Management vs. Leadership

​The terms management and leadership are often viewed interchangeably. However, there are vast differences between the two — yet each play an essential role in balancing performance in a pediatric practice.

One key distinction between management and leadership is that “things” such as systems and processes are managed, whereas people including patients and staff can be led. By contrasting the two, it allows for a better understanding of the differences, as well as the balance it takes for improvement.

Management is the art of implementation. A manager executes the goals and objectives based upon the vision of the practice, making sure that such things as policies and regulations are followed. This in turn can keep employees motivated, deliver on-time results, ensure smooth day-to-day operations, and maintenance of the budget.

Leadership determines the strategic vision of and shapes the overall culture of the practice. Effective leaders motivate action around a common purpose, and good leaders provide the motivation plus a healthy dose of integrity. 

Managers Leaders
Standardization Innovation
Maintain Develop
Problem Solving Possibility Thinking
Views: Short Term Views: Long Term
Enacts Culture Shapes Culture
Reactive Proactive
How and When What and Why
Doing things right Do the right things
Plans Details Sets Direction
Initiate Originate
Goals/Objectives Vision
Rules Values


While it is important to recognize the differences between leadership and management, it is also key to appreciate that the two have complementary strengths. Both have functions that sometimes overlap, and are needed to make teams and practices successful.

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