A Senior Leadership Team or a Senior Management Team?

28 Day Blog Challenge – Day 14

I have recently been working with staff in schools who have used both terms Senior Management Team (SMT) & Senior Leadership Team (SLT) interchangeably to describe their senior team of staff. So which is it?

You could argue that “SLT” is just the new term for the same team which was once termed the SMT. But whether you’re a senior team of staff working in the public or private sector, I would suggest that what you call yourself is a reflection on how you see your roles.

When attempting to define a leader, you may be able to recognise one, but there doesn’t seem to be a single template to define one. In a previous post about emerging leaders, I suggested their top 3 features were: Influencing, Inspiring and Ideas. In Practising the Art of Leadership I discussed Communication, Empathizing and Building followers as key qualities. I am sure you have seen leaders who have displayed these qualities and many more.

Managing is about getting things done. Owen suggests this involves a combination or IQ, EQ (emotional quotient) and now PQ (political quotient). He contends that the latter is at the heart of managing – using power to make things happen through others.

I don’t think it’s as simple as saying ‘leaders lead and managers manage’. I would suggest that leaders can manage, but not all managers can lead.

So when a senior team of staff come together to run a school, an organisation or a business, do they believe they are leading, managing or both?

Furthermore, how do the rest of the staff view the members of these teams?

And … how much does this matter?

This blog may ask more questions than it answers, but I believe this area is evolving as new responsibilities are added to job descriptions.

What’s your experience?


(Photo courtesy of Graur Codrin )

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2 Responses to “A Senior Leadership Team or a Senior Management Team?”

  1. Julia Skinner Says:

    Excellent post! I have been guesting on @terryfreedman blog & have written about L & M & the difficulty of the definitions!

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