Managing vs Leading

In order to build a successful business, it requires talent and great leaders. A great description of a leader is someone who focuses on strategy and vision, removing obstacles and guiding his/her team members. This is similar to the function of coaches in most sports.

Managers on the other hand, place more focus on the execution process, working in the business.

By contrast, real leadership means providing a compelling vision and clear direction. Successful leaders clarify priorities and expectations, defining employee roles and ensuring that the processes and capacity required for them to execute are in place.

The stance from which you lead makes a big difference in your employees’ job satisfaction. To engage your workers today, focus more on leading instead of managing. I’ve found that most employees are looking for coaches who can help them develop and make the most of their strengths, to add value for the company. This is especially true when it comes to millennials, the largest generation in the workforce.

As a pet business owner, here are some tips on how to be a great leader while managing your business well.

Set Your Core Values and Judiciously Follow Them

What makes core values important is the fact that when they are properly ingrained into the daily work lives of employees, they really drive more autonomous decision-making.

To create the right conditions for success, employees need to understand where the business is going and how they should behave, to lead by example. Your core values inform your company culture; and including the team in creating those values can help workers feel more connected and empowered.

Don’t Forget About your Own Professional Development

Too often, leaders assume responsibility for everyone on their teams but themselves. Although we all need to manage at times, leaders are usually proactive; managers are reactive. If you want to be a great leader, set aside time for your own professional development.

Join local and national professional organizations, such as Entrepreneurs’ Organization — a great resource for networking and leadership training — or attend conferences such as GrowCo to hear from other leaders who have found success.

Look for groups that will challenge and support you in your professional development, beyond networking and handing out business cards. Seek out a successful coach or mentor and create a formal board of advisors. Nothing is ever as easy as it looks, so lean on the support and experience of others to guide you, and learn from those who have done what you aim to do.

As a business owner in the pet industry, don’t forget to spread this judicious focus on growth and development to your employees/team.

Delegate Tasks to Avoid Burnout

If you try to do it all yourself, you will inevitably see diminishing returns on the time you invest. Successful leaders spend the majority of their time on tasks that utilize their own unique skills and abilities and leave the rest to others who are more competent in those areas.

Although it might seem impossible to let go of the daily tasks of managing the business, getting out of that mindset and focusing on how to be an inspirational leader is the best investment you can make — in both your quality of life and the ultimate success of your business.