Last week’s post titled The First Step in Improving Leadership for Your Small Business was an overwhelming success as it created an incredible dialog around what is the difference between leadership and management. I want to thank the dozen or more people that commented on the post and contributed to better refining and understanding of these two critical factors to small business growth.
I frequently find that an example can help better illustrate a concept. So this week I thought I might provide an example of the difference between management and leadership.
First, let me start by making an observation that sparked last week’s post. Leadership and management work hand-in-hand. In fact, one of the comments offered was focused on that point. You can be a good manager and a bad leader and a good leader and a bad manager. But, to be an effective leader you need to be good at both!
Here is an example that I run into often in small businesses. The owner struggles because they have reached their maximum capacity from a “span of control” perspective. Usually there is little if any formal organizational structure and a performance system is nearly non-existent.
The problem is everyone is not focused on the main goal of the business and the company is stagnant as a result. The question from the owner almost 99.9% of the time is “how do I get everyone to do what needs to get done?” It’s a fairly simple process, but it requires a blend of both management and leadership. Here is a basic process that I would advocate and begin to assist in implementing.
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- Create a strategic vision and goal for the organization.
- Establish a set of measurable objectives to meet the goal.
- Assign responsibility of the objectives to the appropriate resource(s)
- Communicate your expectations.
- Provide objective methods which performance will be measureable.
- Evaluate performance and provide feedback.
- Set the example by meeting the objectives allocated to you.
- Coach and mentor other when expectations are not met.
- Take proper action when coaching is ignored.
Look at this process and tell me, which steps are management and which are management? Is there a difference?
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- Create a strategic vision and goal for the organization. – leadership
- Establish a set of measurable objectives to meet the goal. – management
- Assign responsibility of the objectives to the appropriate resource(s) – management
- Communicate your expectations. – leadership
- Provide objective methods which performance will be measureable. – management
- Evaluate performance and provide feedback. – management
- Set the example by meeting the objectives allocated to you. – leadership
- Coach and mentor other when expectations are not met. – leadership
- Take proper action when coaching is ignored. – leadership
See the blurring of management and leadership frequently comes from the fact that you have to lead and manage at the same time. So, management activities get mixed in with leadership activities. If you don’t recognize this fact it becomes difficult to improve upon leadership.
Many times people focus on improving management skills because they constitute the mechanical aspect of business and are easily learned. Leadership on the other hand focuses on soft-skills which are much more difficult for most people to master.
Have you experienced a similar situation? Do you agree or not with my categorization of each step? Why or why not?
As I said last week and have said for years, if you don’t master both then your business will not grow in a manner necessary to realize the self-sustainability stage of business growth. Have you mastered what you need to from a leadership perspective? If not, get help. Business coaching is a great method to begin improving and will provide you with a fresh new perspective of your business and yourself!