Leadership and Management Tips for SME CEOs

The Short Version

There are two separate executive functions; Leadership and Management.


Leadership causes people to do things they might not have done.


Management is the efficient allocation of limited resources


Acknowledging that Management and Leadership are different is useful for any Executive.

Executives tend to manage too much and lead too little, perhaps because IT helps management but hinders leadership.  Virtual teams with the leader in one place and the team widely distributed can be managed easily enough but probably not led.  Leadership happens face to face.



  • Leaders “Create race horses not cart horses”. The best leadership causes people to want to do things in a liberated, mistake-tolerant culture. (Race horses want to gallop; Cart horses have to be made to pull)





  • Leaders avoid fatalism which is the Devil’s breath in Leadership. Leaders have to want to influence events, create momentum and complete projects. Uncertainty and resistance excites them.
Devil's breath
Leaders resist fatalism


  • Leaders Hog the Agony. They  sacrifice themselves to the task and to their team. They delegate tasks but despite having the authority to make their own lives easier, they choose not to.
Leaders Hog the Agony



  • Leaders give positive feedback whenever they can.  Praise of a team, or even just attention, buys goodwill and authority so that corrections are accepted.



  • Leaders should love the Led.  They read them sensitively, are genuinely interested in their work, their personal goals, achievements and concerns. Leaders respond quickly and generously to personal needs such as leave and travel requests.


Love the led

  • A Leader’s best is never good enough. Leadership and a distinctive culture require constant effort and the repetition of key principles. Nothing is ever finally done.


  • Leader reach both heads and hearts. Leaders ensure the message sent is the same as the one received.  They communicate both processes (what) and principles (why) i.e. they motivate.

Good Managers……

  • Achieve concurrent activity. Good Managers run organisations that operate fast under pressure because people are simultaneously working and their activities are well coordinated.



  • Give good initial guidance. The best managers give clear guidance at the start of new work and then add consistent value while it is being done and so there little to be corrected at the end.



  • Control processes. Good managers create the right amount of useful process to support operations but they keep those processes under control, relevant, current and consistent.


  • Avoid surprises. They communicate up, down and across so their own team, peers and bosses are well informed. They forward plan and are obsessed with accurate diaries.



  • Managers create consistent views. They work constantly to achieve common levels of understanding in their teams about key issues.



  • Get Resources on Priorities. They manage to get (and keep !) resources, mostly time, money and management energy onto their allocated or self-identified priorities.


  • Have best information. They have systems that monitor and alert them to management issues, and they are sufficiently in touch that they have first hand information.

There are so many such check lists but these work for me.  Not sure how many of the values I live up to so I offer these in all humility. Published since people have asked for them. Please do share and comment.

Posted in SME.

3 thoughts on “Leadership and Management Tips for SME CEOs

  1. Yes, you are right Simon. These subjects I studied while doing MBA Program in Budapest and Toronto. In the real life, leaders are surrounded and supported by followers/admirers. Mananers are surrounded by workers who are obliged in way to do a job because they are paid, and not because they are pleased …. 🙂


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