Leadership, Management, & Supervision

WRITTEN April 17, 2015 Author: Rich Atkins

Leadership is hard to define.  Ask different people to define leadership management or supervision, and you will get many interpretations, with each person stressing a different area that they deem most important.  To lead well, you need to discover what you see as important in a good leader.    

Leadership Management Defined by others:
The Collins English Dictionary

Leadership (n) 1. The position or function of a leader. 2. the period during which a person occupies the position of leader: during her leadership very little was achieved. 3. a. the ability to lead. b. (as modifier): leadership qualities. 4. the leaders as a group of a party, union, etc.: the union leadership is now very reactionary.

Warren Bennis

Leadership is a function of knowing yourself, having a vision that is well communicated, building trust among colleagues, and taking effective action to realize your own leadership potential.

John W. Gardner

Leadership is the process of persuasion and example by which an individual (or leadership team) induces a group to take action that is in accord with the leader’s purpose, or the shared purposes of all.

Peter Drucker

The only definition of a leader is someone who has followers.

John C Maxwell

Leadership is influence – nothing more, nothing less.

Leadership and Management


Management is the act or art of managing or directing for a purpose. Management is akin to administration; keeping control. It includes business dealings, negotiation, and arrangements. Always, management uses judicious means to accomplish an end. Synonyms include: conduct; administration; government; direction; guidance; care; charge. 

Supervision is the act of overseeing—inspection, superintendence, oversight.

There are many definitions of Leadership. These definitions share common ideas and terms:

  • Exerting influence
  • Motivating and inspiring
  • Helping others realize potential
  • Setting an example
  • Selflessness
  • Making a difference

1.   Managing means “taking care of business.”

2.   When you supervise you have “super vision” (seeing the big picture), aligning your staff with the organization’s mission, vision, values, and goals.

3.   Leading means bringing people from one place to another —and in many cases, they enjoy the journey.


Leadership brings groups closer to a desirable future state, with an emphasis on character, integrity, and communication.

What leadership skills will you work on today?

This information is from our Leadership & Management Class curriculum. If you’re looking for ways to improve your communication skills, register for one of our public classes.

Photo Credit: JD Hancock


Other Leadership Management Resources:

What is Leadership and What it Means to You?  PaulKeijser.com

5 Ways to Define Leadership Emergenics.com

What is Leadership? Forbes.com

What it Takes to be a Great Leader  TED.com (Video)


Stay Connected

Subscribe to the IC weekly newsletter for tips and advice on your communication skills!

Public Classes

Effective communication is empowering. Get started on your path to being more clear, brief, and effective.

Upcoming Classes