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Do you lead or manage?

There are many articles written about leadership and management and what makes a great leader or a great manager, but how do these terms really relate to small business and the role the small business owner has?

I was listening to an interview recently on a plane, and unfortunately I cannot reference who it was as I missed the star,t but caught the middle part of the discussion and it was all about this topic.

One of the definitions given was well received by me and went something like this.

  • Management is nothing to do with people. It is all about the processes, systems, procedures and tasks necessary to run the business. If you think about it, we do ‘manage’ the execution of tasks, but does this make us a manager or just an effective and strong leader?
  • Leadership is all about the people and how we motivate, inspire, drive, respond and change behaviors.

If you think about people who you would classify as a great boss, would you say they were great because they managed well or lead well? I would expect it would be the latter as this is all about the human side of the business and getting the best out of each and every person within the organisation.

A leader may deliver that inspiring and motivating speech to the team during a tough project or in difficult times, they will coach you on the ways to improve your skills and tasks, they will recognise the great work you do and share it with others. You can’t do this if you are classified as a ‘manager’. Managers manage which is quite clinical; to get the best results out of your people you have to lead them to perform. Should a leader provide that all inspiring advice or talk, or communicate what it is that is expected within the culture of the business, then they then become the focal point of their own behaviours- they are like a performer on the stage where all will be watching them. In this instance it is imperative that they ‘walk the talk’ with their own behaviours or they will soon be undone as a ‘fake’.

So how do you approach your business as the business owner?

Do you see yourself as a leader or a manager, or do you simply use the term manager and actual lead? It does get a bit confusing!

Tony Ozanne

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