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Management and Leadership in a Small Business

Much discussion has been devoted to the difference between management and leadership. There are many ways to define these important components of business. It has been said that leaders are born but management can be learned. This writer believes that both can be learned and improved on just like any other trait. Some can be successful while leaning heavily on one or the other but the small business owner must be both. Choosing the best direction and providing an environment that allows employees to accomplish stated objectives is essential to success. Following are statements on the difference between management and leadership:

Management is doing things right, leadership is doing right things … Peter Drucker

In this concise, clear depiction of the distinction between management and leadership Peter Drucker states that leadership equates to vision and choosing the best direction for the organization whereas management involves determining the best way to accomplish the leadership vision.

Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall … Stephen R. Covey

While very similar to the statement on management versus leadership by Peter Drucker, Stephen R. Covey uses an effective analogy to depict the concept. The well-known phrase “the ladder of success” is used with the “ladder leaning against the right wall” to illustrate the importance of choosing the right vision. There have been many leaders that have led people down the wrong path – not because they were bad leaders – but because they had a bad idea to start with.

Management is about arranging and telling. Leadership is about nurturing and enhancing … Tom Peters

In this statement Tom Peters states that management is more about organizing and leadership is more about inspiring. This statement could also be interpreted as management involves providing direction while leadership provides motivation.

Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them … John C. Maxwell

This very insightful statement on leadership states that a good leader must be in touch with those he leads but not so involved in the day to day activities of the operation that there is no freedom to see what’s ahead.

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