Always strive to be a better manager and leader

Always strive to be a better manager and leader

Throughout the fourth module of Entrepreneurship 101, the course has covered several topics related to management, including how to outline your company’s structure, recruit and manage talent, and organize your finances.

  1. In the first session of the management module, we explained the differences between a board of directors and a board of advisors, outlining the roles that each board plays in the running of a business. Watch the video here.
  1. The financial planning lecture covered the basics of building a financial plan for your startup, including a few basic tools such as income statements, forecasts and balance sheets. Watch the video here.
  1. The lecture on recruitment focused on how to find the best people to work for your company, including both active and passive candidates, through job boards and social networks. Watch the video here.

Last week’s lecture on entrepreneurial management gave an overview of what a founder needs to know in order to successfully build and manage a team. In her talk, Keri Damen, program director of Business and Professional Studies at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies, cited balancing being both a leader and a manager as the biggest challenge of becoming an entrepreneurial leader.

Keri challenged the traditional view of leadership and management as strategy versus execution. This outdated view misses the full picture by putting leaders and managers into separate boxes. In reality, a good manager at any level can also be a leader, while good leaders should always also be good managers.

Keri went on to explain how entrepreneurs can effectively manage the bigger picture while also remaining aware of the smaller details of their business.

The first step to being both a good manager and a good leader is to let your employees know what success looks like and what is expected of them. In her lecture, Keri referenced John Kotter’s views on management. A manager’s job is not to “do” work; rather, it is a manager’s job to:

  • plan the work;
  • organize who is doing what;
  • staff or match people with work;
  • direct or conduct and lead people in the right direction; and
  • control reporting and status meetings.

Helping your team succeed means meeting their emotional needs. You must communicate what your expectations are, provide the tools and support to help them achieve their goals, offer feedback on how they are doing—both good and bad—and, finally, show them what success looks like so that they can get there. Most importantly, to keep good people in today’s competitive landscape you must give them autonomy over their work.

Keri’s final piece of advice was to manage yourself.

To learn more, watch the lecture video.

As you build your startup team, it’s also important to create a vision and develop a company culture. A strong culture will keep your employees engaged and excited to do their best to support the company’s goals. Join Shawn Mandel, vice-president of TELUS Digital, for this week’s lecture on how to define a culture for your startup.