Understand the Difference Between Improving Leadership and Management

Improving leadership with kidsThousands of articles are written regularly on improving leadership.  Many try to distill leadership into a simple list of traits and characteristic of a leader.  The challenge is the use of the terms leadership and management are often confused and intermingled.

While properly executing one is critical to delivering competently on the other, there is a definitive difference.  Understanding this difference is the first step in improving leadership and management.

To me management is the process and mechanical aspects of achieve an outcome.  Leadership, on the other hand, is the ability to influencing and motivate others toward achieving the result.

As I said, the two disciplines are tangled together.  Next week’s post will provide a very good example of how these two disciplines intertwine with each other.

For now, it is imperative that you understand improving leadership and management are different.  You must master both because they’re the major factors necessary in order to grow your business.  Go back and read the previous post The Search for Business Growth Continues or watch the video Small Business Growth Simplified to better understand how these critical factors influence small business grow.

Management, or mechanical aspects, is usually easier to address. So, often small business owners don’t make improving their leadership competency a priority.  This is a mistake that eventually comes back to haunt them later as their business moves further along in the stages of business growth.

But how do you improve leadership?  By practicing it!!!

I know this because I sat in ROTC classes for 4 years during college reading, discussing, debating, and then testing the subtle differences between leadership and management in the leadership lab.  The opportunity to share with others and try new things was invaluable.  When the time came for me to become the leader of my missile crew after commissioning, I already had 4 years of experience.

Unfortunately small business owners don’t have the luxury of 4 years of practicing.  They have to apply leadership right away and on a daily basis or their business suffers.  Business coaching can provide an effective alternative to improving leadership for those that don’t have the luxury of 4 years of practice.  A mentor/coach can provide critique and guidance in your progress to you in improving leadership.

For those of you that have a coach or mentor, share with the other readers how other resources may have helped you in improving leadership?  Would you recommend this as a method for improving leadership skills for other small business owners?  Why or why not?