The Silver Lake Blog

3 Reasons Why Businesses Need Leaders Instead of Managers

Posted By Dr. James Begotka On October 26, 2017


In a rapidly evolving business landscape, companies don’t just need managers who are strictly concerned with what’s happening right now — they need leaders who can think critically and look towards the future.

Leadership and Organizational Development (LOD) is an emerging field that trains the business leaders of tomorrow by focusing on contemporary theories in business leadership and dynamics at a personal, interpersonal and organizational level.

Here are three reasons businesses today need leaders, not managers. To support these claims, we sought out the wisdom of Dr. Jim Begotka, Director of the Master of Science in Leadership and Organizational Development Program and Assistant Professor at Silver Lake College.

Leaders are collaborators who promote contributions from everyone.

While “leader” and “manager” can sometimes be used interchangeably, these words have entirely different meanings in a business context. Dr. Begotka explains how managers manage resources and processes, while leaders lead people. He goes on to admire the leaders who overlook personal ego and “compel [others] to contribute [their] own gifts and talents, and reach beyond to discover new heights.”

Technically speaking, Leadership and Organizational Development (LOD) programs differ from Management and Organizational Development (MOD) programs in that they emphasize the collaborative nature of organizational settings and nurture leaders who both challenge and inspire their teams, instead of simply giving out rules to follow.

“We want our program to appeal to professionals who are organizational leaders in ALL industries,” explains Dr. Begotka, “What is consistent in the program from past to future is that we are a master’s in science graduate program, which enables us to go deeper into specific content and knowledge areas than say an MBA would allow.”  At Silver Lake College, we align our curriculum to “highly reputable standards of leadership:”

21st century businesses need someone to lead them toward the next big thing.

While the term “leader” isn’t new to businesses or any other organizational entity, leaders are in particularly high demand right now because they have the capability to take a company in a new direction. With the ever-changing digital landscape and booming millennial, digital-consuming demographic, businesses need a bright idea or a shake-up, as opposed to just crisis management. However, Dr. Begotka defends the importance of both managerial and leadership traits. Managers deal with problems, leaders look for opportunities — success is the balance of both.

In fact, Dr. Begotka heavily emphasizes balance and situational leadership within the following factors:

  • Leadership Stance: What are the leader’s competencies, perspectives, experiences, goals, motives, technical knowledge, etc.?
  • Team Stamina: What is the team’s willingness (motives, desire, incentives, values and ethics) and ability (skill, knowledge and ability) to perform the expected tasks?
  • Context: What is the context in accordance to processes, systems, culture, level of competition, market share, profits, strategic direction and tactics, and the sustainability factors, etc.?

Successful business leaders today are high-risk, yet high-reward.

Dr. Begotka states it beautifully when he suggests, “Effective leaders bring effective change management philosophy and tactics, trusted vision and shared goals, demonstrated examples of institutional values, values-based character, and a culture that is based on professionalism and trust all of which contributes to the propensity for individuals, teams and the organization to achieve sustainable levels of high performance.”

Focusing on the idea of change management, let’s consider the evolving digital economy in correlation with the millennial-workforce: The digitization of today’s economy means that a great business leader has to know how the modern generation thinks and interacts with media and technology. Because of this, leaders can’t be afraid to take risks — whether that’s by incorporating a bold new social media campaign or a product with cutting-edge technology. A lot goes back to adaptability and flexibility. If it’s all done well, a leader has taken the company toward a level of expansion that would have never come to pass under a manager’s direction.

Additional resources for prospective SLC students.

Dr. Begotka has spent his career observing, studying and researching the topic of leadership. There are several resources regarding the topic, but he was kind enough to share a few of his favorites:


  • “Leadership: Theory and Practice”, Peter Northouse
  • “Resonant Leadership”, Boyatzis and McKee (2005)


  • “Training Future Manager-Leaders”, Buchen (2005)
  • “Flexible Leadership: Creating Value by Balancing Multiple Challenges and Choices”, Yukl and Lepsigner's (2004)


Silver Lake College, a private college in Wisconsin, offers a graduate program in Leadership and Organizational Development, which launched in Fall 2017 — designed to both accommodate current professionals’ working schedules and give them the tools they need to become dynamic business leaders in Wisconsin and beyond.

If you are an individual who encourages collaboration alongside managerial strategies, then we encourage you to take the next step and explore the plethora of resources provided by Silver Lake College’s Leadership and Organizational Development faculty.

If you’re interested in learning more about Silver Lake College’s Leadership and Organizational Development graduate program, we invite you to download our new, free guide - A Guide to Getting Your Master’s in Leadership and Organizational Development.

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Topics: Business & Leadership

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