10 Sets of Words We Often Confuse in Leadership, Part 1

By September 30, 2013Church, Leadership

Words

I’ve noticed we confuse a lot of words in leadership. They seem related, and are often used interchangeably, but they are very different. I decided to break this post into two parts, so I will share 5 more in the next post.

Here are words we often confuse:

Possibility with probability – Just because something has a chance of happen, doesn’t necessarily mean the chances are good. In making changes, for example, I want to know what’s possible…what might happen…but also what is probable…what probably will happen. The leader needs to be clear as to the risk involved…not pretending a possibility is a probability…and vice versa.

Opportunity with obligation – Just because I could do something…doesn’t mean I have to do it or even that I should. This is incredibly important for those of us who struggle to say no at times. We could easily become ineffective if we make every opportunity an obligation.

Challenge with impossibility – Sometimes we dismiss the hard work, because it seems impossible, when really, if we are honest, it’s just a bigger challenge than we are willing to accept. We don’t always like the things that make us walk by faith into the unknown. But, really, what’s impossible if it’s of God? I know numerous pastors, for example, who have made change in the church they pastor seem impossible, when really it’s just harder to implement than they care to tackle, so they live with status quo.

Delegation with assignment – Some leaders I know confuse assigning someone a task with delegating. Delegating is far more than that. Giving an assignment is easy. I tell someone what to do and get to walk away from it. Delegating involves much more. It’s ensuring the person assigned a task has the skills, knowledge and resources to complete the task and then following through with them until the task is complete.

Responsibility with authority – This is a personal pet peeve of mine. Responsibility means I have to do it. Authority means I have the actual ability to get it done in a way that matches my skills and talents. If you want me to be a good follower…give me responsibility. If you want me to develop as a leader, and feel like a valuable part of the team…give me authority.

I will share 5 more next time. I also realize all of these could be blog posts of their own. I have expanded on some of them previously. Which would you like me to expand upon?

Add to this post. Maybe even guess some I will have next time (It’s already written, but can always be improved). Can you think of any other words we confuse in leadership?

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Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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