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Effective Leadership Article

Knowing When to Manage or Lead Your Business

When to manage and when to lead

We often hear the words leader and manager substituted for each other. Or they are compared with the leader coming out in a much more positive light than a manager. Are they different? Absolutely! Is one better than the other? Absolutely not!

To effectively run a business, we need to have both skill sets. We wear two hats, and we need to be able to switch them at will.

If you are wondering just what the difference between the two is, let me clarify; a manager is focused on tasks and details while a leader is focused on people and the big picture. If you are inspiring, motivating and engaging people to empower themselves to work towards the results you need, you are leading. It is a relationship built on trust. If you are focused on the transactions, the data, the details, if you can see what needs to be done and you work with the right person in order to deliver the outcomes you need, you are managing. Your relationships are built on respect.

leading vs managing at work

If you are running a business, as an owner operator, do you need to be a leader? Yes, you do.

You need to be able to wear your leader’s hat if you are going to have a vision and purpose for your business. Most entrepreneurs show leadership traits, they have that big picture in mind and they can easily share their purpose with those they deal with. They understand why they are doing what they are doing, their vision is clear.

With the vision in mind, successful business owners know how to communicate where they are going with those who matter, investors, bankers, suppliers and staff. Ideas and innovation are their strong suit, they are always thinking ahead, strategically steering their business, adapting to the environment. They are leading the way.

Management is also vital to entrepreneurs. The leader within outlines the vision, the manager is the one who will make it happen. Implementation is the key, every step of the way on the journey to success requires organisation, procedures and processes. It is the manager who will make it happen. They will navigate the path, map out the targets and goals, both short and long term. They will oversee the tasks to be implemented and they will know who is the best person for the job.

leadership compared with management in business chart

Does your business have a vision and mission statement? Do you know where you are going and how are you going to get there? Are you running your business as both a leader and a manager? As a business owner, you will recruit the one that is needed for each situation as it presents.

You need leadership skills to grow and develop your business, you must closely manage that growth and development to ensure that it will happen.

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