Is there a difference between management and leadership?

Many of us find ourselves doing both, and, that’s OK!   But, if we could only do one, which one would you do?  It may be important to know where your gifting is …leader or manager?  It may help you decide on your training path.

Some would choose ‘leader’ because that seems to be the important position and the one that sets direction.  However, others may choose to be a manager because they would get to make things happen without the stress of the leaders role!

If you are a leader who wants to manage what others are supposed to be managing, or a manager who thinks he should be the leader, your ministry could be headed for some problems and you, some painful frustrations.

Here are 12 descriptive thoughts I have about the two positions…do you see yourself here?  You may be a mixture of both, then again, you may discover that you prefer one over the other.  Hopefully, this may help us to keep from confusing the two roles because we need both in our organizations.

1.   Leaders try to do the right thing.

          Managers tend to focus on doing things right.

2.   Leaders work to do things better tomorrow.

          Managers try to improve on things done yesterday.

3.   Leaders look at the big picture.

          Managers pay more attention to details.

4.   Leaders focus on effectiveness.

          Managers focus on efficient operations.

5.   Leaders plan using ‘opportunities’.

          Managers plan using ‘process and resources’.

6.   Leaders are usually builders.

          Managers are usually improvers.

7.   Leaders take responsibility.

          Managers use authority.

8.   Leaders “dream”.

          Managers “expedite”.

9.   Leaders welcome change.

          Managers welcome stability.

10. Leaders see ‘failure’ as personal.

          Managers see failure as poor planning.

11. Leaders set the target.

          Managers find a way to get there.

12. Leaders cheer for the manager.

          Managers work for the leader.

Leader or manager?  It is not a matter of importance, it is a matter of gifting!  “There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.” I Corinthians 12:6


Dr. Ron Cline helps build the body of Christ around the world. His background as a pastor, educator, counselor, missionary and author gives him credibility and rapport with the many groups and individuals he and his wife, Barbara, minister to in various countries each year. After 7 years of pastoral ministry in Southern California, and ten years as the Dean at Azusa Pacific University, the Clines’ international service began in 1976 as a short-term opportunity when he agreed to pastor the English Fellowship Church in Quito, Ecuador for two years. Those two years stretched into six years. Following that he served as the president of HCJB World Radio, also in Ecuador, for 20 years. HCJB Global, now Reach Beyond, has media, health care, community and/or leadership development ministries in Latin America, Europe, Russia, North Africa/Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Asia Pacific. Ron and Barb currently serve as Global Ambassadors with Reach Beyond and live in Southern California after living 30 years abroad. They travel from Southern California throughout the world. For the last ten years they have been encouraging, coaching and working with leaders in Indonesia, Cambodia, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Nepal, Mongolia, India, Philippines, Thailand, Hong Kong, Solomon Islands, Western Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Fiji, America Samoa, Australia, New Zealand, Central Asia, USA, Canada, Mexico, Cuba, Haiti, Ecuador, Russia, Malawi, Ivory Coast and South Africa.

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