Which is more important – leadership versus management? Entrepreneur mentor Sandy Geyer, answers a question all entrepreneurs eventually face.

“In your opinion what is the real difference between a leader and a manager? As an entrepreneur, does it really matter which one I am and is it possible to be both?”

Leadership should empower and expand human resources, whereas management can tend to disempower and restrict them, but there are certain times in your business development when your business might need you to be both.

It’s important to understand which to be, when and why. In my experience, management is most needed and effective as a short-term strategy around the beginning of a venture, to put in place the right people and systems around you.

This conscious placing is called your “inner circle”. It is made up of people you position strategically to follow your direction whilst bringing all their experience, knowledge, strengths and ideas to the forward growth process. If you try to manage your inner circle for longer than is necessary to position them, you will not only disempower them but you will burn yourself out by carrying much more weight than you should.

Of course it’s important to find those people who will respond well to specific direction, high expectations and carry their own weight. We often make the mistake of hiring those who know less than we do whereas we should be hiring those who know more than we do, or at the very least, who know about different things.

Whilst we feel compelled to manage those who know less than we do, we are naturally driven to stay ahead of those we admire and respect for their diverse expertise and experience. So you might need to be in a management space for a time, but you need to be in a leadership space to remain focused on where you are headed, and creative around how you are going to get there.

Don’t make the mistake common to many overworked business owners, of letting your ego, fears, doubts or insecurities stop you from getting to that leadership space as quickly as possible.

Sandy Geyer is an entrepreneur and mentor and teaches the principles of entrepreneur intelligence (ENQ) to entrepreneurs in New Zealand, Australia and South Africa at ENQ Practice.

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