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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

02 Jan '13

Leaders and managers and definitions

Posted by T.J. Addington in leaders, managers
There is a lot of talk about leadership and some confusion about who is a leader and what it means to lead. It is easy to define organizational leadership because organizational leaders are visible, have leadership titles (president, lead pastor etc) but it is harder to define leadership at other levels or sometimes recognize that while we may not be organizational leaders many of us are in fact leaders and need to lead well. Consider these types of leadership that are critical to any organization.

Team leader: Anyone who is responsible for leading a team whether  as a paid staff member or as a volunteer is a leader. The team will only be as good as the one who helps them move toward common objectives in a healthy manner. One of the primary but often neglected responsibilities of a team leader is to ensure that what the team is doing contributes to the overall ministry objectives of the organization rather than doing their thing (one of the dysfunctions of teams).

Project leader: Those who drive strategic projects for an organization that require coordination of people, resources, teams and often outside groups or individuals. They may not have direct line authority but they use their influence to bring people together across department lines to ensure the project is successful. In some ways this requires even more skill than a team leader who has direct authority over their staff (unless they are leading volunteers).

Many would call project leaders managers. I prefer the word leader because while they are managing processes they are also leading people to ensure that the project is accomplished. If they don't lead well the project does not get accomplished. People don't like to be "managed" but they do want to be led.

Influence leader: These are individuals who have no direct or indirect authority over those they are working with apart from their personal influence that results from their expertise and experience in a particular area. They lead through mentoring, training and influencing others. A good example of this kind of leadership is the Global Equipping Team in ReachGlobal which trains in the areas of theology, church planting, pastoral skills among national partners globally. They are leaders in every sense of the word but they lead through their experience and expertise. 

Take that one step further. Those who look at your life and emulate your actions because you have influenced them are following your example. You are leading through the model of your life. Yes, leading.

Many people who don't think of themselves as leaders, actually lead. Where we lead we want to lead well. Organizational leadership is not a top down affair but is dependent on those who lead at every level of the organization starting with the leadership that is the responsibility of every one of us - self leadership.