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Are these two words synonyms?

I've seen Leitung for a team-leading role (Projektleiterin), but is Geschäftsführung for executives only?

Any better examples ?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Geschäftsführung is a clearly defined business term - according to Wikipedia it is:

[..]ein Rechtsbegriff, mit dem entweder das Organ oder die Funktion der Leitung einer Gesellschaft beschrieben wird.

(meaning that it's a function or person leading a company)

Leitung can mean something like Firmenleitung, which would be somewhat equal to Geschäftsführung, but is used for all types of leadership, e.g. Teamleiter (team leader), Abteilungsleiter (department leader).

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Geschäftsführung need not be a Leitung. An example are private schools, where Schulleitung=Head Mastership and Geschäftsführung=Executive bla are split. – Toscho Jul 2 '14 at 20:13

No, they are definitely not synonyms.

Leitung means leading role. This refers to people in a lead regarding to certain subjects or other people. This doesn't imply any size or number of the led.

Geschäftsführung is an executive role. These people may decide upon every management aspect.

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leitung means leadership... that's all. no more, no less. – Franz Ebner Jul 2 '14 at 16:07
@FranzEbner Maybe, but I'm not good enough in English to know all the details in the meaning of leadership. – Toscho Jul 2 '14 at 16:09
What I meant is, that "Leitung" doesn't imply the rank of the leader. So a "Leiter" can be a teamlead as well as a leader of a division or multinational corporation, it's just not specified. – Franz Ebner Jul 2 '14 at 16:22
@FranzEbner That's what I wrote in my answer: team lead=lead regarding a certain subject, division lead=lead regarding people. – Toscho Jul 2 '14 at 20:08
You stated, that "Leitung" and "Geschäftsführung" are no synonyms. That's because the lack of information about the "Leitung". But it still could be a "Geschäftsleitung", which would be a Synonym in this, specific, case. A "Leitung" is still no "team-leading" but a "leading" role. – Franz Ebner Jul 2 '14 at 20:30

I just want to throw in here, that Leitung is not only restricted to leadership.

With Leitung people also refer to lines, cords, pipes and similar.
This is of course not the meaning they'd get in your context, but that exists ;).

On a sidenote Die Leitung can also mean the leading (not role, but activity) as in:

Die Leitung übernimmt Herr X. Er ist verantwortlich.
The leading will be done by Mr. X. He is responsible.

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You could also mention "Anleitung", "Umleitung" and such. Finde ich hier nicht sonderlich hilfreich. – Robert Jul 2 '14 at 18:01
@Robert Problematisch ist nur, dass Anleitung und Umleitung anders geschrieben werden als dieses Teekesselchen. Auch war das nur als addendum gedacht, aber zu langfür einen Kommentar. – Vogel612 Jul 2 '14 at 18:04

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