The Two-Sided Nature of Being a Small Business Owner

As a small business owner, you will need to be both a leader and a manager; even if you don’t have any employees. Why? As an owner you will need to lead your business and be able to envision your business’ future. And, at other times, you will need to engage in the day-to-day activities that are necessary to running your business.What are the differences between Leaders and Managers?Leaders

Leaders are typically characterized as visionary, creative, passionate, risk-takers, pro-active, and results-oriented.

Leaders do not like repetitive work.

They do like to lead people in the direction they envision.

Leaders like to encourage different perspectives and to open discussion and engagement.

Leaders focus more on the future, less on the past. Sometimes it’s challenging to keep leaders focused on the present.

Leaders sometimes have difficulties working with others – they are in their own space.

Leaders will find change in the workplace exhilarating.

Leaders may find it challenging to understand people and their motivations because leaders are somewhat self-centered (in the sense that they view the world from their own perspective, not others).

Managers are typically characterized as problem-solvers, people oriented, often more reactive (working from a historical perspective – what just happened rather than what’s going to happen), hard working, time sensitive, and are focused on fulfilling the company’s goals.

Managers like to solve problems.

They like to make decisions.

Managers like closure.

They like to minimize or eliminate conflict in the workplace.

Strong managers like working with people and are still able to keep business and personal relationships separate.

Managers may find handling and managing change in the workplace challenging.
As a small business owner, there are times you will need to exhibit leadership qualities (for example, when starting up a small business; acquiring or merging with another business; when launching new products or services; when entering new markets). And then, there are times where you will need to exhibit management qualities; if not management of people, then management of events.Operating effectively with both strong leadership and management skills can be a challenge for most people. Organically, business personalities tend to either be more of one than the other. However in a small business, both the leader and the manager are one and the same: the owner.To develop skills and strengths in leadership and/or management, first assess your strengths and weaknesses. You may wish to ask those around you – family, friends, employees – for honest and, if necessary, anonymous feedback. Do not be offended by the feedback, use it to help you focus on what areas you need to develop.Once you have identified the weaknesses, develop a plan to deal with them. Hire a business coach or small business advisor. Attend leadership workshops. Hire a manager (full-time or part-time; in-house or out-sourced) if you don’t want that role. Read books on what makes great leaders. Read management books. The most important aspect of developing yourself into being who you want, and need, to be is that you must move forward.Once you have started the process, do not expect that you will be forever changed. Personal change doesn’t typically work like that. The moment you encounter a stressful situation it is likely you will revert to your old (and comfortable) behaviours.The key is to be able to recognize what caused that reversion. Once you recognize those triggers, you can employ tactics to help you hang on to your new, learned behavior (such as relaxation techniques; or practicing your response so many times that it becomes natural to you; writing down bullet points for addressing situations that you need to deal with differently). At the beginning of this re-learning, it will all feel awkward and unnatural, however the more you practice and use whatever techniques and behaviors you have learned to address your weaknesses, the more natural and comfortable it will all feel.Ultimately, remember that your goal is to be able to be both a leader and a manager in your small business.

» Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.