May 2021 - 32

POHMER ON ...
IT'S MORE
THAN JUST
SEMANTICS
IGCs need strong managers who
are also strong leaders.
By Stan Pohmer
I
n my 26 years of working in senior positions in retail for
both big box and smaller entrepreneurial companies,
and then 25 years of helping advise companies and
organizations as a consultant (yes, I really am THAT old!), I
often encounter companies with strong managers with little
leadership, or strong leadership with no management; rarely
do I ever see companies with both strong management and
strong leadership, or a leader who is also a great manager.
Thinking about this, I realized that one of the problems
is that many of us don't understand the different roles and
functions, or skill sets, needed for each of these positions.
Leader Versus Manager
We often use the terms " manager " and " leader "
interchangeably, but there are distinct differences in what
each is focused on, what their approaches must be, what skill
sets are required to excel in their positions, and their roles
within an organization. Here's a quick and dirty comparison
to think about...
* The manager administers; the leader innovates.
* The manager maintains; the leader develops.
* The manager focuses on systems, process and structure;
the leader focuses on people.
* The manager is more of a tactician; the leader is more of
a strategist.
Managers pursue goals through coordinated actions and
tactical processes, or tasks and activities that unfold over
stages to reach a certain outcome. For example, they may
implement a decision-making process or when devising a
plan for communicating organizational change. Their focus
32 | LAWN & GARDEN RETAILER | MAY 2021
Developing Leadership Skills
It's been said that leaders are born; in some instances, this
is true, and there are some natural leaders. But it's also true
that leaders can be developed if they have the right innate
is on implementing a strategy, executing tactics, all the
activities required to keep the day-to-day business running
smoothly and efficiently. Managers are responsible for
directing the teams that keep the retail machine humming.
It's an easily defined role and set of responsibilities.
Leaders, on the other hand, are less focused on how to
organize people to get work done and more on finding
ways to align and influence, motivate, and inspire them.
Leadership is a quality that needs to - and can be - shaped
and developed.
Managers succeed by developing their technical and
operational skills, and training and developing their team to
implement measurable activities. And they get promoted for
demonstrating proficiency in these functions. However, human
nature dictates that people promoted for high performance
of a given skill set generally replicate these same skills - the
skills that got them recognized and promoted, in their next,
more senior leadership position. And therein lies a problem for
smaller, entrepreneurial businesses like yours.
It takes years to develop the skill set and acquire the
experience to truly excel at a manager's job. And most of
these skills are " hard " behaviors, meaning that they are job
and performance oriented. It's understanding how the system
works and finding ways to get the job accomplished.
Though it's important for a leader to have a good working
knowledge of the business, he/she needs an additional set of
skills to perform their role. They need to acquire the soft skills
to be effective; things like strategic thinking, empathy, selfawareness,
and emotional intelligence.
I heard a quote many years ago that pretty much sums up
the difference between managers and leaders. " A manager
works in the business, while a leader works on the business. "

May 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of May 2021

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https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/LGR/april-2024
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https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/LGR/thrive-guide-2023
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https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/LGR/february-2023
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https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/LGR/lgr-november-december-2022
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https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/LGR/january-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/LGR/thriveguide-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/LGR/november-december-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/LGR/september-october-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/LGR/august-2021
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https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/LGR/february-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/LGR/january-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/LGR/thriveguide-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/LGR/november-december-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/LGR/september-october-2020
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https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/LGR/november-december-2019
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