Leadership or Management? Small Businesses Need Both

While many people equate leadership with management, they are two separate things. These distinct categories work together in tandem to help drive small businesses to success. Leaders are often great at directing and organizing people, but they aren’t the best at addressing day-to-day business issues like HR and Operations.

A business with only management staff and zero leaders will fail because there is no one to motivate change and inspire the actions necessary to catalyze and push a business forward. Identifying and achieving the right balance between leadership and management is an important step in assembling a team for any small business to prosper.

Develop well-rounded individuals

Having managers that can lead and leaders that can manage will go a long way. How does it play out? Break it into easy to understand pieces — you want your employees to learn to manage things and lead people at the same time.

Items that fall under the management heading consists of taking care of things like costs, inventory, cash flow, information systems, operations, facilities and processes. Great leadership on the other hand is responsible for guiding the team, driving the vision, leading team members and influencing customer perceptions. Achieving the right overall workplace balance will create a positive and productive corporate mindset and culture. But first, you’ll need to understand what both your customers and team members want.

Practice true leadership

A business owner is responsible for ensuring a business’s success, and rousing people’s excitement so they can share in the value of a business’ mission. But sometimes leadership is viewed as a step-by-step business strategy, and this doesn’t always work. Without the proper team members performing the right actions, leadership just can’t win. People will only learn to do just as much as they need to meet expectations and keep their job, but beyond that, it can be difficult to motivate them.

True leadership means understanding your customer’s needs and rewarding your team so that individuals will be fired up to do everything they can to contribute and make your business a success. You want them to share in your vision and to do things because they want to, not because they’re instructed to.

Work on the business, not in it

As the business owner, you’ve got to look ahead and set your sights on what you want for the future, then actively work towards achieving that goal. If you’re stuck in the mud taking care of everyday drudgery, there’s no time to move that agenda forward. This is why it is important to delegate responsibilities and know when, how, and whom to ask for help.

Most small businesses cannot exist as a one-person show — that person will exhaust him or herself and the business will probably wither away. Too often small business owners try to do everything themselves, and the whole business suffers as a result. Instead of controlling every aspect of the business, look for qualified and competent workers who can take care of the day-to-day tasks and operations for you. With a strong team in the background, you will be free to move ahead, grow, and achieve the goals that you’ve set for yourself and your company.

CEO & Co-founder
Rob Nixon is the CEO and co-founder of PANALITIX, a subscription-based community for accountants that includes access to a content library of resources, education courses, client monitoring dashboards and marketing automation tools to improve performance, train better teams and secure more clients. Follow him on Twitter: @therobnixon or @panalitix.

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