Quit Managing

Out of the blue, I got an email from a guy who I served with in the Navy over 38 years ago. A while back, I had written about the small salvage ship we were both on and I had visited a website to get more information about what happened to the ship. He found my name there and sent that email.

We were both the leading petty officers of our respective groups. He was an excellent manager and made a career in the Navy. I hated being a manager and left to start my own business. I liked leading my crew but I hated organizational structure. I think that is probably true of most entrepreneurs and many small business owners. And, that's okay.

The biggest business mistake I ever made was when I chose to manage employees instead of leading them. I hated that part of my job and it showed. I was a terrible manager. I would much rather use ideas and passion to lead people than bureaucracy to manage them. And, I forgot that.

Which brings me to you. Are you managing or are you leading? Do you have employees – a crowd without a leader? Or, do you have followers who want to follow you?

The lesson my Navy friend reminded me of is that every day it gets easier to tighten the relationship with people. Every day it gets easier to lead people and to have true fans who follow because they want to be part of something.

You are not going to be successful trying to manage your way through difficult economic times. You're going to have to create growth by creating change and engaging your followers. You can't push and threaten people into supporting you.

Take a look at the two presidential campaigns and you'll see great examples. One is using change and has created something that people want to join – to follow. The other has never had a consistent story nor has he led. He has spent too much time pushing and threatening – managing.

So quit managing your business. Get passionate about your ideas, your company, your products. Make sure they are remarkable and not boring. Boring doesn't grow. Ignore the critics. Just showing up isn't enough any more. Lead and you'll attract the type of followers – employees – clients – customers you want. Do what you believe in. People will follow.

1 thought on “Quit Managing”

  1. a great post, really inspiring – thank you.
    We’re all waiting here too (in Ireland) to see who become president. I’ll be v disappointed if the ‘wrong’ guy gets in. Almost wish I could vote too!

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