In this post, I’m reflecting on the paper “managers and leaders: are they different?” by Abraham Zaleznik. He was a famous professor at Harvard Business School who criticised the style of management for focusing only on logic and achieving goals. He assumed that managers and leaders were completely different people. Managers were described by him as inscrutable, distant and deceptive. Plus, while executives are interested in control and how things are done, leaders are more interested in concepts and creativity. In order to approach a clearer understanding of these issues, I try to explore various questions relevant to both management and leadership: do managers and leaders really have entirely different personalities? Or are they both competing with people for the same objective of getting work done? With more experience and hard work, will management be upgraded? Are leaders more empathic than executives? What makes managers manipulative and inscrutable? This is innate or is it acquired? In what ways are leaders different? It seems like a huge challenge, but by conducting a comparative study between two prominent figures, such as Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan and Nelson Mandela, I can address this question. Based on the enduring lessons from their life stories that will survive for years to come, I will trace some points of parallels and differentiations. Both were gifted visionaries who practised a full spectrum of cognitive, emotional and behavioural abilities in their countries to bring about fundamental change. This paper invites other scientists to explore the dilemma of strong professional growth that comes to nothing if the abilities of the individual are negligible. For the smooth landing from leadership into leadership, further research on organisational psychology also needs to be carried out.
Dalia Mohamed Mostafa Mabrouk Faculty of Arts & Humanities, Suez Canal University, Egypt and Abu Dhabi Police Headquarter, Abu Dhabi, UAE.