In researching the similarities and differences between public and private leadership, Pacek 2010 states that “all organizations, regardless of industry, have different elements and cultures that will end up shaping different leaders.” That being said, there are similarities that exist between the public and private sectors’ styles of leadership. “Leaders from both sectors name similar leadership challenges.” Both private and public-sector leaders list personal leadership and managing/motivating subordinates as their highest priority. They also state organizational operations and performance challenges as third on their priority list (Ferguson, Ronayne & Rybacki, 2016). Bogaert & Van Keer 2009 summarize differences between the leadership of the sectors as “senior leaders in the public sector are more focused on monitoring rules and procedures and feel less freedom in the way they can manage.” Another difference is a study showing that public sector leaders are “more focused on long-term policies and on finding innovative and conceptual solutions and less on short-term results (Bogaert & Van Keer, 2009).”
While it is not surprising that there exists both differences and similarities in the leadership of the public and private sectors, it is very interesting to learn the reasons believed to be shaping these differences/similarities. The substantial nuances of public vs. private sector leadership appears to stem strongly from the “unique setting and context found in the public sector-very much defined by the Constitution” (Ferguson, Ronayne & Rybacki, 2016). Both sectors face comparable challenges in working within changing budgets and missions, but public sector leaders tend to focus more on legislative implemented regulation in regards to efficiently and effectively serving U.S. citizens, while private sector leaders focus more on profits and pleasing their Boards/shareholders.