Perhaps because they are both skills attributed to C-suite executives, leadership and management are sometimes used interchangeably when people think about a business education. However, in practice, these are two distinct skillsets for business leaders to learn and develop - and both are essential for success.
Management positions control key decisions and day to day operations across one or more units within an enterprise. Managers are responsible for setting business goals, planning how to achieve them, and overseeing their successful execution.
Leadership, on the other hand, is all about people - and people can’t be ‘managed’ like a spreadsheet or a supply chain! Instead, people need to be led. That means inspiring, coaching, and mentoring your team in a way that reaches them as individuals as well as a group.
In a sense then, management and leadership are two sides of a coin: on the management side, you’re responsible for setting and achieving plans, and on the leadership side, you’re motivating the people responsible for executing them. That’s why the best executives tend to excel at both - and why an education in both can help your career take you to the top of any organization!
Every business needs skilled leadership and management professionals, although the specifics of each company’s organizational chart may vary by company type and size. In the c-suite, virtually every company has at least a Chief Executive Officer (CEO), but many larger companies also have Chief Operations Officers (COO), Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs), Chief Financial Officers (CFOs), and other executive-level positions. Examples of other management-level positions include directors of sales, communications, development, public affairs or other key business areas, as well as project managers with narrower responsibilities for specific teams and goals. Regardless of the level of the role, any manager overseeing a team will need leadership skills to complement their management capabilities.