Are you a manager or a leader?
Most small business owners make the mistake of thinking that they have to be a great leader and manager to have a successful business. Even worse, they may think they are a great manager and a leader! The truth is that most businesspeople are better at one than the other. Fortunately, companies need both types of skills. The key is to identify which one you are better at and who to hire to complement your strengths as a result.
How do you tell if you are a better leader or manager? In my interview with business leadership icon and author of The One Minute Manager Ken Blanchard, he discussed the characteristics of each position. He believes that difference is that “leaders do the right thing and managers do things right.”
Leaders have vision. They know their direction and can clearly state the goals of their company. If employees don’t know where the company is going, they will never get to where you want them to go. You are a leader if these characteristics describe you:
“I am a good starter, but don’t necessarily like to finish what I start. I like to focus on broad goals and pump up people to get them excited about this. I don’t know what it is, but people always seem to want to follow me and they listen to what I say. I am good at forming strategic partnerships with other companies and organizations. I love learning new trends in and around my expertise. While I always seem to know the right thing to do, I can’t teach others how to do it.”
Managers can implement. They are able to take the broad vision of a leader and break it down into logical, tactical steps that lead to successful implementation. You are a manager if these characteristics describe you:
“I am very deliberate in my workday. I have step-by-step tactical action plans that are important for me to complete. I like to get my work done and leverage other people’s skills. I love to praise and reward the employees that are making a real difference. I can celebrate their success. I enjoy hearing feedback from employees and customers. I am not afraid to confront employees that are not doing a great job and fire them.”
A key to building a successful business is to know which one you are and hire someone that is good at the other. Do you excel at being a leader or a manager? Your employees will tell you what they think. In fact, many profitable companies have both a great leader and manager at the very top. For example:
Microsoft: Bill Gates (leader) and Steve Ballmer (manager).
Apple: The late Steve Jobs (leader) and Tim Cook (manager).
Ben and Jerry’s: Ben Cohen (leader) and Jerry Greenfield (manager)
Facebook: Mark Zuckerberg (leader) and Sheryl Sandberg (manager)
Are you a leader or a manager?
His first book, You Need to Be A Little Crazy: The Truth about Starting and Growing Your Business , describes the ups and downs and emotional trials of running a business. Currently in its fourth reprint, it has been translated into Chinese, Russian, Korean and Thai. Moltz also authored Bounce! Failure, Resiliency and the Confidence to Achieve Your Next Great Success and B-A-M! Delivering Customer Service in a Self-Service World . His fourth book, Small Town Rules: How Small Business and Big Brands Can Prosper in a Connected Economy , will be published by Pearson in March 2012. For more information, visit www.barrymoltz.com