Some claim that leadership and management are two different things. Others say it’s absolutely the same, or that you must possess both to be successful.
As a physician-in-training and someone who is passionate about both advocacy and administration, I truly do believe that leadership and management are different. Sometimes, you have to play the role of both, but it doesn’t mean they’re the same things. I don’t think either term should be used interchangeably. But there’s strength in demonstrating both leadership and management.
Leadership is about being a visionary, creating a mission for others to buy into, making positive changes, and elevating an organization to the next level through innovation, creativity, and exploiting opportunities. If you’ve ever served in a leadership position during medical school, then I think you can attest to this definition. My experience serving in multiple leadership roles allowed me to realize that I held the cards in creating opportunity for the group I was serving. I could pursue my vision for the group.
Management, however, provides order, consistency, problem-solving, and processes to reach the end goal. This is so important. Often, you’ll find nurses on each floor with a nurse manager. You may have a chief resident who takes on managerial roles among the resident group to keep everyone on task and put fires out. I found that even in the groups where I served a leadership position that sometimes I had to put on my management hat.
I believe both are integral for any organization to thrive, but one needs sufficient leadership to advance to the next level similar to survival of the fittest. What do you think? Does it matter? Do you exhibit leadership and management, or are you better at one over the other?