management leadership One very common mistake that many business owners make, is to think that good management and good leadership are the same thing. The truth is, they are far from being two peas from the same pod. It’s possible that you’re a good manager but not a good leader, and you can also be a good leader with zero management skills.

Before going further, it’s crucial that you know the difference between being a manager, and being a leader.

Essentially, Management is about carrying out processes, and making sure they run smoothly. Things like planning and budgeting, as well as performance measures and dealing with hired hands. These are things that any well-oiled business should be able to do well. This is management.

Leadership is less about what gets done, and more about the attitudes of the people who are doing what needs to be done. It’s about thinking ahead and envisioning a future for the business, and guiding the team towards the same goals. Things like taking calculated risks and grabbing opportunities – these are things that a growing business with great potential should be looking at. This is leadership.

You need to fully understand the difference between management and leadership before moving on to the next step. As a business owner, you must be able to identify what you do best, what you’re doing now, and what you want to be doing in the future.

Are You a Leader? Or a Manager?

There is no set rule as to whether you should be a leader or a manager for your business. I personally believe that some business owners have to be able to manage their businesses first, while others need to learn how to lead. But do you know whether you’re a leader, or a manager, for your business right now?

Does all these sound familiar? 

  • Your employees constantly contacting you, even when you’re away on a break.
  • You are the go-to person whenever a problem arises, no matter how big or small it is.
  • The need to tell your employees what to do, every step of the way.
  • You are working way past office hours, and even throughout the weekends?
  • You are still making action plans to achieve goals that have previously been set, you cannot proceed to make new goals to achieve.

If you are nodding to any of the questions above, you’re Managing your business, not Leading it. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it is important that you have identified this issue and you know you’re not yet a leader in your business.

Good Management

Any business that isn’t managed well is in for a rocky road ahead. Running a business is not easy, and it’s even harder when plans are not in order, and everything is a mess. Having good management skills means putting all the processes in place, and making sure that plans are followed, necessary steps are taken, and goals are achieved.

As a business owner, you should be able to manage your business well on your own. Take charge of setting up proper systems for every aspect of the business. Know what you expect from your team members, and make sure that all of them are clear about what they should each be doing, and what they should set out to achieve.

Not all business owners are good managers. That’s okay, this doesn’t spell the end for you. All you have to do now is get a good manager for your team.

Good Leadership

Shifting from being a manager to becoming a leader requires a change in mindset. While management is all about structure and systems, as a leader, you should focus more on the people. Who are the people who make up your team? Are they motivated to give their all? Are they pro-active in seeking to improve themselves, and bring the whole team to greater heights?

I’ve always believed that a leader is only as good as their team – people are assets. If you can lead a team that’s geared to achieve a common goal, and ever ready to do more than is expected of them, it’s a reflection of how good your leadership skills are. Measuring how well the team is doing, both in terms of results and morale, is akin to measuring your own performance as a leader.

Once you’ve become a leader to a capable team, your business will be in the prime position to grow into what you’ve envisioned it to be.

And that’s worth thinking about…

Here’s a BONUS for you. Download my checklist on Leadership Versus Management to find out which type of business owner are you.

Don’t forget to also ASSESS your managers too. Want your managers to be more effective in your company?

Explore our “Leadership & Intrapreneurship Excellence Program for Managers“, so that they too can learn how to be a leader to their team.

Maresa Ng Business Growth Specialist


Asia’s Top Business Growth Specialist – Maresa Ng

Maresa Ng is a Passionate Entrepreneur ​who helps business​ owners ​grow their business​ to a stage where it is commercial, profitable, ​and can continue to work without them. Maresa has worked with thousands of business owners and she has been turning around businesses since 2008. She was a corporate and investment banker, but now she is the leading Business Growth Specialist & Business Advisor in South East Asia. She always believes, as entrepreneurs, you can have Great Quality of Life through Great Business!

Read More:

How to Improve Employee Engagement

Are you Affected by these Tough Times?

You Know You Are the EMPLOYEE in Your Own Business When…