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Personal and Organizational Leadership and Why You Need Both

121There’s an entire industry dedicated to helping people become leaders and much of it focuses on what I call Personal Leadership. Personal leadership encompasses those character traits and qualities a person needs to have to be an effective leader. This is especially true of the messages from authors and speakers who come at leadership through a Christian perspective.

And it’s obvious why this is the case. Effective, world-changing leadership always begins with the leader. So it follows that helping people think and behave in a way conducive to being a leader is essential. We might even say it’s the first and most important step in leadership development.

Unfortunately leadership development gurus, and leaders themselves, too often stop with personal leadership. This happens because we believe that the most important thing is, well, the only thing. But unfortunately, this is rarely true in life or in leadership.

You see, people who want to be world-changing leaders, can and will only do so by leading others in the context of movements, teams, and organizations. And it’s in these contexts that a leader needs more than just personal leadership qualities. They need, what I call, Organizational Leadership

Organizational Leadership includes those attitudes, perspectives and behaviors that move people from being a group of individuals to becoming a team, from being disorganized and unfocused to becoming aligned and disciplined, from doing a job to making a difference, and from just existing to changing the world.

What does it take to practice Organizational Leadership? It requires leading in four specific and integrated areas:

Organizational Thinking




Each of these areas is critical to creating and leading teams, organizations and movements. In my next two posts I’ll outline their meaning and what it takes to lead in each.

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Eric Woods #

    It’s true… I think the pendulum had swung to the point of so much thought and energy being invested only in the area of self leadership. At some point we have to do something with it. I’m looking forward to your thoughts in each of these areas!

    March 20, 2013
    • Thanks Eric, I agree we have to do something with it. And really leadership isn’t leadership unless there are people following you and you’re taking them someplace.

      March 21, 2013
  2. Dustin Fenton #

    Thanks Micheal for these concise thoughts it really is perfect timing for this post – I am going to pass this on to my students as we begin talking group dynamics in my leading events and activities class.
    Looking forward on your thoughts of how the four sub areas might influence the others.

    March 20, 2013
    • Hey Dustin, let me know how I can help. You’ve got an important job helping prepare students to make a difference in the world.

      March 21, 2013
  3. Goodnews

    March 21, 2013

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  1. What’s Required to Lead Teams, Organizations and Movements | Michael Perry

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