essential to be aware of the roles and responsibilities of the leader and the manager. It is understandable to believe that these roles may overlap. The following work explores the differences between these characters in the workplace, and seeks the different opinions from authors on the subject to discover if there is a distinct difference.

As Wayne Turk states managers perform extremely accurately and follow the appropriate directions within a company and therefore rise up the hierarchy within the organisation. He argues that leaders abide by their own directions and may not acquire an authorised place in the hierarchy of the company. (2007, p. 20) From researching the topic of Leader V’s Manager it can be said that the leader uses creative ideas through their own passionate drive and that the manager shows less emotion and desire. Turk argues that “the leader is innovative and creative, while the manager is a traditionalist” (2007, p. 21). Turk questions why the not so creative manager may not survive or succeed although he will use the traditional tools and concepts. However in most organisations and situations, innovation is essential in order to succeed.

In reading Zalensnik’s ‘Managers and Leaders-are they different’ it becomes somewhat clearer to distinguish the difference between the manager and the leader but we can also understand where the roles overlap. Zalenznik (2001, p.1) states that “managers and leaders are two different animals”. He believes that leaders allow a lack of organisation and construction in the workplace. He expresses that managers search for discipline and demand that problems are solved immediately, similar to Turks’ idea of the traditional managerial approach and a complete organised direction in the business. This enables us to imagine the manager in the workplace and the difference between him and the leader.

Zaleznik (2001, p.3) declares that the manager’s main priority is control, “Whether his or her energies are directed towards goals, resources, organization structures, or people, a manager is a problem solver, a manager requires people operate efficiently at different levels of status and responsibility.” Zaleznik compares the leader to the manager in expressing “leadership is really managing work that other people do”. (2001, p.1)

After a brief investigation of Eve’s Chocolate Shop we can build assumptions as to what the roles of leadership and management are. It can be declared that the roles of leader and manager are different as Zalenznik believes, but it can be argued that these roles and responsibilities certainly merge as we can see in the case of Eve St. Ledger.

Eve set up her business in Cork in 1993. She started her business as manager which demanded a lot of hard work, dedication and precision. Eve admitted that it was extremely tough during the first years of the business, working sixteen to seventeen hours a day in the beginning. When Eve acquired her team of three full time staff and one part time she decided to assign each member of staff their own role and responsibility. Eve felt that there was no leader or manager in the company and that everyone shared an equal status. We can apply this to Zalensnik’s work; Eve appears as the manager, granting responsibilities to her staff, and creating a fair and equal environment with no hierarchy of roles in the workplace. However Eve also shares the role of leader. Eve’s successful chocolate shop has developed due to a deep and passionate desire of her love for chocolate. As we read in Zalenznik’s (2001, p.3) “Managerial goals arise out of necessities rather than desires”. I believe that Eve shows stronger leadership attributes in her business. It was her desire to produce chocolate and her interest in the origin of the high quality product that Eve began her business. She realised that there was a niche for handmade delicious chocolate of high quality at a fair price that caters for all occasions. This innovative idea has been extremely successful for Eve.

Eve articulated that her company produces eighty delicious and creative products. Although she admits this to be a rather large number to produce, she is happy with her sales. She stated how they are constantly testing and retesting their products, and that if after a number of weeks a particular treat is not selling then it is scrapped and a new and improved product is replaced. This active approach and recognition of what is valid is what Zalenznik has described a leader to be. It is clear that Eve values her business immensely stating that it is all about “quality, value and service”. Eve is a successful leader in that she is “active instead of reactive, shaping ideas instead of responding to them” Zaleznik (2001, p.4)

It is clear that there is a difference between the leader and the manager. In terms of Eve’s Chocolate shop it can be argued that there is a leader and a manager in Eve. She holds the attributes of both manager and leader, a creative and passionate artistic business woman who leads a team into the successful confectionary industry that she has built herself. Eve also holds the traits of a hard working manager who must make the less innovative decisions and perform traditional strategic duties of precise management. From researching the works of Zalenznik and Turk it has enabled an understanding of the importance of a leader and a manager in an organisation.

Upon careful consideration and observation one can see the difficulties associated with answering the fundamental questions surrounding the area of leadership and management. One can conclude that just as every fingerprint is unique, such is every organization. While the paper does offer a clear insight into the fundamental’s, we do not profess to have solved all the issues surrounding leadership. However we hope that we have begun a discourse which can further the individual’s understands of leadership and management.  From researching whether or not there is a stark difference between the leader and the manager it is clear that there are differences, but in reviewing the case studies it is obvious that these roles do overlap.


Atik, Y., (1994) ‘The conductor and the orchestra: Interactive aspects of the’, Leadership and Development Journal, 5(1), pp.22-22, ABI/INFORM Global [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 17 September 2011)


Bennis, W. (2000)  Old Dogs, New Tricks. London: Kogan Page Limited.

Bolman, C. and Deal, T. E. (1997) Reframing organisations: artistry, choice, and leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

Collins, J. (2002), ‘Hesselbien on Leadership’. Colorado: Boulder. [Online]. Available at: (Accessed:  26 September 2011)

Drucker, P. (1994) The Theory of the Business. Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing.

Hesselbien, F., Goldsmith, M. and Beckhard, R. (2000) The Organisation of the Future. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

Jobs, S. (2011) ‘Steve Jobs’, [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 29 September 2011)

Klann, G. and Cartwright, T. (2004) ‘A question of leadership: Is leadership more an art or more a science?‘, Leadership in Action, 24(1), pp.12-13, ABI/INFORM Global [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 17 September 2011)

Kanji, G. K. (2008) ‘Leadership is prime: How do you measure leadership excellence?‘, Total Quality Management and Business Excellence, 19(4), pp. 417-427, Business Source Complete, EBSCO Host [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 17 September 2011)

Nussbeum, V. and Ingrid, L. (2005) ‘The podium and beyond, The leadership of symphony orchestra conductors’. ABI/INFORM Global [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 17 September 2011)

Turk, W. (2007) ‘Manager or Leader’.  Defense AT&L [online]. Available at: (Accessed: 23 September 2011)

Zalesnik, A. (2001) Managers and Leaders : are they different? Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing.



Recent Posts