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Sunday, 23 January 2011

Are You a Leader or a Manager? We Need Both!

In and among the multifarious writings and lectures on the subject of leadership we an find just a few different thoughts which stand out.  Once again, Vistage speaker Walt Sutton hits home with a really valuable concept; that there is a big difference between the leader/entrepreneur and the manager.

In essence, Walt defines the entrepreneur as a person who organises, operates and assumes the risk for a business enterprise whereas he defines a manager as a person who controls and manipulates resources and expenditures.

Very neat, and it begs quite a few questions.

If we analyse types of people, admittedly in a very subjective manner, by using the PAEI method, (Producer, Administrator, Entrepreneur, Integrator) then the classic entrepreneur/ leader would rate highly on productivity and entrepreneurship (obviously!), probably less highly as an integrator and almost certainly low on administration, being generally far too committed to doing things rather than organising them efficiently.

On the other hand, the classic manager would rate highly as a producer and administrator, reasonably as an integrator and nowhere as an entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurs are generally perfectly capable of doing managerial functions but they usually do them very inefficiently and often poorly.  It would usually take far more effort for the entrepreneur to do a managerial task than it would a capable manager.

On the other hand, good managers often exhibit entrepreneurial traits but generally only traits.  For some reason it is unusual for a good manager to transform into an entrepreneur and leader.

Equally, the entrepreneur/leader who for some reason aspires to become a great manager is often condemning the business to death.

So what is the answer?  As in so many examples it comes down to compromise.  Every business needs a great leader with strong entrepreneurial attributes and the ability to transmit his/her enthusiasm and passion to the business.

On the other hand, the business needs careful planning, organisation and financial competence which implies the need for efficient and effective managers.

Both functions are vital to the success of an enterprise and this means the ability to work in tandem, understanding the differing needs and roles in each case and adjusting expectations of each other as a consequence.

That takes patience and understanding in most cases but if it can be achieved, then it certainly pays off in the end.

PS: Remember George W Bush's comment that the French don't have a word for entrepreneur?

For further information, visit www.vistage.co.uk and www.maa-uk.co.uk
To contact us, email to ivan.goldberg@vistage.co.uk

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