Mistaken Identities of Leadership

This is a great ditty on leadership by a friend of mine, Tony Steward with “Who Are These Guys?: not famous and okay with it…”

Mistaken Identities of LeadershipPosted by: tonysteward in Leadership

Leadership is a term that seems to be used as loosely as the word love. You love hot dogs and your love your wife, same word but it doesn’t really mean the same thing. The same is true with leadership. People who are in positions of authority, especially in a church, are always called leaders. And if they are doing poorly with their people they are sent to develop their leadership skills. I actually think there are 3 kinds of authoritative positions (sort of like there are 3 loves), and just one of them is a leader.

1. Manager

Managers aren’t really leaders. They do need to have a respect and competence that the people they are managing are willing to submit to. But managers are followed not because they are leading, but because they have perspective to understand their environment and to keep it running smoothly to expectations set elsewhere. Managers are detail people, they are organizers, they might even have a streak of strategic thinking in their blood, but they don’t have to be a leader to do well.

2. Commander

Commanders don’t really care to value people as long as they fall in line with their ultimatums. Commanders have been given command of a group, a team or a staff. They get orders handed down to them and results are expected. There is often a fear and intimidation around these individuals because of the authority that has been given to them. But they aren’t leaders, because if you took that authority away, no one would follow them. People can respect a Commander, but they are rarely inspired by them. A commander is barely concerned with the way things are done (unless it concerns the authorities that preside over them), they are much more interested in the end result. Commanders are the easiest to spot because of all the human collateral that surrounds them.

3. Leader

A leader is more a state of being than a role, even though people with these natural talents often can rise to positions of authority. Leaders are people that seem to effortlessly exert influence from anywhere in an age range or chain of command or organization. A leader is someone you trust beyond their occupational responsibilities. Leaders are disruptive, and are often the centers of crisis from the creation of their ideas and vision. Leaders know results are important, but also care about how something has been done (especially when people are involved). Leaders don’t have to be the smartest (or most specialized) person in the room, they do need to be the wisest and most trusted, with a heavy dose of integrity. True leaders are born, not produced from seminars and best selling books.

© Tony Steward, All Rights Reserved

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