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Boss Versus Leader

Wednesday, October 31, 2018 - Joe Kiedinger

I was doing some chores at home this weekend when I received this pic from my daughter, Alina. My first thought was, “Wow, my children are actually listening to my lessons on leadership!” I thanked her for sending it to me and she said, “Yeah, I thought it might be a good pic for a ‘Wisdom On Wednesday.’” How thoughtful!

Alina is now 15, soon to be 16, and is a leader in her performing group at school. So, this leadership jazz is on her brain, as it should be, as she positively guides her choral section.

I must admit that I was misinformed on, or at least misinterpreted, what being the leader of an organization looks like. I studied many leadership gurus. Michael Gerber made famous the idea of working “on” a business and not “in” a business with his book, The E-Myth: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It. He writes about Ray Kroc and how he taught the McDonald’s system and then replicated it across the globe. 

That is true and great information. We do need systems for people to follow to allow them to grow and to allow our companies to properly scale. And, as small business leaders, we need to also be “in” the business where our innate talents, wisdom and experience can grow others.

I think I may have been the boss for a while (as this picture depicts). I placed unneeded stress and expectations on the staff. Over the last two years, I’ve come to realize that I’m not a McDonald’s… yet! I do need to get out in front and pull. And you know what? It’s energized me.

By pulling, I am seeing inefficiencies. I’m seeing where the staff is struggling, and now I can do something about it. Our clients are getting to know me and learning how I can help their strategy (which is my sweet spot) in both culture and business.

Because of my newfound wisdom in this area, I ask you: are you truly sharing and exhibiting what you know? Are you contributing in your sweet spot and setting the example—or are you in the sleigh, barking orders?

Quite an interesting perspective from a 15-year old girl!

Joe Kiedinger (and Alina)

ACTION PLAN: Where should you be “on” the business and where should you be “in” the business?

Sometimes, all it takes is a little inspiration.

Understanding where others are coming from is critical in communicating and working toward a common cause.