Monday, December 7, 2009

Manager vs. Leader

"Managers lead with authority.  Leaders manage with respect."  - D Shaw

This concept remains unchanged for eons.  Managers often use authority and often use punitive or reward power to lead teams.  This military style of managing can be effective and even necessary under certain circumstances, but too often is used inappropriately in corporate settings. 

During difficult economic periods, employees are often stressed and concerned about maintaining their positions, income, and lifestyle.  The additional stress added by authoritative managers often leads to health problems, reduced productivity, and a negative attitude toward the workplace.  This is usually not a formula for a successful operation.

In contrast, the business manager that leads by virtue of respect from subordinates - not of position, but of personality - tends to be a positive influence and gains greater cooperation and productivity from a team.

As a small business manager or owner, one must decide which of these styles is appropriate and desirable for the situation and environment.  For instance, a retail store facing heavy volume periods (e.g. Christmas season), may require a more authoritative style to accomplish results.  Ideally, the manager has developed repoire and respect during slower times, thus limiting the need for managing by authority.

Happy Holidays!

- AJ