Boss's Work: Leadership, Management, and Supervision
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Since my post on "More leaders v managers nonsense," I've gotten several emails asking about the differences between leadership, management, and supervision. One writer put it this way:
"I scoped through your site to try and find a spot where you define and hang these three together (leadership, management and supervision) and explain how you see them forming the full spectrum of skills required for leading others."
OK, here goes. The work of a boss, like Gaul, is divided into three parts. They're three kinds of work called "leadership," "management," and "supervision."
If you're a boss, you have to do all three. One or two of them won't get the job done.
Leadership work is about purpose, culture, and change. Marcus Buckingham described it best: "Leadership is rallying people to a better future." When you lead you give team members an idea of why your work as a team is important, how things will be different, and what values shape the way you work.
Management work is about groups and priorities. It's the part of the job that keeps the wheels turning, but not spinning. When you manage, you give team members an idea of what needs to be done and when, and how the work will be split among them.
Supervision work is about individuals and tasks. It's the part of the job where you set individual and task expectations, evaluate performance and behavior, and help team members grow and develop. When you supervise you work with team members one-on-one to help them and the team do better.
Without leadership, management and supervision can become drudgery and meaningless repetition. Without management, inspiration and energy can dissolve into chaos. Without supervision you can only hope that people know what to do and do it increasingly well.
Boss's Bottom Line
When you become a boss, you have two objectives: to accomplish the mission and care for the people. To achieve those objectives you must do three kinds of work. You lead. You manage. You supervise. You get not choice about whether you will do all three. The only question is how well you will do them.
Wally's Working Supervisor's Support Kit is a collection of information and tools to help working supervisors do a better job. It's based on what Wally's learned in over twenty years of supervisory skills training. Click here to check it out.