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Traction Inc.

31 Jan What’s The Difference Between Business Leadership & Business Management?

Posted at 9:00:00 AM by Chris Hallberg

What’s The Difference Between Business Leadership & Business Management-.pngBusiness leadership and business management are often used interchangeably, but the two terms are actually quite different. As anyone who has been to business development training knows, what makes the two terms distinctive really matters to the way you run your company.


At their most basic, business leadership and business management refer to methods of overseeing your employees. A leader is someone who people follow. Their employees believe in them and trust where the company is going. In this sense, leaders inspire in such a way that employees behave in the best interests of the company (or what they perceive to be the best interests) at every turn. 


In contrast, managers are more hands on. They direct their employees in the day-to-day operations of the company, create policies and procedures, set schedules and make sure the company runs like a well-oiled machine.


In order to be successful, you are going to need both business leadership and business management skills.


Are All Good Managers Good Leaders?

Being a good manager does not necessarily mean that you are a good leader, and vice versa. In many ways, business leadership is conceptually different from business management. The person who makes goals for the daily operations of a company may not be able to comfortably identify where a company could or should be headed. In comparison, leaders help companies change and evolve with the market and the economy. Unlike managers who focus on refining existing operations, leaders are more disruptive and focus more on the big picture. They originate ideas instead of working off established systems. In many ways, the differences between managers and leaders manifest in goal timeframes. Business management looks at the short term while business leadership takes a much longer term outlook.


In other words, leadership is more about planning and “the next day” rather than just managing employees in the moment. In contrast, managers take orders. While the latter may have to be creative in how they break tasks down, how they assign work and how they acquire the supplies to turn those orders into reality, their goals never really change, nor do they have the ability to impact those goals. Think of it like the military – a general gives orders to his or her troops in an effort to win the war, whereas a sergeant works on directing his troops to fulfill the general’s directives. In this example, the general is the leader and the sergeant is the manager. Another good example comes from the construction industry. Architects act as leaders and create blueprints, while foremen are the managers who carry out those plans.


How to Become More Than Just a Manager

Now that you understand the difference between business leadership and business management, it is time to take a hard look at where you currently stand. As you oversee your company’s operations, consider where you add value. Do you hold your employees accountable for hourly productivity? Do you focus more on the “when” than the “why”? If you answered yes, you may be focusing more on business management than business leadership – and that’s a problem.


If you want to become more than just a manager, you are going to need to evolve your leadership skills. “In the new economy, where value comes increasingly from the knowledge of people, and where workers are no longer undifferentiated cogs in an industrial machine, management and leadership are not easily separated,” explains the Wall Street Journal. “People look to their managers, not just to assign them a task, but to define for them a purpose. And managers must organize workers, not just to maximize efficiency, but to nurture skills, develop talent and inspire results.” It takes practice to be able to identify opportunities and chart paths for attaining those goals. Business development training can help.


Getting Started

In order to get the training you need, you could enroll in business school or work with a mentor, but sometimes a full-time business coach is a better (and quicker) option. Choose the right one and you will enjoy a trusted confident who helps you pick up the slack and advises you on how to be a better leader. Running a business or department is hard work filled with lots of assumptions. Having an objective business coach on your side streamlines the process and prevents you from wasting your time and money pursuing avenues that will not win you any successes.


Contact Chris today to take your business leadership to the next level with business development training. He can help you develop the skills you need to grow your startup or small business into something larger in scale, scope or both.

The Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) was created by Gino Wickman (Author of Traction-get a grip on your business) and is a registered trademark of EOS Worldwide. Chris Hallberg of Traction Inc. is a Certified EOS Implementer(tm) that helps business owners and their leadership teams get more of what they want from their business.  

Topics: Business Advice