Leadership and Command

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Leadership and Command
Andrew Blaine, Business Consultant, South Africa

There is a difference between guiding and command, both of which could be termed leadership.

Leadership, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, has two meanings. This fact is causing confusion in the discussion forum and needs to be clarified.
Leadership (guiding) applies to the person who is "showing the way", whether this is the point man leading followers home, or the guy holding the ball on the sports field. Each are guiding and showing the way forward and, in this instance, leadership is of short duration and involves little if any command.
Leadership (command) applies to the person responsible for designing and implementing a system of management in an organisation. Normally, this relates to the medium to long term management and "leading" of other people on a journey into the future as imagined by the "Commander" or command group, often referred to vas the "leader group".
I hope this topic shows two things;
1. The different aspects of leadership, and
2. The need for careful consideration and detailed definition, prior to choosing our terms.

An example:
1. Company "Widgets Worldwide" manufactures widgets and supplies them to customers. It has a factory in Kaalgatfontein and a Distribution Centre in Kakplaas.
2. The CEO commands both centres and leads both teams through subordinates. Using regular meetings she counsels the Site Managers in the conduct of their duties. In this process she leads the operation.
3. An order is received from a salesman. The salesman leads the process by regularly checking on progress, ensuring the order is delivered and addressing problems and satisfaction of the sales process with the customer. This is command.
4. Also involved in the process are the heads and management of both the factory and distribution centre. They monitor the process and advise where necessary. This is leading the process through guidance because the leadership is not direct.
5. Johan van Plonk is a machine operator involved in the production of the widgets. He leads the process during the period when his machines are operating. This is leadership by command. However, he has an apprentice under his mentorship who will actually operate the machines and command the process. By monitoring his apprentice to ensure production of usable widgets without mishap, Johan leads his apprentice by guiding him in the operation of the machine and ensuring that the widgets produced meet the necessary quality standards.

I hope you now understand the difference between leadership through both guidance and command?

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