LeadersManagersThere is so much that has been written on the importance of leadership and management over the years. Some people have pitted one against the other or highlighted one and hated the other, but I believe we need both! I think we’ve all met people who couldn’t manage well, so they ended up leading people all over the place or the long way to their destination. And we’ve also met people who could manage things…to death…because they weren’t going anywhere, but at least things were in order.

John Maxwell is famous for saying that “leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less.” But it does seem that there is a bit more to leadership and influence that could be unpacked. There was a powerful quote that has stuck with me since last year’s International Convention. Dr. Matthew Thomas was teaching and quoted Dr. Myles Munroe: “Leadership is the capacity to influence others through inspiration motivated by a passion, generated by a vision, produced by a conviction, ignited by a purpose.”  Wow, that about does it, doesn’t it?

Leadership is about taking people or organizations places and management is about handling things (literally, mana = hand, anyway, I digress…)  Management is necessary for good leadership because it is what makes possible the execution of the things that move the people or organization forward. In other words, leaders create vision and managers help to carry it out. You could say that leadership is the process of pointing the direction and management is the process of taking care of the details to arrive at the destination. A leader could be a manager and a manager could be a leader.

Leadership is not just the capacity to inspire, but to influence and influence towards a vision because of a purpose: To get something done. But, if you don’t manage well you may have a bunch of inspired and influenced people who don’t know what to do next. Jesus challenged His followers to be good leaders and managers with the parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:21-30). He expected the servants to use both leadership (vision to see the possibilities of what to do with the talent) and management (the ability to carry the vision out successfully) in His story, but one of the servants thought that he could be safe by simply maintaining the asset he was given and was called wicked for doing so. People often confuse managing with maintaining, which may be one of the reasons that people have shied away from using titles like Manager or Administrator and have instead leaned towards things like Leader or Visionary.

Management often comes with a title, not always, but leadership can be done with or without titles. Leadership can be exerted whether or not you hold a title or a managerial position. King David is a great example of someone leading and managing without a title. Even when he was out in the wilderness escaping from Saul and without any earthly authority or title, people came and followed him (1 Samuel 22:1-2). David didn’t get the title of king until long after people had been following him…and he didn’t wait to start organizing people to get good things done until having a title either.

On the other side of that there are people who want the title or management position, but are not leading people anywhere. David’s grandson, Solomon’s son Rehoboam, was like that. He had a title but was led by his own pride and by his group of friends and there is not much to say of his reign besides the decline and loss that the people of Judah suffered during his “maintenance” (1 Kings 12:8-11).

I think, that when it comes to leadership and management, we’re all still learning! Let’s not be like the wicked servant or like Rehoboam who tried to maintain what they had instead of receiving a vision from God and then taking steps to carry it out! Press on to be the leader that God has called you to be, in whatever stage of life you are in. If that means learning to manage better then go for it! If it means being willing to lead without a title or formal recognition for the greater good then go for it!

One great book that I would recommend to you if you want to dig into this some more is The 360 Degree Leader by John Maxwell. Is there a book that you have found helpful in growing in leadership or management?

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