Are You Leading or Managing?

Perhaps you have heard the idea that “management is doing things right, but leadership is doing the right things.” Or likewise you may have heard that “Managers manage tasks, but leaders lead people.” I have been a student of leadership all of my adult life. Leadership development is a journey and I am constantly seeking ways to sharpen my skills so that I can maximize my influence. “Leadership” and “Management” are often contrasted as you study the subject of leadership and frankly management is always viewed as the inferior skill. John G. Miller challenges that notion. He points out that good management of people day in and day out is what makes an organization outstanding. He makes his point with no less respect to the value of leadership but views leadership and management as equally important.

For example he points out the way that people describe a good supervisor:

My boss communicates clearly what I should do.

He talks with me and listens to me.

When I get it right, she praises me.

He tells me when I am off track.

I was trained and coached.

She spends time with me.

He shows me respect.

These affirmations are all items that effective managers do day in and day out. If you have responsibility over staff, volunteers, or tasks then you are in a perfect position to strengthen the organization and ministry that you lead. Therefore, regardless of your title, regardless of your level of leadership, learn to manage your responsibilities well and you will ultimately be praised for maximizing your leadership.

Adapted from Chapter Twenty-Five of John G. Miller’s Outstanding; 47 Ways to Make Your Organization Exceptional.