If you have a home-based business as I do, you wear both the leadership hat and the management hat. You are the CEO, CFO, and every other capital letter combination there is, as well as middle management and the hourly help. But, as in any business, you do have different functions depending upon which hat you are wearing.
The leadership role is the visionary role. When you are wearing your leadership hat you are setting the vision and direction of your business. You’re answering the “why am I doing this” type of questions and the “where do I want to go” type of questions. With this hat on you ask yourself where you want to be five years hence and question how you’ll get there. You devise the Plan. Then you present the vision and the plan to your management role.
The manager of your business gets the job done. The manager makes sure you fulfill the vision and gets the business to its end destination by doing the work of the business on a day-to-day basis. So, what is your management style?
I thought about this because someone told me recently that they have changes at their workplace they are not quite happy with. It has something to do with putting all the programmers into one big room together…no individual cubicles or working from home anymore. I wouldn’t like to work in that environment…it made me think about the way I do like to work.
I’ve had jobs where I’ve worked under a micro-manager. This type of manager hovers over you stifling creativity and initiative. This type of manager actually hinders workflow due to the constant second-guessing and checking that they do of a person’s work. I’m of the opinion that if you hire qualified people and give them the tools for the job and the parameters of the tasks that you should then get out of their way and let them work.
Another type of manager for whom I’ve worked is the absentee manager. This one is even worse than the micro-manager. In this case I was given practically no training and very few tools. Right off the bat I had questions about direction and policy and basic how-tos but the manager was no where to be found…until time for the task-at-hand to be completed at which point the manager would show up and be up-in-arms about why the task was not completed in the prescribed manner. This type of manager is the “can’t win for losing” type.
The very best manager I worked with actually got to know me. This manager found out that I work best independently and that I need a window. This manager gave me the necessary training and was available when I had questions. I had access to the necessary tools and support materials. The direction for the project was clear and understandable. I could actually work without someone hovering over my shoulder every minute and I could work knowing that if I had a question all I had to do was knock on the manager’s door.
Now I have a home-based direct selling business. I’m the only employee. I’m the boss and the manager and the worker bee. With my leadership hat on I developed my vision and direction…I know where I want to be in five years with my business and I devised a plan to get there. With my manager hat on I work the plan. I know my inner worker bee needs independence and a window so as manager I arranged my home office to provide the window I need and the privacy I require.
This may not be a comprehensive scholarly look at management styles, but my point to make is that the person with a home-based business needs to clearly understand the division of labor between leadership and management. A home-based business needs a vision and direction and clear plan of action; it also needs the daily “doing the work” to complete the plan and realize the vision. Figure out what kind of worker you are and manage your business to optimize your efforts. It will help you to achieve your vision.