I have enjoyed learning System/Organizational Theory. I found if difficult though to separate leadership from management. Both leadership and management use the same skills. And both are key to successful "office holding". (I am using this term in this blog because leadership and management become even more confusing when we equate an office to either of these two terms.)
Another problem in discussing this issue with "office holders" is the emotional reactions that happen to people in this discussion.
The third challenge is to create a definitions that is so simple teachers and pastors can use it to teach first graders. I am a strong believer in problem solving you, "Simplify, Simplify, Simplify, and after the solution, Extend, Extend, Extend as far as you can to prepare for the future."
So on my job I observed that most of the frustration of workers expressed on breaks was the "office holder" managing when the worker needed leadership. But I did not find anything in my past reading that addressed what I was seeing and hearing. So I made the following definition that I now use.
Managing is getting through today.
Leadership is: 1) Purposeful Reminiscing, 2) Comparing Activities to Mission and Value Statements, 3) Preparing for the Future and Making Sure You are Relevant in the Future.
Just like you need two feet, you need to both management and leadership. In fact, you will manage most of the time. But it is important to also spend a portion of each day working on leadership. Now the fun part. We all have been through school. I am going to use this common experience to separate managing from leadership. I also titled this "Leadership and Purposeful Reminiscing" because this skill is missing in most leadership theories.
Example 1) A teacher tells students to get ready for a writing assignment. Several students go to the pencil sharpener. Most have one pencil. Several students have two or more pencils. Which students are managing and which are leading?
Answer: The students with one pencil are managing. The students with two or more are leading. The students with one pencil are "Getting through the day/assignment". Students with two pencils are preparing for the possibility that one pencil will not be enough or for a future assignment.
Example 2) Two teachers are teaching the same lesson. One teacher explains the material in the book. One teacher explains the material in the book, and points out a previous lesson that is similar and as the lesson is finished tells the class about how this lesson will help them on the next lesson. Which teacher is managing and which is leading?
Answer: The first teacher is managing. And this is okay. You do not have to connect every lesson to the past and to the future. The second teacher is leading. By purposeful reminiscing she helps the students connect the past lesson to the current lesson. And when she connects the current lesson to the future lesson she helps students to connect that which they might miss on their own.
Example 3) The teacher assigns a student to be the line leader at the front of the line as they go to recess. He stands at the back of the line. The class walks single file out the door to the playground. Who is managing and who is leading?
Answer: Trick question. Both are managing. They are just getting through the day. But this shows how our regular definitions are not useful for this discussion. But it also makes a great example for another point. Just because you are at the head of the line does not make you a leader... or manager. The teacher is the head manager from the rear of the line. The student is a secondary manager in this situation.
Let's return to the second example and look closer at the issue of "Purposeful Reminiscing". When an organization enters a reminiscing phase organizational theorist tell us that the organization is in decline and may be close to death (irrelevance to their community). Purposeful Reminiscing is not the same as reminiscing. Purposeful Reminiscing is connecting the specific event in the past to today in a way that helps us become relevant again.
At Washington we use purposeful reminiscing as a structure for revival. My wife, and tour guide Marsha, noticed Ellen White does not use the term "church" for the building at Washington. She uses the term "Meeting House". The early members did not write they were going to church but that they were going to "meeting". In our early denomination history the church was the people. This is important in how we function and may be a key for revival.
If the church is a building, then you must hold meetings in the building that draws visitors to your building. If the church is the people, then their calling/jobs are just as sacred as the pastor's in that the people they meet on the job and in the community are different than a pastor would meet. And anywhere a member goes, the church goes.
This purposeful reminiscing tells members there are people God has ordained them to meet in this end time because they are the church. And since they are the church they are relevant in the present and for the future of the church. And when a pastor reminds them of this, the pastor is leading because the pastor is reminding them of how the church is relevant and may be comparing the church's activity to it mission and value statements.