Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Leadership and management

Someone has asked me about leadership and management saying about the seeming conflict with leadership being about vision and boldness and management being about caution and detail.

First I guess the theory might be helpful. The webpage is quite helpful.

Leadership - which is the role of any board but which is a role which can be partly delegated or at least shared - is about vision and direction. Where are we going? We know that life and organisations change without any intervention - so maintaining the status quo also requires effort - if we do nothing we and our organisations die. Do we want the status quo or would we rather aim for something else, something more? As faith communities I think that we are duty bound to say that we want something more - I don't think anyone has the right to say that what we have is enough. This is not in terms of us as individuals but in terms of what we offer to the world - we need to be striving to be greater than we are.

In faith communities if we have a minister or lay-leader then we have an appointed spiritual leader - how that person chooses to realise that leadership is for them to decide - I would hope that they decide this with the community that they lead. Can this leadership be extricated from the leadership that the congregational committee (board) provide? Probably not and it is often this that creates tensions within our faith communities. The General Assembly has guidelines for developing the partnership between congregation and minister and they can be found here.

It would be great to be able to write that this is how it should be done and this is what works - but as ever our communities are much too varied and interesting for that. In some cases it is the opposite - there is a feeling that there is no leadership and people are either not willing or not able to recognise that leadership (individual or collective) is essential.

With leadership you get direction and with management you get a sense of both planning and implementing. Planning means saying how something will be done and for example what resources will be needed and implementing is then doing it. Management is about overseeing these stages - management does not have to be one person and more often than not in our communities many people have a role to manage a bit of the work.

So for example - one of our visions is to ensure that people are informed of what we are doing to encourage them to become more involved. I manage that bit of what we do by ensuring that we have newsletters, calendars, running a Facebook group, CDs and DVDs and by emailing/ringing people when required. This is not to say that I do it all - but it is my job to make sure it gets done. The 'making sure' bit is the management bit.

So leadership is indeed about vision and direction and management is about ensuring that that vision is followed by travelling in the desired direction. The two complement each other and are necessary for a successful organisation. Whilst we do not need to overformalise things we do need to ensure that we are efficient - because inefficiency hurts people by wasting their time and their energy and sometimes their money. To get the most from the least effort we need to act efficiently.

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