Management vs Supervision vs Leadership

A picture is worth a thousand words. Here is a diagrammatic depiction of the difference between management, supervision, and leadership. How do you define the difference?

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Profile Photo Steve Ressler

Love the diagram. A big part of leadership, management, and supervision is setting the strategy, the future goal, and the culture. I wonder where that fits in…probably leadership.

Most are fluffy but a good vision and culture is essential. I think of placing like Zappos that have a pretty clear vision of who they are as a company, the culture, and try to build that within

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Profile Photo K. Scott Derrick

Steve – Great points. In building a vision, setting a strategy, and fostering an organizational culture, a key skill of the leader is influencing your employees and your customers that you have it right. If your employees and customers don’t follow along, you don’t have much of chance.

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Profile Photo Kitty Wooley

Neat diagram, but I think this definition of leadership is too narrow for our time. It assumes that all significant “influencing others” activity occurs in the context of a hierarchical organization, whereas a growing proportion of influencing that leads to action occurs in informal networks among people who are behaving as though they are peers. Steve, the way you’re running GovLoop is a good example; I consider what you’re doing to be leadership – in spades – yet you have no supervisory relationship with any of the people who are helping you cultivate the community. Yoram (Jerry) Wind and Paul Kleindorfer have aggregated a tremendous amount of theory and practice related to networks, in The Network Challenge: Strategy, Profit, and Risk in an Interlinked World. To read it is to understand that the traditional mental models aren’t big enough any more. It’s not that the model in the diagram will go away, but it won’t be the only option for exercising leadership in order to foster a vision of change and get things done.

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Profile Photo K. Scott Derrick

Hi Kitty,

Thanks for your excellent comments. I think we’re saying the same thing! At least that’s what I was trying to portray in the diagram. By “Your Position in the Rest of the World,” I mean your position in life, not necessarily your formal position in a hierarchical organization. My intent in the diagram is that the left-hand column represents the role of a leader who has employees in an organization (i.e., the manager). The right-hand column represents ALL of the leadership that one excises that does not involve one’s own employees, which could, for example, include leadership in dealing with peers inside your own organization or influencing individuals on the other side of the world who don’t have any direct connection with your current organization.

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Profile Photo Kitty Wooley

OH … I think we ARE saying the same thing, Scott! I think the orderly rectangle just freaked me out … the way I visualize the right side is more like a fractal, or maybe Einstein on a bad hair day ;).

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