Managing a small business requires, at minimum, basic management skills. But what makes a good manager? It's a number of things. Some hard-to-do business management styles (for example, team-oriented styles) are more successful than others. Why? Because some styles involve engaging employees, and other stakeholders in business, while other styles will 'dis-engage' employees. Understanding the difference between management definition and leadership definition will help you better understand when to manage and when to lead.
Management skills are important for all business owners and managers.
Traditional management theory includes the following functions of management: planning, decision making, directing (also known as controlling), and measuring (includes reporting).
Individuals who are expected to manage people and/or resources need to understand the basic skills required, and then develop those skills to include more enhanced capabilities and leadershipship attributes.
Effective managers often use a business plan outline to help them organize their plan. They incorporate easy-to-work-with decision making tips and strategies to make decisions quickly and with a high degree of success.
They build a span of control structure that is manageable. They build a reporting structure that helps them measure business performance.
And then, they act on those results.
For those managers who do manage people (along with other resources), you need to understand what motivates employees; how to build employee productivity and employee satisfaction (since the two most often are co-dependent), and how to retain good employees; how to plan, organize, and direct employees and work; how to make decisions; how to solve problems and help teach employees how to problem solve; how to create reporting systems; how to organize for managing change; and how to achieve organizational goals and strategies.
I'm not sure who first coined the phrase (it's been around for a long time), but "management is about getting things done through people". I think that definition has expanded, or perhaps contracted, to "management is about getting things done". In other words, you don't necessarily have to manage people; you can manage projects or assignments or systems, etc. to get things done.
And leadership is about being able to look forward to see where the business needs to go, and being able to lead others to follow that direction.
These are big responsibilities.
As a manager, you need to understand what the common business management styles are (autocratic, paternalistic, democratic, and laissez-faire are the most common).
And you need to understand what your style is, and how that style effects business results.
You also need to be aware that you may need to adapt and evolve your style for effectiveness and business growth.
Most managers don't exhibit only one style; they use a mix of styles (consciously or unconsciously). Often the situation will dictate the style used, for example, in crisis, an authoritative style is often used. Situations often dictate the style that the manager feels is necessary to use.
Basic management skills are the minimum requirement for operating a business successfully.
In a small business environment, the manager is usually also the business owner. So, in addition to being a manager, the business owner needs to be able to lead the company and the business.
However, not all managers can be effective leaders and not all leaders can be effective managers: as a small business owner you need to learn to be good at both and hire or contract for supporting services or functions as necessary (and as your business grows.
Visit Managing Change to understand the importance of change in business.
Find out more about the characteristics of Effective Leaders.
Return from Basic Management Skills to Managing.
Hello. I am a professor teaching Human Resources Management. You have an excellent page on writing business value statements entitled your "Value Statement: Develop a Definition of Values in Your Business". I would like to use this page (giving full credit) to teach my students how to write good business value statements for the HR Strategic Plan they are required to prepare. Thank you. Richard C. Brocato, Ph.D. Professor of Management, Maryland, USA
(Note from Kris: I was happy to give permission to use as the source was fully credited.)
Hi Kris, I really appreciate your collection of business resources on your site; it provides a fantastic outline for writing a business plan as well as the detailed information needed to prepare the content for a great plan. Thanks, Pierce, USA
Hello. I would like your permission to quote your website within my paper for a marketing class I am taking to earn my Bachelors in Business Management. I am currently in a marketing class and I find the simplicity of your definitions and the ease with which you convey the ideas and terms of marketing to be very helpful. Thanks! Amanda, USA