Are You a Communications Manager or a Communications Leader?

communciations leader
Written by Paul Steinbrueck

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communciations leaderI talk with a lot of communications people who are frustrated because they know their organization could communicate much more effectively, but they just don’t have the budget, tools, people, time or permission to do what they know needs to be done.

I believe a lot of that is because many of them are working as communications managers rather than communications leaders.

What’s the difference between communications managers and communications leaders?

Communications managers ask their boss, “What do you want me to do?”

Communications leaders ask their boss, “This is what I think we should do. Can we move forward?”

Communications managers view themselves as leaders over the staff and volunteers who report directly to them.

Communications leaders view themselves as having the opportunity to inspire and influence everyone in the organization including their peers and the people above them on the org chart.

Communications managers are given a budget and told to work within it.

Communications leaders go to the budget decision makers before the budget is set and cast vision for what their organization could look like if it was communicating better and explains what that would cost.

Communications managers work with the people they have.

Communications leaders go out and recruit the people they want.

Communications managers do what they can in the time that they have.

Communications leaders recruit, train, and delegate to others to get more work done.

Communications managers lament that their boss “doesn’t get” social media.

Communications leaders do whatever it takes to help their boss “get it” – cast vision, share case studies from similar organizations, ask permission to experiment on a small scale on their own time.

It’s time to lead!

Every communications person can become a communications leader. If you’ve been managing rather than leading, I hope this inspires you…

Think bigger!

Don’t accept the status quo!

You can have much more influence than you realize!


  1. Have you been functioning as a communications manager or a communications leader? In what ways?
  2. What aspects of your communications do you want to give more leadership to?

Leadership in Communications –> 3) An Inspiring Vision: A Communication Leader’s #1 Tool

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About the author

Paul Steinbrueck

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck.


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