Entrepreneurship and Lean Startup.
Part 2 – Leader and manager, is it the same person?

Leader and manager

Managers are people who do things right and leaders are people who do the right things.

It is important to remember that managers and leaders are not the same people. In contrary, these two categories of people can be very different. Since in your company you will be fulfilling both positions in the beginning at least you should be aware of these differences


  • Plan, organize, control, budget, manage resources
  • Focus on solving problems & achieving goals
  • Are emotionally distant
  • Value stability and status quo


  • Define direction and create shared vision
  • Build culture & model the values
  • Focus on people and relations
  • Are highly effective emotionally, inspire, motivate, energize
  • Value change & challenge the status quo

As you may have noticed, some positions are mutually exclusive. Like desire for change and for maintaining the status quo.

You should be aware of the difference and since in the young startup you will be the man of many hats you should precisely know when you are putting one hat and when another.


Pioneers and followers

These form a team. General benefits of the teamwork:

  • Creativeness and learning. Ongoing brainstorming and ability to teach and learn by example are natural outcomes of the teamwork.
  • A mix of the useful skills across the team. One person, cannot possess all the necessary skills hence teamwork helps each member of the team shine at their best.
  • Less stress. If you can concentrate on the something, you are best doing you will have less stress at your workplace.
  • Reduced absenteeism. With less stress, you are reducing absenteeism
  • Increased effectiveness and efficiency

So, the entire process of business development is carried by groups of people. Whether we talk about the BOD or support department.

Group dynamics deals with the process of forming the group.These are the stages:

  • Forming
  • Storming
  • Norming
  • Performing

But even for performing groups, you will impose changes and challenge status quo often.The process is:

  1. unfreezing the group.
  2. onboard group members.
  3. impose the changes.
  4. freeze the group.
  5. keep going with the new policies.

You will be initiating these processes as a leader and then run and finalize them as a manager.

What makes a great leader

There are many theories on the leadership.

  • The traits theory
  • Behavioral theory
  • Contingency theory

As a leader, you will be challenging the status quo and inspire your followers to follow you and show their best in doing so. What is critical? Long story short you should be passionate, fair and teach what you profess. Manage by example.

Normally on the early stages of the startup’s life, you will be surrounded by equally passionate people who believe in your ideas and share your visions. These people will be less concerned with money and more with the result and their actual goals. Results are always instrumental to the real values of theirs. It would be good if you’d know a bit about the motivational theories and for the key people in your organization you should know their real motivation.

At any cost, you should avoid Machiavellianism because that even if it proves itself working, in the beginning, it will always destroy the moral and business in the long run.

Low morale always leads to the failure. Failure is a question of time only then.


What makes a great manager

It is much easier with the manager. There are four main functions

  • Planning
  • Organizing
  • Leading
  • Controlling

The power, authority, and persistence would do the trick.

  • You need the power to set the goal
  • You need the authority to get the people on board with the goal
  • You need the persistence to be able to control the execution

Reaching the level of the own incompetence is inevitable. Two options (step aside or learn and self-develop).

What is the main assignment of the manager? Increase the wealth of shareholders. No more no less.


Should I be a technical savvy (a programmer)

Latest case studies demonstrated the life success mostly depends on the soft skills (80%) and only then on the technical knowledge (20%). It suggests that no you shouldn’t be a technical savvy to start the business. You should get hold of one as a member of your team though.

Depending on your venture’s nature you may need that or another type of the specialist. Or you may be such a specialist yourself, and then you are going to need to find a business person to join that dream team of yours. This way or another we will be talking about the team here. And the team should be built in a way to balance the critical skills your business needs.


Should I be an asshole

Steve Jobs was and is one example of the super successful entrepreneur that built world class company, and his story is probably one of the most well-known success stories in the technology industry. Many ex-employees and people he has been in contact confirm that he was very difficult as a person, to say the least. Now should the behavior of tough and extra ordinary people be modeled by young entrepreneurs? Most likely no they shouldn’t use the extra, my examples. Normally your success depends on the communication lines and a network of the people you know.

It is just so nice guys with the values, and high morale reaches more in their career than otherwise people. Plus, you should first build that multi-billion company and then be eccentric. Charisma and personality always help achieve more but when dealing with the mad scientist or ass-hole genius, make sure the guy is a scientist or genie. Otherwise… he is just an ass-hole.


Finding a motivation

Motivation accounts for intensity and persistence of the effort (own or that of other people or group of people) towards the desired outcome (direction).

Motivation is crucial for whatever activity and success in the life overall. There are dozens of motivational theories:

  • Content theories
  • Process theories
  • Environmental theories

You should probably spend some time reading about these in great detail. But long story short motivation directly affects attitude and. “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” – Winston Churchill. Either you do more than expected or just enough to get things going without ensuring the quality or considering the consequences.

Your motivation is also a scarce resource. It may last years until it burns out or you need to refresh it daily but this way or another you need enough of it for yourself and your team.


Stress-test of yourself

The process of building of your business will be a stressful experience. You should be aware of stress and how it affects you physically.

There are two types of stress we are dealing with daily: an acute stress and chronic stress. While the first type can be beneficial, the second type is the cause of somatic diseases.

  • Chronic stress impacts our physical & psychological well-being
  • US statistics:
    • 85% of medical problems are stress related,
    • 90% of medical problems are stress related,
    • 52% of professionals die prematurely from stress-related disorders.

The reaction of our organism on the stress called: General Adaptation Syndrome. We cannot escape stress, but we should manage it and not allow it to destroy our motivation and health.


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