Does Pope Francis Need to Manage or Lead?

Are you a leader or a manager? Do you think that one is better than the other? Is Pope Francis a manager or a leader?

In last Tuesday’s Tribal Leadership Intensive, Dave Logan led a conversation on the differences between leadership and management, and explained why you need both. In a nutshell, if what you’re working on has anything to do with tasks, activities, bullet points, or items that need to get done, it’s a management activity. If it has to do with vision, it’s a leadership activity.

For instance, knowing what I wanted to write about in this blog post was an act of leadership. I knew what I wanted it to accomplish and how it fits into our larger vision of leadership in the world. However, the actual writing of this blog is mostly an act of management. It involved things like developing an outline, reviewing past blogs for themes to pick up on, reading online news sources for relevant stories, reviewing potential titles with the CultureSync team, etc.

What’s the point here? I’m one person and I do activities that are management and activities that are leadership. And while one may be more appealing than the other, I need to do both. And so do you. Leadership and management are bigger than titles. They are roles we fulfill in the moment based on the situation in which we find ourselves.

According to Dave Logan, one of the big places where we get the distinction between leadership and management wrong is when we make leadership more important than management.

Often, because management is associated with the work of checklists, to-do items, and responding to instructions we have a tendency to think of it as boring and therefore less important. However, leadership without management is speaking without results.

Another place where we get it wrong is when we attempt innovation or change from management of activities rather than creating or envisioning a new future.

Watching the activities surrounding the newly inaugurated Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis is another great place to see the differences between leadership and management in action.

In his inaugural address Pope Francis asked for a favor, calling upon all listeners to “walk together, and take care of one another.” Asking also that we “pray for him.”

He went on to say, the role of the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics is to open his arms and protect all of humanity, but “especially the poorest, the weakest, the least important.”

His message was leadership in action – a vision for the future in which all people embrace and take care of one other and where he promises to open his arms to all humanity. Notice there is no checklist, there is no timeline, and there is no to-do list. That’s the stuff of management.

Now that this new Pope’s vision for the world has been shared, his role shifts to managing the Catholic Church to bring the vision he laid out to life.

Perhaps his biggest and first management challenge is going to be appointing new administrative leadership to the Roman Curia. Signs that this is on the top of his list are evident in the fact that he appointed the current Curia leadership to their positions only provisionally. This gives him the time to assess who is needed in these roles given his vision for the Church.

This is a clear example of leadership and management in action together. New vision leading to aligned actions. In the challenges before Pope Francis, we can see that to be a great leader, is to also be a strong manager.

This is the case for each of us as well. One way to improve your management skills is to learn how to manage your time effectively. Learn how by doing a Life Repair Day. Unleash your leadership by taking the 21 Day Challenge and then put together your leadership vision with a management plan to execute it by creating a microstrategy.

Send me an email or post a comment. I’d love to hear what you’ve achieved by combining your management with leadership.

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