What is the difference between leadership and management?
It’s a very good question, and in his bestselling book The E-Myth Revisited, Michael Gerber talks about the 4 stages a business owner goes through when becoming a successful entrepreneur.
Today I want to share with you what those 4 stages are, how to recognise where you’re at, and how to transcend to the next level.
What’s the difference between a leader and a manager?
There’s a significant difference between leadership and management, and often I see people leading when they should be managing, and vice versa.
Let’s first get a quick overview of the steps to leadership.
The 4 levels of leadership are:
1. The Technician
Let’s just say you’re a plumber. You’re very good at fixing sinks, taps, installing bathrooms… plumbing stuff. Then you go into business for yourself. You register a business name, get an ABN, and off you go.
As the technician, it’s just you. And you’re very good at what you’re doing.
The next level to aim for is:
2. The Manager
A manager’s role has a foot still in ‘technician’ mode - they’re still ‘doing the do’. But they’re also starting to employ people to help them do their work as well.
At this time, you’ve got a few staff, you’re still on the tools yourself, but you’re spending more and more time in hiring, training, and monitoring others to do it too.
It’s time to become...
3. The Leader
The hardest transition I see business owners make is between manager and leader. The reason why this transition is so hard, is because there’s a big part of our identity in who we perceive we are, and the role we play in the world.
What is a Leader?
Years ago, I ran my own kitchen and bathroom manufacturing business. Nothing made me happier than seeing a finished kitchen. The customers would come home, we’d greet them with some flowers and a bottle of wine, and share with them their new kitchen. I loved seeing how their faces lit up when looking at this new piece of art in their home, that I had helped create.
The biggest challenge is when I started to build a team, and spent less time on the tools. I stopped feeling that satisfaction and fulfilment. Suddenly I was starting to feel begrudging about my role. I wasn’t building kitchens any more, I was on the phone. I was quoting. I was organising material shipments. I was invoicing and paying bills. I was dealing with problems. It wasn’t fun anymore. I had worked myself out of the role I loved.
At the end of the day, I didn’t get a chance to sit back and look at the work I’d created.
But a leader’s job is to lead the team. Their role is to be clear, to set the North Star for the organisation. It’s to get everyone aligned on where we are headed, where we are at right now, and the path we’re taking to get where we want to go.
The Benefits Of Leading
More specifically, the leader’s role is to -
Set the clear vision of the organisation
Set the strategy that’s going to get the organisation to its goals
Be the ambassador of culture, and bring the people along with you. That’s installing the mission, vision and values for the team to ensure they’re engaged and high performing.
It’s about stepping out of the day-to-day, and overseeing your business from a bird’s eye view. Think less busyness, more strategy.
The biggest challenge I see in business owners transitioning from manager to leader is at that point they need to make a significant shift in their mindset and their identity. They need to recalibrate how they see themselves.
Now, this might sound a bit woo-woo, but most of this is done by working on your unconscious. Unconsciously we identify ourselves as ‘the worker’ or ‘the helper’ or whatever role you previously performed.
As a leader, you need to start identifying yourself with the responsibilities of that role. You’re the teacher, the mentor, the conductor of the orchestra.
4. The Entrepreneur
Once the leader has managers and technicians in place, and the business is operating without them physically being there and rolling up their sleeves, it’s time to transition to entrepreneur.
This is where you bring other leaders into your organisation. To lead for you. Your job as an entrepreneur is to set where the business is going to be in 10, 20 years, and/or to position it for sale.
Your role is largely removed from the business - you might meet with other leaders and your Board a few times a year to discuss the business’ direction, but really you don’t have much at all to do with the business at all any more. Because you trust the leaders in your business to keep the bus moving on track.
So there you have it.
Technician, leader, manager and entrepreneur.
Where are you sitting within your organisation right now?
How Can Leadership Mentoring Help?
If you’re at that point where you’re stuck trying to move from managing your team to a leadership position, or if you’re just not feeling fulfilled with your role removed from technician, we might be able to help.
Book a 15 minute ‘scale session’ with my team. I treat my time like gold, and I want you to treat yours the same. How it works is you speak to one of our fabulous mentors at The Game Changers, to see where you’re at and see if we can help you.
If we feel we could be a fit, we’ll book a longer, 1 hour call with me to really dive deep into your business - what’s going on, what opportunities you have, your strengths, weaknesses etc. Then if you’re a fit for our program, we’ll take you through the next steps.
If not, we’ll refer you to someone who can help, and you’ll still have a game plan you can use to accelerate your business success moving forward.