Leverage for Growth Podcast

Episode 122: The Founder's Balancing Act

Episode Date:Jul 21, 2023

In this Daily Leverage, host Jesse P. Gilmore emphasizes balancing leadership and management as a founder. He outlines how leadership drives vision and change while management oversees planning and execution. Gilmore advises delegating tactical details so founders can focus on innovation and culture. He stresses hiring organized managers to complement visionary leadership. Reflecting on leadership versus management gaps and striking a balance is key. Gilmore concludes that combining visionary leadership with disciplined management leads to success.

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Show Notes

Episode Transcript

You are now listening to Leverage for Growth. Hey, everybody. This is Jesse P. Gilmore, founder of Niche in Control and creator of Leverage for Growth. Welcome to the Daily Leverage Edition. Today’s topic is this, the Founders Balancing Act, Leadership versus Management. So back, relax and welcome to today’s Daily Leverage. In today’s episode, we’re going to explore the distinct yet complementary roles of leadership and management. As founders, we often lean more into the visionary leadership side. focusing more on the what and the why. However, effective management is crucial to coordinate resources and oversee the how and the when. So how can founders strike the right balance? Let’s dive right in. Leadership and management are not interchangeable. Leadership involves setting a vision, inspiring followers, and spearheading change. It’s about the bigger picture. Management, on the other hand, is focused on specifics. planning, budgeting, staffing, and problem solving needed to operate smoothly. An analogy is leadership is the architect coming up with a blueprint for a magnificent new building. Management is the general contractor overseeing all the logistics and processes to actually construct the building. Both roles require different skill sets, but work hand in hand. Research by leadership guru, John Cotter, concluded that organizations need both strong leadership and management to thrive. Companies that only focused on management became overly bureaucratic. Those with only detached leadership lacked discipline. The best results come from balancing the two. For example, Steve Jobs provided visionary leadership at Apple, promoting ingenious products. But Tim Cook brought crucial supply chain management expertise to streamline operations. This allowed Apple to efficiently scale the business globally. As a founder, you naturally take on more of a leadership role, identifying opportunities, crafting solutions, setting goals, and enrolling your team in the vision. You’re focused on the why, building culture, and driving innovation. Don’t lose sight of this as you grow. Make time for strategic thinking. creatively improving your offering and motivating your team through the company’s purpose. Delegate management duties so that you can focus on leadership. While you drive vision as a founder, management is still crucial to coordinate tactical execution. As you scale, consider hiring or promoting managers focused on the how and when to compliment your leadership. So what qualities should you look for? Strong managers are organized, data driven, and able to break objectives into milestones and metrics. They keep operations running smoothly through planning, budgeting, and monitoring. You may need to relinquish some control over your day-to-day decisions, but view great managers as force multipliers, not threats. Align your functions with your vision. Now this leadership versus management balance is relevant beyond business. Think about your health. You may set visionary fitness goals, but also need to manage your exercise schedule. Or in relationships, provide visionary leadership for your family while managing quality time. When aspects of life become misaligned with vision, look at tightening up management skills and habits. But don’t lose sight of the big picture either. Assess whether leadership or management gaps are actually holding you back. So for a reflection exercise, take some time to reflect on where you lean more heavily towards leadership or management. Are there gaps to address? How do you kind of strike a better balance? And what support might you need? Jot down some leadership versus management thoughts as it pertains to your business, health, relationships, and personal growth. What insights are emerging for you? In closing, leadership and management are distinct yet symbiotic. And as founders, we often relish the visionary leadership role focused on the why, but skilled management is key to overseeing the how and the when. Strive for balance between the two across all areas of your life and business. Your success and fulfillment depend on it.