Are you a leader or manager? Sometimes it is really hard to determine. One reason could be because many authors don't distinguish between the two. Leadership versus Management is a great topic to explore.

There seems to be a lot of confusion about what leadership really is. Most of the time, we think that a leader is someone who is at the head of a group or an organization. Perhaps you have equated positions of power with leadership.

Sometimes we even use the term leadership in very informal ways. When someone leads us in a song, for example, or someone leading a guided tour we are using the term loosely, and it causes confusion about the meaning.

Many authors of organization texts use leadership versus management issues as if they are the same thing. However, this isn't the case. They define both terms as people who provide direction. Or, they say that leaders and managers facilitate the direction of others by being the catalysts.

Honestly, the true definition of leadership keeps changing. In areas of high tech business, it seems to be changing faster than any other type of organization. Organizations that are based on charity or community have slower changing definitions of leadership.

One reason for shifting definitions is the fact that people don't have to be physically strong or fit to get to the top. It is more based on personality and skill. It is also based on ideas and thoughts. Whoever has the best, innovated idea seems to be climbing higher in organizations. Remember, that this type of leadership can be shown by all employees. So, all employees can show leadership, even if it is for just a small moment.

How exactly then does leadership versus management? Management is more of a role or position, whereas leadership is an act. A great way to think about this is to look at a mother. When my mom disciplined me, she would always do that counting thing. Being a mother is a role, and one that a mother will have throughout her life. Teaching a child how to behave, however, is considered a leadership activity.

Managers often demonstrate similar abilities. A manager will hold the title of manager, but it is through actions where he/she can show leadership. Being a leader requires a person to promote new directions.

Lincoln on Leadership

Qualities of Leadership

Women in Leadership