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Is a Consultant a Leader?

Is a consultant a leader? In many respects, I think that the attributes of leaders and consultants are paralleled. However, I would like to point out one major difference. A consultant is temporary whereas the leader must be there for the long haul. I agree that relationship is important in both arenas but more so for the leader. When it comes down to it, the buck stops with the leader not the consultant. The challenge of the consultant is to influence but there is no real necessity to have any one follow. Years ago I read a book on leadership in the ministry that points this out: “Leadership begins with one person — the leader. A thousand people may be led or a dozen management skills exercised, but ultimately the leadership equation may be reduced to a lone person, one individual whom people follow.” The leader must do the hard work of developing deep-rooted lasting relationships that a consultant can never do simply because of his temporary state. Many of the attributes necessary to be successful at one will insure success in the other, but having done both, it is my opinion that being a leader demands unique attributes.


Briscoe, D. S., Larson, K., & Osborne, W. L. 1993. Measuring up : The need to succeed and the fear of failure. Mastering ministry’s pressure points . Multnomah Books: Sisters, Oregon