MANAGEMENT HISTORY & Why Pastors Lack Management Skills, More Than Leadership Skills

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 8/24/15.

Sometimes seminary students have a negative view of the term 
“management” because in their minds it has been linked with inflexibility and control. As a result, seminarians often eschew learning management skills.

But it has been my (oft quoted) observation that, “Pastors more often are kicked out of a church because of poor management skills, than because of poor leadership skills.”

To understand how management got a “bad reputation” that it does not deserve, let’s look the history of management.

The historical beginnings of the “management” movement.

Management as an academic discipline began with a mechanical engineer named Frederick Taylor who invented the term “scientific management” (“The Principles of Scientific Management,” New York: Harper & Row, 1913).  Now, because it was a “science” it seemed legit to study in universities and the field of management was born. Today, management degrees (e.g. MBA, MSM, etc.) are some of the most popular degrees in graduate school.

But, many people, this professor included, have problems with Taylor’s “scientific management.”

Not because it is scientific, or even because it is management, but because of what it soon became.  You see, Taylor put the company before the person.  He famously intoned “the worker must be trimmed to fit the job” (quoted by Daniel Boorstin, “The Americans: The Democratic Experience, New York: Vintage, 1974, 363).  To legitimize this he conducted time and motion studies to show how jobs could be better performed.  Of course, business managers were elated at this science, that could prove that by manipulating people, jobs can be done faster and more efficiency (oftentimes however at the expense of the workers self-worth and dignity).

The Rise of “Tactical” AND “Strategic” Management  

Not surprisingly, many critics arose who criticized Taylor’s approach (an approach when came to be known as Theory X).  The critics said that Theory X did not fully appreciate the worker (it didn’t), that it de-motivated the worker (it did) and that it was too inflexible (it is).

The later point, that it was too inflexible, was championed by Henry Mintzberg in a great book called “The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning” (New York: The Free Press, 1994). Some wrongly misconstrue that Mintzberg was saying strategic planning was wrong.  He wasn’t. But what he was arguing is that in Theory X management is seen as being too inflexible, too lock-step, too rigid.

He suggested that “planners” need to be both “right-brained planners” who learn procedures and processes (who I call “tactical leaders”); as well as “left-brained planners” who (Mintzberg p. 394, quoting Quinn) are “wild birds … (who) range throughout the organization stimulating offbeat approaches to issues” (who I call “strategic leaders”)

This approach to management, flexible, innovative and integrated (across several disciplines), is very helpful for the church.  Because it utilizes right-brained planners (tactical leaders) and left-brained planners (strategic leaders), I have called this STO leadership (where O represents the “operational, team-orientated leader).

To foster innovation you need both strategic leaders (who can see the vision) and also tactical leaders (who can plan out the innovation). And, I have observed in my church case study research that innovation is very important for church growth (I even wrote a chapter about “Innovation” that I observed at Solomon’s Porch church in Minneapolis).  In fact, you can find a chart that compares “Innovation” and “institutionalism” on ChurchHealth.wiki

I want to stress the importance of this flexible, inter-disciplinary management.  Postmodern management scholars such as Mary Jo Hatch and Haridimos Tsoukas see management as having to do with the ability to plan flexible tactics, address conflict, recruit volunteers and alter management styles as an organization grows.  In fact, in my consulting I have found that among pastors, leadership principles are usually rather well understood, but that pastors are weak in  management principles.

I say all of this to ensure that as you study management and leadership, you do not dismiss the former in lieu of the latter.  A holistic understanding of both leadership and management is critical for today’s church leader.  And in my case study research, I have found management skills missing more in pastors than leadership skills.

STO LEADERSHIP & Are You a Strategic, Tactical or Operational Leader?

Here is a short 15 minute video introduction to my meta-concept of leadership called, STO Leadership Styles in Ministry: Strategic, Tactical & Operational Leaders … And Why You Need All 3.

After watching the video you can get more info and examples by reading Preparing for Change Reaction: How to Introduce Change in Your Church (“Chapter Two: Why is Change So Difficult to Manage.” pp. 29-48). This book was Co-resource of the Year in Outreach Magazine.  PLUS, on p. 47 is a questionnaire to discover your personal mixture of strategic, tactical and operational leadership.  Though the publisher wants you to buy the whole book (and so do I 🙂 here is a downloadable copy of this chapter with the questionnaire.  It is not for public distribution, so if it is helpful please purchase the book and support research on church growth and health: BOOK ©Whitesel EXCERPT – CHANGE REACT Chpt.2 STO Leaders.

LEADERS and MANAGERS & What Is the Difference?

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “This seminal article explains the difference between leaders and managers … and why you need both. Based upon 80,000 interviews with managers and leaders by the Gallup organization, this research shows leadership deals with setting the vision, while management is helping people develop so they can work together and reach that vision. The church has a lot of leaders – but few managers, so that there’s a lot of visions – without clear plans to attain them. Below are several quotes that define the difference between leadership and management.”

LEADERS: “Great leaders discover what is universal and capitalize on it. Their job is to rally people towards a better future. Leaders can succeed in this only when they can cut through differences of race, sex, age, nationality and personality, and using stories and celebrated heroes, tap into those very few needs we all share.”

MANAGERS: “Managers will succeed only when they can identify and deploy the differences among people, challenging each employee to excel in his or her own way.”

You can be BOTH: “That doesn’t mean a leader can’t be a manager or vice a versa. But to excel at one or both you must be aware of the very different skills each role requires…”

Click on the thumbnails to begin reading…

Read more at … http://hbr.org/2005/03/what-great-managers-do/ar/1

STRATEGISTS & How Visionaries Can Ruin Their Plans By Thinking of Worst Case Scenarios

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “This journal article points out that strategic thinkers ( i.e. those who envision the future) also have an Achilles’ heel, in that they tend to envision more negative reactions then they will actually encounter. This reminds us that having faith and seeing a positive future is more helpful than fearing the negative.”

Anticipatory brain activity predicts the success or failure of subsequent emotion regulation.

Denny BT1, Ochsner KN, Weber J, Wager TD.

Abstract

Expectations about an upcoming emotional event have the power to shape one’s subsequent affective response for better or worse. Here, we used mediation analyses to examine the relationship between brain activity when anticipating the need to cognitively reappraise aversive images, amygdala responses to those images and subsequent success in diminishing negative affect. We found that anticipatory activity in right rostrolateral prefrontal cortex was associated with greater subsequent left amygdala responses to aversive images and decreased regulation success. In contrast, anticipatory ventral anterior insula activity was associated with reduced amygdala responses and greater reappraisal success. In both cases, left amygdala responses mediated the relationship between anticipatory activity and reappraisal success. These results suggest that anticipation facilitates successful reappraisal via reduced anticipatory prefrontal ‘cognitive’ elaboration and better integration of affective information in paralimbic and subcortical systems.

Read more at … http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23202664

TACTICAL LEADERS & It’s Never Been More Lucrative to Be a Math-Loving People Person #HarvardBusiness Review

CHART Tacticians Harvard Business Review

Read more at … http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/09/its-never-been-more-lucrative-to-be-a-math-loving-people-person/