Leadership and Management Role in Sustainable Organization

Subject: Management
Pages: 8
Words: 2103
Reading time:
8 min
Study level: College


Management role in modern organizations is not an easy task because of the work environment that is characterized by constant change and complex organizational structures. A dedicated manager ensures that only qualified workforce is recruited in the company. Again, highly competent managers are innovative meaning they are likely to adopt the best strategies in terms of introducing new products in the market, as well as improving the quality of existing brands. Under-qualified and less dedicated managers often encourage continuous and effective production of existing brands without considering whether such products meet and exceed the needs of consumers (Mintzberg 2011, p. 85).

Leadership and management enjoy a close relationship because one supplements the other. An individual charged with the role of leading has to share the vision with the followers without necessarily forcing people to abide by the rules and regulations. This means any leader should possess special skills and knowledge that are utilized effectively in influencing people to achieve a common goal (Yukl 2013, p. 16). Provision of important information, application of the best methods, and knowledge of the market are some of the best practices needed in the realization of vision. Since organizational members have conflicting interests, the leader should ensure that such aspirations, interests, and wishes of individual members are coordinated and linked up to help the organization in attaining the dream.

An organization is said to be sustainable whenever it observes the principle of sustainable development meaning any expansion strategy has to meet the needs of the present without compromising the capability of the upcoming generation to convene its requirements. Therefore, sustainability in organizations has to address critical issues at the macro level, such as competence, which entails novelty, prosperity, and production.

Leadership and Management


Leadership and management have varying definitions, which bring out their differences. Leadership entails setting a new direction or vision for organizational members whereby the role of the leader or the head is to spearhead the new agenda. Anyone believed to be a leader has to step up in times of crisis meaning leaders have to think and act innovatively in tricky situations. Leadership differs from management because an individual is not taught, but it can be enhanced through coaching and mentoring (Kinicki & Mel 2011, p. 41).

Bill Gates is considered a great leader in the business world because he oversaw the growth of Microsoft and the entire software industry even though he was an academic dwarf. On the other hand, management focuses on controlling and directing resources, both human and capital by simply following the established principles and values. Unlike leadership, management is all about organization and coordination of events with the major aim of convening the desired objectives.

Many studies consider management as part of the factors of production together with machineries, materials, and capital. The scholars of management, such as Parker and Stone (2003, p. 25) observe that the major role of any manager is to market the organization and ensure it remains competitive through innovation. A business manager has the responsibility of making major decisions, as well as overseeing the growth of the enterprise. The successfulness of any organization lies with the quality of managers, as well as their experience in handling affairs.

Sustainable Organization-Definition

Sustainability in business refers to managing what is commonly referred to as the triple bottom line. This entails an extensive process where an organization manages financial, social, and environmental risks. Financial management is related to profits whereas social risks are linked to organizational employees and the environment is associated with the planet. Sustainability may also refer to the resiliency of the business over time meaning the ability of an organization to survive economic, social, and environmental shocks.

Moreover, social equity has to be put into consideration since it helps in reducing poverty, boost the welfare of the community, and promote human rights. Finally, the organization has to develop strategies to address environmental issues where climate change, land use, and biodiversity are discussed frequently. An organization has to adopt the best practices in business in order to achieve sustainability one of these practices being stakeholder engagement. Based on this, the organization has to draw lessons from clients, employees, and the members of the surrounding community (Pierce & Newstrom 2011, p. 14).

In other words, the organization has to understand the nature of opposition, reaching at a compromise, and include all concerned parties in the decision-making process. The second practice is management of environmental systems implying that certain structures and processes have to be developed, especially those that help in mitigation of risks and development of culture. Reporting and disclosure is an additional practice, which entails measuring and controlling production (Pardey 2007, p. 54). The final practice is life cycle analysis and the main aim is to evaluate the environmental impacts of the production process.

Theories of leadership: Trait theories (big five personality traits)

Scholars of leadership and management borrow heavily from psychologists. The big five personality traits refer to the important qualities that often shape the behavior of an individual. Researchers are constantly engaged in studies to establish whether any relationship exists between the five personality traits and leadership. The traits include conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism, openness, and extraversion. Conscientiousness is characterized by thoughtfulness, as well as goal-directed behavior. Any leader exhibiting this personality is likely to be mindful of other people’s desires and wishes.

In other words, it refers to a leader who is responsive to the sufferings of employees in the organization. A consciousness leader is always organized and organizational members can depend on him or her in the times of crisis (Jackson & Parry 2008, p. 64). A leader portraying this personality is always prepared to handle difficult situations using the available resources in the organization. Additionally, such a leader follows the schedule, company principles, and values when dispensing his or her duties. A conscious leader observes order and regularity in handling issues.

The second trait is agreeableness, which includes aspects such as hope, benevolence, and friendliness. A leader with this personality feature is considerate, assistive, and welcoming. Agreeableness is associated with excellent teamwork skills, but individuals with this personality suffer from poor leadership skills (Northouse 2010, p. 16). Unfortunately, this trait influences people to take back seats, as far as decision-making is concerned. Consequently, agreeableness is related to followers rather than leaders. Followers are interested in the affairs of other people and mostly take time to interact with employees in the organization.

A good leader should never be emotional because decisions made out of sentiments are illogical and inapplicable in real situations. For instance, a leader with this feature may end up compromising the organizational values and principles, which might result in incompetence. Neuroticism is a personality trait that makes an individual angry, anxious, and depressed easily. A leader with this trait is unstable, as far as decision-making is concerned given the fact they are susceptible to stress.

An individual with this trait is definitely a poor leader because he or she is likely to suffer from mood swings. Openness is the fourth trait and is characterized by creativity, curiosity, insightfulness, and knowledge. A good leader is likely to posses this trait because individuals possessing it are adventures and highly imaginative. Effective leaders globally are extraverts because the personality trait is characterized by excitability, hospitability, and boldness (Thompson, Strickland & Gamble 2005, p. 29).

Sustainable Organization-Wal-Mart

The company has three key values that guide it as it continues to offer top service to clients. They include respect for the individual, irrespective of whether it is the company worker, clients, suppliers, or any other stakeholder including the community and owners of the business. In other words, it does not treat people based on their ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation (Watson 2002, p. 7). Members of minority groups, such as the blacks in the US, homosexuals, and physically challenged have an equal chance of being employed, as well as being given the top service.

Many companies in the world rarely give minorities an opportunity of developing their careers since they are discriminated against. Service to customers whereby customers are given what they want in the sense that their expectations are surpassed is an additional strategy that is aimed at realizing sustainability (Hill & Jones 2012, p. 10). This is meant to develop customer loyalty with an aim of strengthening the market share. Striving for excellence implying the company tries its best to be innovative, especially when it comes to selecting and promoting products and services is the final strategy.

Empirical Evidence

Wal-Mart is one of the multinational companies committed to making profits with an aim of satisfying the stakeholders. In this regard, the management and the leadership have put in place several objectives and strategies to facilitate profitability. Based on the 2011 annual report, the company outlined several strategies to achieve the desired goals. Expanding multi-channel initiatives, which means the company has been trying to diversify its marketing strategies with an aim of capturing an important market segment is one of the strategies.

Through this, several strategies are in place including developing and implementing a worldwide online marketing strategy through the use of modern techniques, such as the social media, speeding up global online channel expansion, and availing stores and shopping centres in order to satisfy the increasing number of customers (Western 2007, p. 90). The company further realizes that meeting the above strategies is not an easy task and has put in place tactics to facilitate goal realization. For instance, it has established a department that engages in customer research to establish their wishes, expectations, and desires using new formats in introducing products in new markets, especially in rural areas (David 2009, p. 56). It also ensures transactions are completed in time to avoid inconveniencing clients.

Relationship between Leadership and Management

Leaders and managers in various organizations are always expected to deal with unfavorable economic climates whereby competition is the order of the day. The emergence of new ways of dealing with issues, technologies, influence of the social media, the need for greater transparency, the ever-increasing consumer demands, and issues touching on the environment are additional challenges that organizations have to address in order to achieve sustainability in the global market (Harrison 2005, p. 90). The strategies that an organization devises to handle these challenges determines the successfulness of the institution.

Therefore, an organization is constantly engaged in a process of getting the right mix of inspirational leadership and effective management skills as it influences performance regarding profitability, sales, growth, and survival. Theories of management and leadership suggest that sustainability in the organization is achieved through effective managers and inspirational leaders. In other words, leadership and management play a critical role in the improvement of business performance in the sense that organizations with qualified managements are likely to have a sophisticated and higher production and marketing strategies (Grint 2005, p. 17).


A debate is ongoing regarding the differences and similarities between leadership and management. Scholars ask themselves questions on whether the two are needed in driving the organization to the next heights. For instance, one wonders whether a manager has to possess some leadership skills to be effective in his or her position as the chief executive officer. For some scholars, a leader has to acquire managerial skills if he or she is to deliver in any position. The broad definitions of the two terms indicate that leadership is mainly related to the ability of people to influence and motivate others with an aim of realizing the major organizational goals.

On the other hand, management is focused on directing and controlling both human and capital resources. In other words, managers are expected to coordinate and harmonize various groups within the organization to realize a common goal. In terms of personality, a leader is regarded as brilliant and mercurial because he or she is likely to be charismatic. A leader is known to take risks and is highly innovative, unlike managers who are rational in their thinking. This means a manager is goal-oriented and tends to follow the established structures.

The outcomes of leaders is achievement whereas managers focus on results, which means leadership is likely to devise new ways of doing things after analyzing the problem while a manager would simply create a strategy or a policy to handle an issue. Irrespective of the differences, sustainability in the organization calls on individuals charged with decision-making to apply both leadership and managerial skills. At Wal-Mart, the management is known to apply inspirational leadership where employees are encouraged to produce the best results while at the same time established structures and processes are observed.

List of References

David, FR 2009, Strategic management: Concepts and cases, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River.

Grint, K 2005, Leadership: Limits and Possibilities, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke

Harrison, JS 2005, Foundations of strategic management, Thomson/South-Western, Mason.

Hill, WL & Jones, GR 2012, Strategic Management, Cengage Learning, New York.

Jackson, B & Parry, K 2008, Very Short, Interesting, and Reasonably Cheap Book about Studying Leadership, Sage, London.

Kinicki, A & Mel, F 2011, Organization Behavior–key concepts sills and best practices, Sage,London.

Mintzberg, H 2011, Managing, BK Publishers Inc, San Francisco.

Northouse, PG 2010, Leadership Theory and Practice, Sage, Los Angeles.

Pardey, D 2007, Introducing Leadership, Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford.

Parker, C & Stone, B 2003, Developing Management Skills for Leadership, Pearson, New Jersey.

Pierce, JL & Newstrom, JW 2011, Leaders and the Leadership Process, McGraw-Hill, Boston.

Thompson, AA, Strickland, AJ & Gamble, JE 2005, Crafting and executing strategy: The quest for competitive advantage: Concepts and cases, McGraw-Hill, Boston.

Watson, T 2002, Organising and Managing Work, Free Press, Prentice Hall.

Western, S 2007, Leadership A Critical Text, Sage, London.

Yukl, G 2013, Leadership in Organizations, Pearson, New Jersey.