This is how to foster a winning culture in your group

Pertunia Thulo -- Fri, 07/26/2013 - 00:00

This is how to foster a winning culture in your group

In the small business environment, the concepts ‘management’ and ‘leadership’ are often differentiated.  This is a dangerous terrain, because many business economists do not consider one to be inferior to the other and there is a school of thought that states that the ideal leader should also be a very good manager. 

Several attempts have been made to attempt to differentiate between these two concepts and many small business entrepreneurs will be able to identify with one of the following stereotypes:

* Leaders develop, while managers maintain.  Entrepreneurs should be able to do both.  The development of people should be high on the list of priorities.

* Leaders focus on people and managers on systems and structures.  One should caution to not under-emphasise the one facet at the cost of the other.  A proper balance is necessary.

* Leaders inspire and managers depend upon strict control and micro-management.  This may be the case, but in any organisation there certainly has to be specific rules that everyone has to adhere to.  

* Leaders innovate while managers copy.  This statement can be very unfair towards managers.  Sometimes managers are not allowed to take their own initiative.  

Small business entrepreneurs are, in any case, in an excellent position to continuously come up with new initiatives and to also encourage their workers to try and gain market share by means of new ideas.

* Leaders have a long-term perspective while managers focus on the short term.  A proper balance will ensure profitability on both the long- and short term.  The one can never be chosen at the expense of the other.  

Leaders ask what and why and managers ask how and when.  People who believe in this point of view are also being unfair towards managers.  Everyone in the organisation ought to regularly question the status quo, whether you are considered a leader or ordinary employee. Leiers vra wat en hoekom en bestuurders vra hoe en wanneer.

There are, however, certain characteristics that point towards good leadership in any organisation and that can create a winning culture.

* Probably one of the most underrated characteristics of organisations that do well over the long term is positivism.  Proper leadership can positively influence the attitudes of people.

* Excellent leaders will always accept the responsibility for shortcomings and failures, but will share the credit for successes with their staff.

* Exceptional leaders will never expect of subordinates to make sacrifices that they themselves are not willing to make.

Entrepreneurs on all levels, even the smallest venture, who have to lead and manage members of staff, should obtain a book on the topic and study it.  Proper leadership can be learnt.

* Prof Tommy du Plessis is the director of the Potchefstroom Business School (PBS) at the North-West University, of which the Small Business Advisory Bureau (SBAB) is part.

2013/07/26

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