Be a Leader not a Manager!

communciations leaderYesterday I published a blog post on Christian Web Trends titled, Are You a Communications Manager or a Communications Leader?

The post was motivated by my observation that many organizations are subpar at communication because the people making the budget and personnel decisions don’t really understand what it takes to communicate effectively online and the people doing the communicating feel like they are stuck following orders using the resources, people, and time given to them from “above.”

Of course it’s not just communications people who find themselves in that situation. Everyone can. (Unless you are Supreme Leader of a sovereign monarchy)

The question is, are you going to view your job (or volunteer position) as that of a manager or a leader?

Are you going to ask your boss, “What do you want me to do?” Or are you going to ask her, “This is what I think we should do. Can we move forward?”

Are you going to simply accept the budget, staff, tools, time, and authority you’ve been given and try to make the most of it? Or do you see bigger possibilities, and are you willing to try to convince those around you that there’s a better way?

Nobody knows both the inefficiencies and the opportunities your position holds better than you.  To just play the cards you’ve been dealt will only frustrate you and is not in the best interest of your organization either.

If your boss (or board) really wants to succeed, he doesn’t want you to simply follow orders either. He wants you to solve problems, be innovative, and recognize new opportunities. He want you to lead.

Let me leave you with this excerpt by leadership expert Warren Bennis

  • The manager administers and the leader innovates.
  • The manager maintains, the leader develops.
  • The manager accepts the status quo; the leader is always questioning and challenging.
  • The manager focuses on systems and structure; the leader focuses on people.
  • The manager relies on control; the leader inspires trust.
  • The manager has a short range view; the leader has a long range perspective.
  • The manager asks ‘how’ and ‘when’; the leader asks ‘what’ and ‘why’.
  • The manager imitates; the leader originates.
  • The manager is a copy, the leader is an original.
Where do you see problems that no one is addressing? Opportunities that no one is jumping on?  Where do you need to step up and lead?

9 Responses to “Be a Leader not a Manager!”

  1. Good stuff. I especially like this:

    Are you going to ask your boss, “What do you want me to do?” Or are you going to ask her, “This is what I think we should do. Can we move forward?”

    • Thanks John! As CEO of OurChurch.Com, I can’t tell you how huge this is with the people I lead. I want people on my team who will tell me the best way to do their job, not the other way around.

      • Your post was timely, Paul. My pastor had asked me to put something together so I could speak on a Sunday. I had something ready and kept waiting for him to have me do it. Months have gone by and other guest speakers have been invited to preach, so I finally approached him the other day. He said he’d been waiting for me to come to him and say, “Here’s what I have. When can I speak?”

        It would be easy to pass that off as a simple miscommunication, but I knew there was something more … something I had missed. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it until I read the line in your post that I quoted. All this time, I’d been waiting for him to tell me what to do.

        I think it’s a given that we cannot be effective leaders if we first don’t understand submission to authority and how to follow leaders who are over us. But there’s a time to follow and a time to lead. It’s easy to spiritualize the concept of humility and submission to authority as: “I’ll just sit here until my pastor tells me what I should do.”

        Thanks again!

        • John, thanks for sharing that great example. Way to go & take initiative!

          Great point about how we still need to be respectful and submit to authority, but that doesn’t mean we keep our mouths shut and sit on our hands.

  2. Thank you so much, you’ve hit the nail on the head. My working life has been about two types of people; those who inspire change and inspire their subordinates to greatness and those who maintain the status quo just to live in peace with their clueless superiors. The later spent more time looking over their shoulders and getting into turf wars rather than just finding ways to improve the job.

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