One of the biggest mistakes leaders make is to fill their businesses with employees and confuse the concept of “entrepreneurs and employees”. We need them both. Understanding these two distinct types of people (and giving them the freedom to challenge the way we’ve always done things) is vital for a thriving business.
This comes down to recognising the fundamental differences between these two groups, and learning how to manage them. While it is true that many entrepreneurs run their own businesses, there are just as many working as employees within businesses. These people know how to make a job, rather than just take a job.
So, what qualities distinguish an entrepreneur from an employee?
Motivation, drive and risk taking are readily recognisable qualities in the entrepreneur. To many of us, security and the comfort of regular pay cheques is far more important than opportunity so we play it safe.
The entrepreneur thinks nothing of risking everything to build a business from scratch (indeed, most thrive on the challenge). Entrepreneurs will inevitably make far more money for your business than employees who need the security of a high salary. Entrepreneurs are motivated by their ability to develop business. If a deal falls through, they will refine their processes and learn from their mistakes.
Being an entrepreneur may sound exciting, but when you drill down it’s not for everyone.
Essentially, an employee gets paid for their time (ironically, however, the more security you seek, the less freedom of time you actually have). Employees are paid to attend work from start to finish time and managed in some way.
On the other hand, entrepreneurs operate without these constraints, and with this comes the insecurity of not always knowing where the next pay cheque is coming from. The biggest difference between the two groups is this desire for security.
The next distinction lies in the way each group is managed. Many entrepreneurs have spent years without money in the quest to create wealth. Their natural tendency is to take responsibility for their actions, as blame cannot be placed anywhere but on their own shoulders. Employees on the other hand tend to lay blame more easily when circumstances change (either the economy, the client or their colleague but never them). Employees are relatively easy to manage through traditional methods.
Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, are harder to manage because they’re used to running their own race and hate being micro managed. They push the boundaries and baulk at taking orders. Risk takers by nature, an entrepreneur working as an employee will constantly challenge the status quo to find better ways of doing things. The secret is to allow them the freedom to run their own business “within a business”, while still operating within your quality framework. This comes down to regularly monitoring conformance and measuring performance by outcomes (not time spent in the office).
The reins need to be loosened (a lot) for entrepreneurs, while allowing them to work their own way and learn their own way within the business and letting them just “get on with it”.
These differences aside, in stand out businesses, everyone’s job is respected equally – from the CEO to the cleaner. Great leaders have the ability to turn all workers into high-impact entrepreneurs who perform on a plane they could never have imagined before. In this environment, everyone lives and breathes for their clients – workers are obsessed with customer service and not content until the delighted client has seen results.
By Jan Gadsden