A management perspective is important for a small-business owner who juggles many roles. At times, you focus on giving directions to people and supervising how they perform tasks. At other times, you build relationships among employees so they will perform as a team. How you view the management perspective depends on your understanding of the concepts of management and leadership.

Management Vs. Leadership

Scholars disagree about what distinguishes management from leadership, even though these concepts often overlap. The management perspective is useful in making daily decisions and setting business strategy. Management focuses on the delegation of tasks and juggling resources, including money, supplies and personnel. It can also be viewed as how to get managers and supervisors to facilitate employee performance. Leadership skills are sometimes needed by managers. A leader motivates people to achieve their goals and uses skills such as coaching and listening to help people develop in their jobs. Good managers strive to acquire both management and leadership skills.

Resources Management

Small-business owners analyze a business from different angles when they think like managers. Viewing a business from a resources perspective forces you to think about how you're managing money and personnel. Thinking like a manager requires you to predict, for example, whether you will have adequate cash flow to make payroll this week or you need to cut employee hours next week to meet payroll because you expect fewer sales. Your small business will succeed in part if you can manage the money or get someone to handle that responsibility for you. If you're short on cash, you will have difficulty meeting payroll and other obligations, such as paying suppliers for raw materials or products.

Bottom Line Thinking

Managers often focus on the bottom line. They consider how much compensation they can afford to offer an employee and what price to charge for a product to offset its production costs and turn a profit. To determine the bottom line, a manager needs to understand business operations and financial data and know how to get this information. If you have a large staff, this could involve knowing whom to ask for each type of quantitative data. Thinking like a manager, you should obtain data from the best sources and make decisions based on reliable data.

Objectives and Results

Some managers use a leadership model to guide their management decisions. For example, they require that activities follow a formal plan that contains objectives for organizational units and workers. They manage for results, measuring the extent to which each objective is achieved. They may look at inputs and outputs. Their operating objectives are tied to their organizational mission.

If your workplace is informal and work is not tied to a formal plan, you can focus more on ensuring that employees perform their roles and focus on business results, such as sales levels and customer satisfaction ratings. Using a management perspective, you measure how a business is doing according to a quantitative or qualitative analytic scheme or a combination of both.