Leadership, management, supervision: Each of these things is not like the others

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If you’re responsible for the performance of a group, you must lead, manage, and supervise. They’re like the three legs of that proverbial stool. You can’t do just one or two. You must do all three if you want to succeed.

You Must Lead

Your teammates expect you to set the example and set the direction. The hard part of this is setting the example, because everything you do counts and there are no timeouts.

You Must Manage

Management work is the work of making things work. You must juggle priorities, deal with tradeoffs, and make choices so things run smoothly. You’ll learn quickly that big problems can develop when little things are out of balance. You can assign some of this work to others, but you’re still responsible.

You Must Supervise

Supervision is the people part of your job. It’s helping people succeed today and do better tomorrow. It’s helping teammates work well together.

This part of the job that makes lots of men and women uncomfortable. You must confront teammates about behavior or performance that creates problems. Either you help the team become more effective or you allow it to implode.

Leadership, Management, And Supervision Are Kinds of Work

Forget that pernicious nonsense about being a leader and not a manager. Your challenge is to help the team and team members succeed. The only way to succeed at that is to do all three kinds of work. Lead. Manage. Supervise. Do them all well.

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