Written by Jim Stovall
Recently, in much of the business and success literature, I've noticed a trend toward using the terms manager and leader interchangeably. Nothing could be further from the truth. If you're going to succeed, it's important that you understand whether you're a leader or a manger. If you are an entrepreneur, it's quite likely there are times you perform both roles.
A manager is concerned with doing things right while a leader is concerned with doing the right things. Many organizations have failed because they were launched and grown by a leader who would never turn the operation over to a manger. On the other hand, there are organizations that suffer from having a manager fill a leadership role. Managers are concerned with keeping everything running well while leaders are concerned with finding new things to run. Managers are focused on today and tomorrow while leaders are concerned with the next year and the next decade.
Too often, creative entrepreneurs can get caught up in running their business, and before they know it, their business is running them. It is easy to confuse working in your business with working on your business. Every leader needs to spend some quality time outside the day-to-day operations to take the lid off their imagination and let all the possibilities present themselves.
A good manager can be just as valuable as a good leader, but they are not interchangeable. Managers are often reactive. They handle everything that comes along throughout the day. Leaders are proactive. They make things happen and create opportunities.
My friend and colleague, Steve Forbes, is in the habit of managing his business from his office, but when he leads his organization, he often goes downstairs to a library his late father, Malcolm Forbes, kept in the building. Often, sabbaticals, vacations, or even weekends can be used by leaders to get away from the trees and consider the entire forest. I'm reminded of a submarine in which one person may be looking through a periscope a few hundred yards ahead while another person is looking at the radar which provides a picture of everything for miles around.
If you only manage, you will never grow any bigger than you are, but if you only lead, you may lose what you've already got.
As you go through your day today, understand leadership and management, and make sure you have both areas covered.
Today's the day!