Why it’s Important to Distinguish Between Leadership & Management 

Why it's Important to Distinguish Between Leadership & Management 

Entrepreneurs, like multi-unit franchisees, are known for making it up as they go along, scraping together a few dollars to make magic happen. There are natural-born entrepreneurs and natural-born leaders, but for most, communication, leadership, and team skills must be learned. The building blocks for a strong business owner may not necessarily be the same skills required to lead, inspire, and motivate the people needed to accomplish organizational goals.

How often have you seen ineffective leaders in senior-level positions? Likewise, how often have we seen a manager that demonstrates exemplary leadership skills? A question many of us probably don’t ask ourselves enough is: what is the difference between management and leadership? Without careful consideration, many of us would probably question if there is a difference.

Why is it important to distinguish between leadership and management? In multi-unit franchisee organizations, we often see people in roles that do not match their strengths. Or we see people with a raw skill set who require coaching and leadership development to fulfill their potential. As a result, frustration acts as a dark cloud around the team because the employee is frustrated or the team feels stuck in not knowing how to reposition such employees to facilitate their success better. Good people either leave the business out of dissatisfaction, are demoted, or even potentially terminated because they aren’t fulfilling expectations. Ultimately, these issues impact organizational morale, increase turnover, and negatively impact corporate culture and performance. Generally, people don’t leave jobs, they leave bosses and/or cultures.

Difference Between Leadership & Management

Let’s look at a high-level overview of leaders vs. managers:

  • Leaders can leverage information, expertise, and goodwill to inspire and motivate teams toward the agreed-upon strategic vision. 
  • Managers use positional power (authority, reward, and discipline) to direct teams toward fulfilling the manager’s vision.

Leaders guide a group of individuals towards the common good of all. They know how to listen to different perspectives and quickly and creatively problem solve, which leads to results benefiting the entire team. On the other hand, a manager focuses more on their individual contribution and how to simply get the task done. Their focus is more on winning, no matter who gets burned along the way. The leader’s motivation is “we,” and the motivation for the manager is “me.” If the manager is passionately in line with the business’s strategic vision and emotionally aligned with team members, the finite difference between a leader and manager dissipates. However, once there is misalignment, a manager can take your people off course and create a confusing and frustrating business culture.

To fully understand your leadership and management bench, determine your BASKET and leadership criteria for every significant role in your business.


B. A. S. K. E. T. 5 C’s of Leadership
Behavior Character
Attitude Competence
Skills Confidence
Knowledge Commitment
Experience Community

Once you know your golden mix of BASKET and 5 C’s of Leadership, evaluate your people. During this process, you will likely identify managers with excellent leadership potential and people in leadership positions who do not fit your organizational culture. Creating alignment may be as simple as having a conversation and correcting the ship, or it may involve creating a development program to help them fulfill their potential. In some situations, you may find it best for individuals to find other opportunities outside your organization. Although this process can be a confusing and emotionally draining process to work through, a third-party facilitator can provide an objective perspective and strategic vision to position your people for personal and business growth.

High-performance teams are built one person and one leader at a time. Unfortunately, one manager or leader out of alignment can throw your team out of whack. The good news is that you can quickly reposition your organization by evaluating your people, identifying strengths and weaknesses, and creating action plans for developing your people.

Kendall Rawls knows and understands the challenges that impact the success of an entrepreneurial-owned business. Her unique perspective comes not only from her educational background; but, more importantly, from her experience as a second-generation family member employee of The Rawls Group. For more information, visit www.rawlsgroup.com or email info@rawlsgroup.com 

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