Supervision Is Not Leadership 

Do you know the difference between supervision and leadership? One has to understand that supervision is not leadership. Leadership is a gift an individual has. On the other hand, supervision is a management style that can be learned. Supervision is easily defined as it is the act of delegating and monitoring to ensure a task is done correctly.
We will make two assumptions for this blog to simplify the distinction between supervision and leadership, The supervisor is not a leader. However, the leader is a supervisor.
Leadership isn’t easily defined. Research shows there isn’t a good definition for it. Experts in the field have defined leadership in many ways. Yet, there is no clear picture when it comes to defining it. Certain individuals believe leadership is motivation while others view it as getting results. Traits of leadership are used in the definition because that is the answer given when people are asked. There are many websites that list the definition of leadership   However, I believe their definitions are just a list of traits people want in their leader. Leaders do have one thing in common; the ability to influence.


Supervision is dominantly delegating and directing. A supervisor ensures a quality product and/or service.  He/she ensures projects are performed in a timely fashion while controlling costs. Good supervisors just get the job done. Many supervisors are controlling.  These types of supervisors believe they are the boss and they control the staff. Courses are available to become an effective supervisor. Some actually border on the skill of leadership. Supervision is the management resources and people to oversee the completion and implementation of the plan.


Leadership determines the vision of a project and motivates the team in the right direction. Leaders influence and nurture the team.

Traits of a Leader

Leaders don’t ask others to do anything they wouldn’t do themselves. They explain the mission and plan. Leaders ask their team for input. They resolve issues. Leaders trust the players. Team members are allowed to take responsibility. This blog shows how a leader allowed the team to make the necessary changes to meet the requirements.

So, you shouldn’t confused supervision (delegating) with leadership (influencing).

Leadership is stated to be a gift. I disagree. It can not be taught. One can learn through coaching and mentoring. You need proper training and guidance. I saw myself more of a leader than a manager when I first started out in management. However, I now realize that truly wasn’t the case. I believe I delegated more than I influenced. I directed the group to achieve the right results because it felt right. However, the team didn’t totally buy into it.

For example, I asked the maintenance team to resolve an issue. I gave the outcome of certain tests they wanted to perform because I already did it in the past. Unfortunately, I took away their desire because in their eyes I was knocking down their suggestions. So, I changed my approach. I nurtured their suggestions which made them feel good. They wanted to resolve the issue. In fact, they did.

I learned to delegate less and influence the team more. The results actually improved. The team felt their input mattered. I realized the power of the team is much greater than the power of a position. I learned supervision is not leadership.

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