Are You a Manager or a Leader? Here’s How to Tell the Difference.

20151009130204-toxic-leadersWithin any organization, systems and structure is required to ensure that all the trains run on time. Having an applied universal system in which all members can follow and abide by is a great way to uphold standards, increase accountability and promote unity. You need people whose responsibility is carrying out these systems and assuring that they are implemented properly. Throughout time, these people have held many different names and titles — chief, official, lord and duke, just to name a few. In today’s day and age, we have added new positions to the list, such as supervisor, CEO or manager.

While the names attached to these positions of power are constantly shifting and fluctuating, there is one title that has transcended the years and remains the same — leader.

Related: Ever Talk About Non-Work Stuff With Your Employees? Do It. They Will Love You.

The reason for this is that a leader can accomplish things that none of these other positions can. Leaders possess unique qualities and traits which prevent them from being molded or classified as simply a supervisor or manager. Here are a few of these qualities.

1. Followers versus subordinates

The 10 Golden Rules of Effective Management

20151215195453-business-leader-group-front-leadership-team-professionals-businesspeopleven if your job title doesn’t include “manager,” there’s a good chance you’ll have to handle some management duty sometime in your career. And, as an entrepreneur, you’re already a manager, because almost every one of your responsibilities has some management element to it.In short, your employees are the ones making your vision a reality, and your job is to make sure they do it efficiently.But being an effective manager is about more than just driving your employees to work harder — or more efficiently. Forcing employees to work a certain way can breed resentment, even disloyalty, while being too soft can lead to bad habits, laziness or boredom. There’s no “right” management style, as each employee and company is going to have an individual perspective.But there are some universally “wrong” ways to manage. Avoid them by following these 10 “golden” rules of effective management:

1. Be consistent.

This is the first rule because it applies to most of the others. Before your management approach can be effective, it must be consistent. You must reward the same behaviors every time they appear, discourage the same behaviors when they appear and treat every

Is Your Business Social Enough? 4 Ways to Boost Engagement

social-engagementFacebook page, Twitter handle and Instagram account? Check. Daily posts on each network? Check. A platform to monitor relevant hashtags, current events and industry trends? Check. If you have these things, your brand’s social media presence is off to a great start. But you might not have all your bases covered yet.

“Brands have caught on to the sheer power and reach of social,” said Andrew Caravella, vice president of marketing for social media management software Sprout Social. “According to the Q4 2015 Sprout Social Index, the number of messages sent by retail brands has risen 45 percent since the beginning of 2015. Yet they’re focusing too much of their energy on broadcasting instead of taking that crucial next step to engage in meaningful conversations.”

What do “meaningful conversations” entail? For starters, brands should be answering the numerous customer queries that come up on social media. The Sprout Social Index found that the number of messages consumers are posting to brands’ social pages is steadily increasing but that just 16 percent of those inbound messages were actually answered.

“In 2014, retail brands sent

Business Ideas on a Budget

Whether you’re starting a business on the side while still employed elsewhere, a student or homemaker looking for extra income, or unemployed and trying to figure out what to do, there are plenty of opportunities for you to start up a side business inexpensively. It’s unlikely any of these will make you a living in the first few months, but they all have the potential to grow into full-time businesses. We’ll take a look at 10 such opportunities and, most importantly, tell you what to do with the $20!

1. Webpreneur

It’s what everyone who’s ever surfed the Web dreams of-just stick a web site up there and watch the cash roll in! Well, that just doesn’t happen overnight, but the fact of the matter is it’s really not very hard to do.

To do it right, start by picking a subject matter you know a lot about. Then get a domain and create a web site. It doesn’t even matter what technology you use-just be totally anal-retentive about it looking good and provide plenty of original content. Now find some appropriate affiliate programs-that’s where your revenues are going to come from. Next, learn

Toyota Has Big Plans For Small Cars

A battle of opinions rages about the future of the auto business, and the sentiments couldn’t be more different.

Two days ago, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne said Chrysler would exit small cars to focus on Jeep SUVs and Ram pickups. Yesterday, Ford Motor  CEO Mark Fields said the company could partner with other automakers on building small cars while cheap gas makes them a tough sell and drives demand for big-iron trucks and SUVs.

Today, the world’s largest automaker, Toyota Motor , made a $3.2 billion bet on small cars, buying full control of its mini-vehicle subsidiary Daihatsu. Daihatsu, which it had previously held a 51.2% stake in, will now be integrated fully into Toyota, with the aim of developing it into a global small car brand.

“The importance of small cars is increasing,” said Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda today in a hastily arranged press conference after rumors about Daihatsu had circulated in Tokyo for days. Japan’s Nikkei newspaper even reported that Toyota was

Success Is Its Own Worst Enemy

If you’re not familiar with the Peter Principle, you must be new to the working world. It’s a brilliant management concept with far-reaching implications, not to mention a hilariously clever bestselling book by the same name.

The idea, developed by Laurence J. Peter back in the hippie era, is that everyone in an organizational hierarchy inevitably reaches their level of incompetence. The reason is simple. People who are good at their job keep getting promoted until they reach a level that exceeds their capability. And that’s where they remain.

Evidence of the Peter Principle is everywhere. We’ve all come across incompetent managers and wondered how the heck they ended up in positions of authority. It’s logical to assume they were once good at something, and indeed, they were. So they were promoted until they were in way over their heads.

As for all the dysfunctional executives that have no business running anything, let alone a corporation or an organization with so much at stake, they got to the top exactly the same way. That also explains why all those incompetent managers never get fired. Their bosses are clueless, just like they are.

While Peter’s eponymous principle presents a fascinating theory of why all hierarchies

Smart Startups Don’t Try to Satisfy Every Customer

Let’s face reality — no one can satisfy all the people all the time. In business, this means an entrepreneur who never says no to any customer is doomed to a hard life and some expensive mistakes. Many people will argue that total customer satisfaction is paramount, but I’m a pragmatist who believes that treating everyone the same really means treating all of them poorly.

For example, I have known several sincere technology entrepreneurs who were so busy adding and updating features for their product to satisfy early adopter requests, that they ended up with a bloated, hard to use, late to market and expensive solution which really satisfied no one in their primary market demographic. That’s not a happy situation for real customers or the business.

Related: Mark Cuban on Why You Should Never Listen to Your Customers

Thus, I have developed some guidelines that I believe will help you know when it’s appropriate to go all-out for a customer, and know when it’s better to say no with conviction and finality.

1. Everyone who expresses interest is not necessarily a customer.

Everyone on your team needs to be trained to recognize prospects who match your target customer set. You can garner more goodwill by directing other prospects to

5 Hiring Trends to Expect in 2016

In order to keep up with today’s competitive job market, many employers will be instituting different hiring strategies in 2016, new research finds.

Besides paying workers higher starting salaries, many employers will focus on giving more opportunities for low-skill employees to move up the ranks, hiring younger interns and looking for new employees from outside the United States, according to a new study from CareerBuilder.

  • Low skill to high skill: With most employers worried about a growing skills gap, many companies will work on developing their own pipeline of talent. The study found that 33 percent of businesses plan to hire low-skill workers and invest in training them for high-skill jobs.
  • Younger interns: In order to encourage the next generation to pursue STEM-related jobs and other in-demand positions, many employers plan to start building relationships with younger students. The research shows that 25 percent of employers will hire high school students as interns over the next year.
  • Higher salaries: In order to retain and attract top talent, 83 percent of companies expect to increase compensation for existing employees, while 66 percent will offer higher starting salaries for new workers. “While employers have been more willing to pay a premium for high-skill labor,

The State of Small Business: New Jersey

As part of its year-long project, “The State of Small Business,” Business News Daily will report on the small business environment in every state in America. In this edition, we asked a few of New Jersey’s 810,000 business owners to tell us about the challenges and opportunities of doing business in their state. Here’s what they had to say.

Running a small business in the most densely populated state in the nation brings with it many daunting challenges. High taxes and a high demand for property, for example, drive up the costs of doing business. On the plus side, however, New Jersey also offers entrepreneurs a bustling and diverse marketplace and business owners reap the benefits of the state’s close proximity to New York City and the residual wealth and affluence that enters the state as a result.

Business owners report they struggle with balancing the pros and cons of doing business in the Garden State, where small businesses employ the majority of the private sector workforce. Small businesses were the source of 1,735,727 jobs in 2012, 50.5 percent of the Garden State’s private sector employment, according to data compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau

LinkedIn’s Top 25 Most In-Demand Career Skills

Highlighting your technology skills could be your ticket to finding a new job this year.New research from LinkedIn revealed that 20 of the top 25 most in-demand skills by U.S. employers in 2015 involved technology. For the second year in a row, cloud and distributed computing and statistical analysis and data mining were the top two skill-set categories employers were looking for most over the past year.

To develop its rankings, LinkedIn analyzed the skills of its users. Because LinkedIn users can choose from thousands of individual skills to put on their profile, the first step was to group skills into categories. For example, Android and iOS skills were grouped in the mobile development category.

From there, LinkedIn analysts examined all of the hiring and recruiting activity that happened on LinkedIn in the past year and identified the skill categories that belonged to members who were more likely to start new jobs and receive interest from recruiters.

Although the skills ranked were the most popular in 2015, LinkedIn researchers expect the popularity of these skills to continue in 2016. [Got a Diploma? Employers Would Rather See These Skills ]

“We noticed that companies were still recruiting and hiring for these skills well

How to Merge Differing Management Styles Into a Cohesive Team

The approach of a manager has tremendous influence on staff productivity, as well as that of the entire organization. As each department in an organization is responsible for its own efficiency, each department manager may have his or her own unique leadership style. Consequently, the way in which a manager delegates responsibility, makes decisions and interacts with staff can impact the entire organization. When managers exercise differing leadership styles, it can sometimes make it difficult to bring all departments together in the most productive manner.

In order to form the most cohesive management team possible, it is often necessary to bring together a variety of leadership styles. This is often easier said than done. When managers with similar leadership styles interact with one another, communication tends to be somewhat easy. Conversely, when managers with differing leadership styles interact, communication as well as cooperation tends to be strained, and it becomes a challenge to get anything done. Therefore, it is absolutely essential that organizations bring differing leadership styles together to form a more cohesive management team.

First, it is important to recognize that while there are different leadership styles, no one leadership style is better than another, but some styles tend to work better in some situations

Why I Changed My CEO Salary to $1 a Year

During the last 20 years I’ve had the absolute honor to grow several very successful small businesses. I’m not a corporate CEO of a stuffy office culture, or someone who lives in the C-Suite realm of leadership. My companies were in ecommerce, where I built a $4 million company selling kitchenware, alternative-health products, fitness items, books and other home items, Then there were vitamin stores, some in the ecommerce realm, others in the direct-sales industry, where I sold millions of dollars of health and wellness products. Then I went into consulting, coaching and, ultimately, my calling and where I got the most satisfaction, direct-response marketing and copywriting.

When I realized I had a gift, talent and instictive ability to write “words that sell,” it was a level of satisfaction that really gave meaning to my day. Helping clients to bring profits into an otherwise struggling stream gave purpose to my campaigns. But it was lonely. Many months I worked with 20 clients. Boring and lonely. I craved relationship, connecting with people and helping other small business owners to do what I had been doing, all of these years online in my Internet-marketing businesses.

That’s when I created A Real Change International, where our purpose was to

Be Competent. Be Grounded. Be Open. Be Brave.

I’ve recently had the good fortune to engage with a life-science technology company in need of strategic guidance. For a consultant, the experience was the stuff of which dreams are made.  The leadership team has been a pleasure to work with. They’re competent, grounded, and transparent. They’re open to an outside perspective, even from someone as acerbic as yours truly. And they’re willing to make hard decisions and take bold steps in the name of the company’s long-term success.At this point, I would not bet against them. And I definitely would not want to be one of their competitors.I’d love to say that most of my experience with executives and business leaders left me feeling similarly optimistic about the future of their companies, but then I’d be lying. Sadly, the opposite is true. And the reason is that most are not at all like the folks I’ve been working with.Whether you run a corporation, a business, or your own career, you’ll need the four characteristics I found at the helm of that company if you want to go places. They’re not flashy qualities, but they do portend good things to come, and in a big way.

Be competent.

In a world

The 4 Levels of Organizational Alignment

An aligned workforce is a happy, engaged workforce. Unfortunately, alignment between an organization and its employees doesn’t come naturally — it takes planning, hard work and communication.

Think of alignment as a playbook for the entire company, just like in sports. For a coach to make sure every player is on the same page and goals are made, that playbook needs to be shared and discussed in real time.

There’s a reason watching a sports game is much like watching a choreographed performance — every movement and play has a purpose that each player knows inside and out. The same goes for employers and their employees.

Related: 5 Ways to Create a Culture of Trust

To achieve a completely aligned workforce that plays as a team and knocks each ball out of the park, here are the four levels of organizational alignment every company needs to build and maintain:

1. Employee-role alignment

The first level of organizational alignment requires finding the right fit for the position at hand. After all, an aligned workforce begins with employees who are aligned with their job functions. The wrong hire can burn a pretty big hole in the company’s pocket — a $50,000 hole, according to a 2013 CareerBuilder study of more than

In Business, Does Size Matter?

Conventional wisdom says that startups and closely held companies should be far more nimble, less bureaucratic, and less political than large corporations. But that’s more myth than reality. In the real world, small businesses are just as likely to be poorly run and dysfunctional as big enterprises. Perhaps more so.

I was just commiserating with a friend about the company where she works. “It’s hard to believe such a small firm can be so screwed up,” she said. “You’ve heard of silo mentality between departments and divisions? We have silos of like one or two people. It’s nuts.”

“Size doesn’t matter, at least not when it comes to organizational dysfunction,” I said. “There are great leaders, lousy leaders, and everything in between. Big or small, they determine how their companies function … or don’t.”

As with everything in business, it’s all about whoever’s running the show. It’s about their experience, their issues, and most importantly, the culture they create and reinforce as the company grows.

Just so we’re on the same page here, company culture is just like any other type of culture, more or less. It’s how people generally behave: the norms and rituals that propagate throughout an organization, either organically or purposely. It’s how a

4 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Gain More Leadership Training

In stark contrast to the corporate world — where people in large companies are promoted into leadership roles only after working their way up through the ranks — leadership development in the startup arena often happens overnight or even by accident.

Related: Leadership Training Backed by Former U.S. Presidents? It’s Happening. 

Entrepreneurs often have to go without management training, development coaching or a course called “CEO 101.” They have to figure out out how to be a leader on the fly.

And because teaching yourself to lead is no easy feat, especially when you’re managing a rapidly expanding company, you may well fail. That’s part of the reason 36 percent of new businesses fold after just two years and 90 percent of technology startups simply don’t make it.

In fact, the most common reasons startups fail — such as not having the right people on board, lacking a solid business model or using poor marketing — all stem from poor leadership. Success in a fast-growing company practically demands that entrepreneurs make a steady pivot from self-sufficient autonomy to leading, managing, delegating and holding others accountable.

And for that to happen, personal leadership training is extremely valuable. It’s vital for learning how to build teams, hire the right people, speak in public and influence the

Hubris Kills Businesses. Humility Saves Them.

Every week I talk to founders and small business owners who never should have been running a business in the first place. While that is an observation – my professional opinion – it’s based solely on the facts. And they’re not pretty.

In every case, one or more of the following situations were in play:

  • Close to bankruptcy, they didn’t seek help until they’d run out of runway (cash and time) to save the company.
  • They invested and lost small fortunes, sometimes all they had, and had little if anything to fall back on.
  • Neither they nor anyone in a management position had any sort of business background or acumen.
  • Their strategies were flawed from the start and, when confronted with clear evidence of that, were resistant to advice and change.

Even with the outcome staring them right in the face, these entrepreneurs usually don’t see themselves – their lack of knowledge and experience – as the problem. And yet, that is the problem. That’s the only real problem. And it’s so easy to remedy it isn’t funny.

There are loads of failure modes for companies big and small, but they usually come down to one thing: hubris. Their leaders lack humility. And it’s ironically that same

Be a Team-First Manager and Watch Your Customer Service Soar

Most founders have two stakeholders to please: customers and employees.

While that sounds easy enough, it isn’t always simple. There are times when the best interest of a customer is at odds with that of an employee. For example, imagine an upset customer who is becoming demanding of an employee. How do you solve this? Is the customer always right? It begs the question: Which group is more important to management? This question is an important one. It is critical to determine which group to build your company around, as it can magnetize your management decisions in one direction or another, leading to policy shifts and more broadly defining the overall ethos of your company.

But, can’t they be equally important? Any successful manager has to be thinking deeply about the needs of both groups. I do, however, think that management teams need to take a position — when it hits the fan, who do they care about more?

Just to clarify, I’m not talking about extreme situations. When a member of the team is underperforming, the client deserves their due. When a customer is making unreasonable demands, you have to shield your team. But this question goes deeper than relatively black-and-white situations. It’s about ethos, culture and how the company is built.

Let me ask the

How Leaders, in Politics and Business, Use Influence Instead of Power

One of the ironies about being a leader is that you sometimes wield a lot less power than people think. Even a job as lofty (when done right) as president of the United States is seen as powerful, but really isn’t. Sure, at debates, like last night’s great one in Milwaukee, candidates are always asked questions that begin with, “As president, will you…” but we all know that presidents alone can’t really do anything but put their socks on or, in more recent years, play a lot of golf. To get things done, you need to wrangle disparate interests, build a team and use influence to literally cajole people into your camp. Once you get the job, the campaigning never stops. You’re just speaking to a different constituency.

It’s a good reminder that, when picking a president, you need to look for someone who not only has good ideas, but who can build a team and work with competing factions to push them through. Think about the word “president.” It comes (as all good words) from the Latin praesidere. That literally means to sit in front of something. It is a passive word, almost with a voyeuristic feel. You watch. You (too

How Innovative Companies Push the Limits and Accomplish the Impossible

Most people have no idea what goes into developing a modern day microprocessor or a smartphone. Nor could the average person begin to fathom all the networks, servers, storage devices, and routers that are needed to accomplish a single operation of uploading photos to the cloud or watching a streaming video.

The level of complexity required to design, manage, and build those products is truly remarkable. Yet, what I find even more remarkable is that these miracles of modern technology were all dreamed up and manufactured by innovators who pushed the limits of what common doctrine said could and couldn’t be done.

When I was a kid – way back in the dark ages – I used to be fascinated by the massive scale of the city I lived in, New York. All those buildings, parks, stadiums, malls, sidewalks, and roads had to be envisioned and built by unique individuals who could really see the big picture.

Related: 10 Timeless Qualities of True Leaders

That, to me, was mind-boggling at the time. While you might guess that I grew up to be an architect, in a sense, you’d be right, although I didn’t design enormous structures made of concrete but tiny structures made of silicon.