Mastering The Difference Between Leadership And Management

It is a common belief that management and leadership are the same role. While it is common that a manager also plays the part of the leader, these two roles are truly separate in function and in the way they add to the success of an orginization. By understanding the difference between management and leadership you will become more effective in helping others see the road ahead.

To understand the difference between management and leadership, consider the construction of a new road. To build that road there are workers, machinery and tools which are all vital in the road’s construction. Managers help ensure those workers, machinery and tools work together in the most efficient way possible. A manager makes sure those workers are well-trained, motivated, rested and that they know what they’re supposed to do next. The manager does the same thing with the tools and the machinery to make sure that they’re working correctly and that the workers are able to use them efficiently and safely. This is the role of management. On the other hand, a leader makes sure that the road is going in the right direction before the construction begins. That leader also monitors conditions in new situations to ensure that the road under construction is still the correct one and is still going in the right direction.

How does this affect you as a leader? Are you spending your time managing people when you should be making sure that the road ahead is the one that you want to be on? To expect to be an effective leader you must present a clear vision and a trail you are willing to walk on first. While there are times when it is appropriate for a leader to fill a management role, it is vital to understand the difference between leadership and management so you can be effective no matter which role you happen to be filling at a given time. If you are a leader overseeing managers, it is important that you provide them with the correct perspective so they may be effective in their management role. Don’t manage the managers. Lead them.

If you are not in a formal leadership role, it is also important that you understand that when a leadership opportunity arises there is a difference between being a leader and managing the effort. Even if you end up filling both sets of shoes it’s important to understand the difference in roles in order to fill them effectively. If, on the other hand, you learn how to lead by showing people that you are walking down the right road, you will become a natural leader and will be able to help many others find success as your achieve your own.

Mentoring Programs for Professional Service Firms: Creating Mentoring Relationships that Serve the Individual and the Firm

It seems almost everyone can use a little something extra to help them increase their effectiveness or give them a ompetitive edge. Those in professional service firms are no exception; however, they do face unique challenges. With so much emphasis on billable hours for accountants and lawyers, how can they find the time to devote to personal development? Could asking for help demonstrate needed initiative or threaten credibility? Despite these challenges, more professionals are seeking mentors.

Contrary to popular belief, mentoring programs are not solely for the young and new in their careers. Even more seasoned professionals find benefit by addressing issues related to personal development, business development, and life/work balance. Mentoring conversations are less about learning the ropes, and more about thinking strategically about goals.

Before you start your search for a mentor, decide what it is you would most want to accomplish through the process. It will help you make the best decision.

Where do you find good mentors? Here are a few places to look:

- <b>Inside your firm</b>. Fortunately, more organizations are identifying ways to help employees create and develop mutually rewarding mentoring relationships. Some offer formal mentoring programs. Formal mentoring programs should not be a simple matching game. While it might seem logical to pair a more experienced professional with an individual newer in his career, other issues should be considered first:

a. The needs and goals of individuals
b. An individual’s commitment level to personal growth
c. A potential mentor’s commitment level to the process
d. The organization’s top priorities

If there’s no formal mentoring program, simply ask someone whose work you admire if they would be willing to spend some time with you over the next few months to help you focus on some goals. You don’t even have to use the word “mentor” which can seem too daunting of a role for some.

- <b>Outside your firm</b>. There are some mentor programs that exist apart from the organization. They attract individuals from a variety of organizations. Participants in these programs are assigned a mentor from outside the organization. These programs help you foster relations beyond your own internal network and across industries. Such programs can be found at national and local levels.

Not everyone should be in a mentoring program. These programs work best for those who are self-motivated and open to change. Mentoring programs can be structured a variety of ways. Some include peer coaching or group coaching. Ideally a mentoring program should be integrated with the strategic objectives of the firm. Determine the specific desired outcomes of the program and measures of success.

You may also consider working with an external coach. An external coach provides a personalized approach to help you achieve specific goals. Explore the possibility of your organization sponsoring a coaching engagement; otherwise, consider the process an investment in your own development.

Whether you’re working with a coach or a mentor, here are some tips on how to make the process most successful.

- Determine the outcomes both of you want to achieve first. For example, some may want to learn or hone a skill like presenting or strategic planning. Some may want to gain more knowledge about a particular career path. Some may want support dealing with a particular challenge or opportunity.

- Establish best ways to communicate. Will you meet in person, by phone or both? How frequently will you meet? Meetings need not be time consuming when you’re highly focused.

- Set a goal. Set a specific concrete goal to accomplish during a given time frame. Make sure it’s not too general such as, “I want to be a better leader.” Instead it might be something like, “I want to meet with each person in the practice group within 30 days to get feedback.” Initiate a particular meeting or project that helps you exercise the specific skill you want to develop. Being goal focused helps establish greater accountability for results.

- Debrief. Establish checkpoints along the way to assess how things are going for both of you. Determine what would make the relationship or process even better.

While mentoring relationships can be interesting and enjoyable, they should also be productive. These relationships should provide opportunities for both learning and action. The best relationships have the potential to create value for the employee, the mentor and the firm as a whole.

Merchant Account Set Up

Owners of small businesses who hope to increase their profits may have questions about a merchant account set up. Although perhaps interested in applying for this special type of account through a banker or preferred lender, they may be unsure of the costs and other requirements for getting equipped to process credit card payments. Since it is always wise to find out about required expenses before asking for a new account, business owners should carefully review the terms and fees associated with a merchant services account, along with any other information that will help them understand how to set up a merchant account.

One of the first things you will need to know is how to apply for a merchant account set up. This part is easy enough. You just have to do an Internet search to find a list of the available lenders who are eager to offer your company this valuable service. Those that seem to be a little iffy you will want to avoid, naturally. These are the companies with whose names you are unfamiliar or who have not been in business very long. It is probably a good idea to look for companies with a solid reputation or history. In fact, you may want to ask trusted business colleagues for a recommendation. Another option is to check with the bank where your company has its accounts at present. Perhaps that lender offers a good rate on a merchant account.

After being approved for a merchant account set up, the next step is to decide what type of services you would like your business to implement. Do you want to set up a simple credit card processor for checkout transactions in addition to check and debit processing? This could speed checkout time as well as please customers who prefer to use a credit card instead of cash or check for your products or services. Another way to use your merchant account is to purchase or lease a wireless credit card processor for point-of-sale payments, which will help you avoid the added step of mailing invoices and then awaiting payment.

Your merchant account set up will be based on certain fees, possibly including but not limited to an application fee, set up fee, gateway expense, or annual membership cost. Don’t forget that there will be a per-transaction fee or monthly percentage rate that you will need to pay for merchant account services. If you decide to put up a company Website, the merchant account could cover basic set up fees and maintenance service, though you will need to work this out with your account provider. Make sure you understand all of the terms and conditions of your merchant account before you sign an agreement.

Your company can enter the world of electronic commerce, or “e-commerce,” almost immediately and bring your customers into the 21st century of bill-paying when you qualify for a merchant services account. Start browsing offers by established lenders today to find the best deal for your merchant account set up.

Merchant Credit Card Account Applications

Since a personal credit card provides us with the means to make life easier and more enjoyable, can you imagine what a merchant credit card account can do for your business? This type of account is more than just a line of credit. It is an entire service package that offers support to help your company flourish and grow. Of course, as with any other type of credit account, it is important to use it responsibly. The first step toward obtaining this type of financial and technical support is to submit an application.

Finding a merchant credit card account company is not hard at all. You just have to check with bankers in your area to see if they provide this service and are willing to work with you. Barring that route, you can do an online Internet search to find merchant account providers who are accepting new clients. There are plenty of banks and professional lenders who are looking for entrepreneurs to work with. They often will take a chance on new business owners if they think you have the potential to become a trusted client. But first you will need to pass muster by demonstrating your company’s capabilities in a few distinct areas. One is that you have a solid credit history and are not in bankruptcy. A copy of your company’s credit history should be adequate proof for this requirement. A second criterion is that your business has enough income to meet the new expenses of a merchant account. Bank statements or an annual report should help with this concern. Another thing the lender will want to know is the type of business you are doing. If you traffic in pornography, are engaged in telemarketing, or have left a trail linking your company to some unsavory dealings, the underwriter may decline your application. Conditions can vary; so ask about the eligibility requirements before applying.

The next step toward applying for a merchant credit card account is to submit the application. Some lenders provide an online form that you can submit electronically, although you may be charged a fee for this privilege. Other loan agents will let you download a print application that you can complete in ink and mail by U.S. post. Either way, you will probably receive a response to your application within a few days by e-mail or in a letter. If your application is accepted, you can immediately begin to use your credit line and service package to set up a credit card processing system. Working with an account associate, you can arrange to install a credit card processor at your store’s checkout area. Or you can buy a wireless model for several hundred dollars and take it with you on the road when you service computers or appliances, or make deliveries to homes or businesses. Discuss the applications of your new merchant account with the loan officer to clarify limits and equipment options for your company’s use.

You won’t be able to enjoy the use of merchant services until you apply for them, so ask your preferred lender about the application process for a merchant credit card account.

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