Leadership and Management

Today’s entry is from guest blogger Dr. Steven Goodwin.

After twenty five years as a parish pastor, God called me out of my comfort zone of the parish and out into secular employment as an organization and leadership development consultant. In this new form of ministry, I have worked with hundreds of professionals who work in organizations with annual revenues ranging from the impoverished start up to those with budgets in the billions of dollars per year. As I have reflected on the contrast between the two halves of my career, I have arrived at a surprising conclusion:

Ministers are better leaders, but poorer managers than their secular counterparts. The corollary to that is that business and nonprofits executives are better managers, but weaker leaders.

This is true, I believe, because those in church ministry understand that they are called to lead. Without the hierarchical structures of the workforce, ministers (used in the broadest possible sense) are compelled to become superior leaders who accomplish goals on the basis of their influence and example, not their position and authority. While the word ‘leadership’ is common in the secular work environment, it is generally synonymous with good management, or one’s positional title.

I find myself frequently wondering how much Christian leaders could accomplish for the Kingdom of God if they could cultivate both world-class leadership and Fortune 500 level management skills. Perhaps ministers would do well to seek out fellow believers with great management skills and ask that person to mentor them. It just might be a game changer.

The Rev. Dr. Steven Goodwin is a Lutheran minister who now serves God as the President of TurningWest, a national organization and leadership development firm (www.turningwest.com). He lives in Chino Hills, CA with Lisa, his wife of 29 years, while they support their two children away at college.