Entrepreneurs: Leaders and Managers

For all the entrepreneurs, business owners, and top-level executives out there, you’ve probably thought about which bucket you fall into most often: manager or leader? The importance of each, even the debate over which carries more weight, isn’t new. In my position, I’m often tasked with examining businesses, meeting their management team, and deciding when to partner with a company and when to pass. When businesses have inspiring leadership willing to take risks and listen to the people around them, I’m much more likely to be interested.

Thankfully, managers and leaders are not mutually exclusive from one another. Functionality and philosophy can work hand-in-hand to achieve both daily and weekly goals as well as work towards over-arching vision.

Leaders craft vision and possess the knowledge to set achievable goals and managers take those goals and break them down into action items — much like the Visionary and Integrator roles Jeff and Brendan discussed with EOS Implementer, Mark Winters, on The Second Stage. Managers are often focused on the day-to-day activities of the business — supporting their staff, solving problems, making quick decisions for the benefit of the company, and organizing employees and departments. They may be focused on the ground-level, but they’re also in the position to take the company to new places and find new ways to succeed.

Leaders have ideas and managers know how to put those ideas into action. I’ve often found that leadership teams are completely stuck without the management skills to implement their vision and overcome the obstacles standing in their way.

Leaders have expertise and managers are adept at knowing how to share that expertise with the right people.

Leaders know what makes their business unique and managers are able to market those differentiators effectively. Navigating a company into profitability is difficult and knowing how to strategically position people, products and offerings within a competitive landscape is equally as important as creating those unique characteristics in the first place.

The biggest overlap of management and leadership is passion. Both the best leaders and managers are passionate about building transparency and, subsequently, accountability within their organization. They routinely review processes and procedures to measure effectiveness, include employees in strategic decision-making, and foster an environment where innovative ideas are held in high regard. The biggest corporations in the world thrive off of new ideas, their willingness to experiment and take risks, and a symbiotic relationship between top-level executives and the employees they trust to carry out their ideas and — gasp — make them better.

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