Leadership and the Roles of Leaders in Human Services Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Many people view supervisors and managers as organizational leaders, and in a sense they are; however, supervisory and management positions can be differentiated from true organizational leadership position by examining their respective roles and responsibilities. The purpose of this paper is to provide a review of the literature to define leadership and differentiate it from supervisory and management positions as well as a description of four strengths that are needed for a leadership position. In addition, the paper presents a discussion of various leadership styles, identifies a specific example as to how a leadership role can influence positive change in a health agency and specific contributions that non-supervisory positions can offer to a health agency. Finally, a summary of the research and key findings concerning these leadership issues are presented in the paper’s conclusion.

Definition of leadership and differentiation from supervisory and management positions

In reality, the actions taken by leaders occasionally resemble supervisors and managers, especially in smaller organizations; however, there are some general differences between the positions that help to differentiate them from each other. For instance, according to Belcher (2015), “The manager's job is planning, organizing, and coordinating, while the leader's job is to influence, inspire, and motivate” (p. 56). This definition suggests that leaders are responsible for establishing the vision for an organization and developing the strategies that will be required to achieve it, while managers and supervisors are responsible for accomplishing the day-to-day activities that support the vision and strategies.

Four strengths needed for a leadership position

Although truly effective leaders draw on different strengths from time to time as the situation demands, four fundamental strengths that are needed for any type of leadership position include the ability to communicate effectively, a positive attitude, an overarching sense of trustworthiness and an unwavering commitment to organizational goals (Doyle, 2018). This is not to say, of course, that other types of strengths such as integrity, compassion, empathy and honesty are not important, but it is to say that the four strengths identified above represent a core set that is essential to leadership success in virtually any organizational setting.

Discussion of leadership styles

Given its inextricable relationship with organizational performance, it is not surprising that a great deal of scholarship has been devoted to identifying different leadership styles over the years. Some of the main leadership styles identified to date include transformational leadership which is characterized by changing an organization in ways that facilitate achieving its vision and objectives, transactional leadership which is characterized by the use of rewards and punishments to motivate subordinates based on their past and current performance levels, and charismatic leadership which depends on leaders’ personal attributes to inspire and motivate their subordinates (Dartey-Baah & Mekpor, 2017).

It is important to note, though, that just as leaders typically draw on several different types of strengths depending on the circumstances, they also tend to use different leadership styles from time to time and over time. For example, a charismatic leadership style might be most appropriate when things are going great and energy levels are high; conversely, a transactional leadership style might be required when lazy mistakes continue to be made or safety protocols are not being followed. These issues underscore the harsh reality that there is no…

Sources Used in Document:


 Belcher, M. (2015, Spring). A tale of transformational leadership. The Public Manager, 44(1), 56-60.

Dartey-Baah, K. & Mekpor, B. (2017, Winter). Emotional intelligence: Does leadership style matter? International Journal of Business, 22(1), 41-44.

Doyle, A. (2018, May 17). Top 10 leadership skills. The Balance Careers. Retrieved from http://www.thebalancecareers.com/top-leadership-skills-2063782.

Nanjundeswaraswamy, T. S. & Swamy, D. K. (2014, February). Leadership styles. Advances in Management, 7(2), 57-61.

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