I’m finding John Kotter’s book What Leaders Really Do to be very helpful. Kotter tackles a number of important topics: the one implied by the title, as well as the differences between leadership and management, and why transformation efforts fail.
Leadership is a murky topic, especially in the church. Some overemphasize leadership. Others dismiss it completely. I always find it ironic that the anti-leadership movement often seems to be to be very well led. Irony abounds.
Here are some notes I took from a section of the book that I found particularly helpful:
- Leadership is not about charisma or exotic personality traits, nor does it belong to a select few.
- Most organizations are over-managed and under-led.
- Leadership and management are complementary. Both are needed. Contrary to popular opinion, you can manage and lead at the same time.
- Management is about coping with complexity. Leadership is about coping with change.
- Management is more deductive, and designed to produce orderly results. Leadership is more inductive, and creates visions and strategies, not plans.
- Visions and strategies don’t need to be brilliantly innovative. The best are not.
Leadership isn’t everything, nor is it nothing. I find books like this one helpful as I continue to wrestle with the nature of leadership, particularly within the church.