Leadership in Communications Q & A

question and answerBecky Beery (aka @tijuanabecky) posted a couple of great questions last week to the Are You a Communications Manager or a Communications Leader? post. I thought they were big enough to do a whole blog post on on. Which got me thinking… why don’t we pause and just do an open Q&A on the topic of leadership in communications? So, that’s what we’re going to do. Let me kick it off with Becky’s questions.

1) I have to wonder whether or not it’s my right to speak up or lead..some situations you need to be on the manager side while others you can do the leader side.

OK, I guess that isn’t actually a question, but it begs the question, “Should you always be a communications leader or are there times when you should just manage?”

I think it depends on how you define leadership. I think leadership is making the choice to do your communications job in the way that will help your organization best accomplish its mission. Sometimes that means speaking up and challenging the status quo. Other times challenging the status quo would undermine the organization’s mission and the best choice is to do the best you can with what you’ve got.

The key, in my opinion, is you never do anything out of obligation but always take ownership of the choice you have in every situation to either go with the quo or push for change.

Your thoughts?

2) I sometimes feel that you’re supposed to manage for awhile while you’re earning the right to be heard and be trusted going beyond what you’ve been given. Is that right, or is it always right to lead vs manage?

I don’t know that you need to earn the right to speak up, but I do think you have to get to know the strengths and culture of your organization before you can develop a vision for its communication. That takes some time. I also think the more you prove yourself you can be trusted and know what you’re doing the more receptive people will be to your ideas. That doesn’t mean you have to wait to share your ideas, but be prepared to have them shot down or ignored until you gain more credibility.

What do you think?

Thanks again for your questions Becky!

What other questions do you have about leading communications in your organization?

I’ll be checking in frequently throughout the day to respond as quickly as I can. But don’t let me be the only one who responds to questions. You all have experience and insight and can respond as well.

5) You Have Not Because You Ask Not <– Leadership in Communications –> 7) How to Lead Your Facebook Page to Breakout Interaction and Momentum

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, elder of CypressMeadows.org, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.

10 Responses to “Leadership in Communications Q & A”

  1. These are some great questions so far! I definitely agree that it's a fine line between balancing the role of a manager and the role of a leader. Sometimes I feel like the term "manager" gets a bad rap, but it's an essential role in carrying out the vision of the organization. How would you define the difference between those roles?

    • PaulSteinbrueck Aug 26, 2011 at 12:38 pm

      Dan, I'm probably helping to give "manager" a bad rap when I write posts like this on Live Intentionally – Be a Leader not a Manager! http://bit.ly/paNI9N :D

      Did you see the second post in this Leadership in Communications series… Are You a Communications Manager or a Communications Leader? http://occ.tc/oRrM8d That's how I define the difference between a manager and a leader. What do you think?

      • That's what I was thinking too, that leader was good and manager was bad. Is the term Manager or Leader that business' give as a title what's you're actually doing, or can you have a leader mentality while being a manager and vice versa? Is it about your actions, your title if you have one, or both?

  2. joyfuljenicreative Aug 26, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    I see Becky's point about #2. My communications team is older than I am and our Director is younger than I am. I had the whole young grasshopper story in my head, but once I understood the culture and how we operated as a church, I felt like I could step up into that leadership role.

    I have always loved the phrase "Lead by Example" so that helps me move from managing (do this, do that) to leading (I'm really excited that our team is doing xxx to help xxx ministry.)

    Plus, sharing ideas with your team is a way to lead by example. Instead of 'I"m working on an idea, I'll let you know when I need to you do something" becomes 'Here is my idea, what do you think? Let's put a plan together as a team.'

    • PaulSteinbrueck Aug 26, 2011 at 2:22 pm

      I love your team mentality! Not only will you invariably end up with a better plan when you develop it with a team, but they take ownership of the idea & the plan. And if it's something that goes beyond the scope of the resources or authority you currently have and you have to "make the ask" to your boss or your board, it'll make a big difference when they see the entire team is behind it.

  3. If I understand what you're saying correctly, for Q1 you need to be discerning about what to do, and for Q2 we should speak up but our ideas may not be accepted until later when we get more credibility. That makes sense, and definitely helps! Thanks Paul!

  4. Interesting questions, and I am torn. Could we inject culture? I believe culture as a lot to do in determining if one should lead or manage. Some people depending upon the cultural group needs managing because of their upbringing and mental tapes. It is they way they were raised. In reference to the second question – it depends upon discernment and wisdom of the Lord.

  5. I think it is possible to be a good Leader with out even being a manager at all but it is NOT possible to be a good manager without being a good leader.

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