Understanding why we make decisions, who they impact and the effects on ourselves and others are all facets of leadership.
Is leadership different from management? Decades ago, these terms were interchangeable, but not so anymore. They do often share similar skill sets, says Dr. Joel Domingo, associate professor and academic program director of the Doctor of Education in Leadership program at City University of Seattle.
“Both leadership and management involve influence, people and goals,” Domingo says. “While the old adage, ‘you manage tasks but lead people’ still rings true, there are nuanced differences.”
To clarify the distinctions, Domingo suggests you think about your role when making an important decision that may benefit your organization. Those processes of working with the information you have, and decision-making are management skills. At the same time, those skills don’t exist in a vacuum and organizations are made up of people. Understanding why we make decisions, who they impact and the effects on ourselves and others are all facets of leadership.
“Too often we see that people who call themselves leaders often feel like leadership is a place you get when you are promoted out of management,” says Dr. Pressley Rankin IV, academic program director and associate professor at CityU’s School of Applied Leadership. “Leaders can’t plan for the future if they don’t understand what is happening today. They have to be able to see what the organization is doing and how they are doing it in order to help them plan for change.”
Three types of leadership skills
Trying out different facial expressions when listening thoughtfully, making eye contact to enhance authority, or rehearsing the right body language to go with a speech are all things a budding leader might practice in the mirror. But authentic leadership goes deeper and it tends to be expressed in three key dimensions – intrapersonal, interpersonal and developmental.
Honing intrapersonal, interpersonal and developmental skills is important to developing what is known as authentic leadership, Domingo says. “People long for leaders who demonstrate honesty, dependability, compassion and relatability.”
According to Domingo, the intrapersonal dimension of authentic leadership helps answers questions like, “Who am I as a leader, and do I have purpose?” The interpersonal side examines how a person interacts with others and connects with people in general. Some good questions to ask which address the interpersonal side are, “How do people respond to my leadership, and is there a sense of camaraderie and/or respect present?” Developmental questions are simply, “How can I grow through some of my deficiencies or even, can I admit that I need to learn more?”
Drilling down further, City University’s new Master of Science in Management and Leadership, which launched this fall, lets students choose from three focuses: change leadership, human resource management and nonprofit leadership. Each focus area teaches how to effectively make the best decisions, create high-performing teams, develop assured self-management, lead the execution of strategic plans and stand out when the time for a promotion comes.
“Management focuses on the process and leadership focuses on people,” says Domingo. “We wanted to incorporate both management and leadership into the degree as the two are historically seen as complementary to each other.”
Exploring the different facets of leadership to find the right fit for your own aptitudes and goals can lead to powerful impacts and results. Leadership touches all levels of society. Domingo says he sees students in business, government and even the military exploring many valuable topics including change in the school system, inequity in schools and diversity.
Dr. Heather Henderson examined the gender disparities in women superintendents when working on her dissertation in City University of Seattle’s leadership program. Now she’s leveraged the leadership ability she learned and acquired there to become a group leader in the International Leadership Association, the largest association in the world committed to leadership scholarship, development and practice.
Dr. Mary Bethune, another student who completed the same program, took on the topic of generational change in the workplace. With massive numbers of people retiring, how can their knowledge be saved and used in the future? She’s become a change leader in finding ways to preserve that wisdom.
“It is important to know that anyone can be a leader,” Rankin says. “You don’t need a formal title to lead. Martin Luther King and Gandhi are examples of leaders who accomplished great things with no official leadership title. We call this informal leadership and it is something anyone can practice and learn.”
City University of Seattle is accredited through the doctoral level. It is dedicated to serving the working adult and transfer student and has been ranked in the top 50 Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in the nation six consecutive years 2013-2018 by U.S. News & World Report.