How A Great Leader Can Be A Bad Manager

Is it possible to be both great and awful at two things which seem to be so inextricably linked?

Jekyll and Hyde

Leadership and Management are two terms that are often used interchangeably, but they are in fact distinctly different things. Leadership is a part of the role of every manager, but great leaders do not have to be great at management.

Directing people is part of the role of every manager and that does involve some elements of leadership, but a manager can still do a good job without being a particularly great leader. A great leader, however, can be pretty awful at many aspects of management. Having said that, they are unlikely to be really successful as a leader without having at least a good understanding of what an important and essential role management plays in their business.

Here are three examples of how a good leader can do without some of the skills and qualities considered essential to managers:

1. Leaders do not need to be good at detail.

A manager needs to understand the detail of how tasks will be achieved, who is going to do what and when. They need to be well organized, capable of planning and devising the most efficient systems of working. A leader on the other hand will have their eyes on the horizon, taking a top level, strategic view of things. They do not need to be good at working out the detail and solving operational problems, in fact their vision can be hampered by thinking too much about the minutia.

The leader has to be able to see which direction the organization needs to be travelling in, but does not need to be any good at working out exactly how to get there.

2. Leaders do not have to follow rules and avoid risks.

Part of being a good manager involves the avoidance of undue risks and focussing on establishing and following rules and guidelines. These are the ways in which the required tasks can be achieved in the most efficient way.

A leader does not (and indeed should not) need to be constrained by rules and the need to avoid risk. In fact they are very unlikely to be great leaders if they are. The leader must always be challenging the status quo and be willing to try new and risky things in order to move the company on.

3. Leaders do not need to be good at controlling people

A manager is in an appointed position and exercises control over people through that official status. They must have an understanding of how to ensure those under their control are doing all the things they need to do. A leader, on the other hand, does not have to be in a formal position in order to be recognised as a leader. They do not need to be concerned with how to persuade people to do what they are told, because people choose to follow them voluntarily.

When people follow great leaders, it is not because they know they are subordinates and must do what they are told. The leader inspires loyalty and trust through their own behaviours. They take responsibility and blame where appropriate, they frequently give credit and recognition and they celebrate success. It is these and other actions, along with their passion, enthusiasm and vision that inspire people to follow them.


While leadership and management are both essentials in successful businesses, all the elements of each one does not have to be found in the same person. There are great managers and there are great leaders. Some are fortunate enough to be good at both, but many are not.

How To Become Self Employed In 7 Simple Steps

Becoming self employed is actually a very simple process. The only essential actions you need to take are to do with making sure you are registered for paying income tax and national insurance. However, there are a few other key things that you should also consider as you make the exciting move into self employment.

If you are planning to start a business, a common question is ‘at what point do you officially become self employed?’ The key point to be aware of here is that you need to register as self employed as soon as you begin looking for work. It does not matter whether you are successful in getting work or not, but you should be self employed from as soon as you begin to seek work for yourself.

For the purposes of this post I am going to assume that you will be working as a sole trader rather than a limited company or partnership. If you set up a limited company, you are technically an employee of that company, rather than self employed, so do not need to register.

1. Register For Income Tax

To officially become a self employed person in the UK you just need to register with HMRC and fill in a tax return every year. On the HMRC website you have the option to register for several types of business tax at the same time, including VAT and corporation tax. If you will be employing other people you can register as an employer for PAYE (pay as you earn) too. Most people starting out as self employed will only need to register for self assessment to pay income tax.

You still need to register as a business even if you already file a personal tax return every year. You can find the link to relevant page on the HMRC website.

2. Arrange To Pay National Insurance

As soon as you are self employed you will need to start paying class 2 National Insurance contributions. The easiest way to pay is to set up a direct debit. If you do this the amount due in 2013/14 is £142.45 for the year, divided into twelve monthly payments.

You may be exempt from class 2 national insurance if your earnings are below a certain level. In 2013/14 if you are likely to earn less than £5,725 you may not need to pay class 2 NI. You will need to apply for exemption in advance.

Class 4 national insurance is a completely separate tax and this is paid in relation to any profit you make. This will be payable after your financial year has ended, as with income tax. It is very important to put money away regularly to cover the tax and class 4 national insurance that will be due after you have done your tax return.

3. Choose The Right Name For Your Business

It is worth giving plenty of thought to the name under which you will trade. It could just be your own name, which is nice and easy, but if you plan to trade under a business name, there are a few things you need to consider.

First of all, make sure that the name you are planning on using is not already registered or trademarked by someone else. You can do this quickly online. Your business name also needs to send the right message to potential customers, so should convey something about what it is you are going to be offering.

Do not settle on a name without first checking and registering the appropriate domain names.

4. Get Your Basic Record Keeping In Order

You can save yourself time and money by setting up some basic systems at the outset, which will allow you to keep orderly records of your income and expenditure. In particular you need to keep receipts and any invoices you have paid for any business expenses. This is important because these costs will be set against any income you make to reduce how much profit you declare and therefore how much tax you pay. It will also save you money when you pay your accountant to do your end of year accounts. Their time is money, so you don’t want to pay them to sort out shambolic record keeping.

5. Make Arrangements For Where You Will Work

Working from home is the easiest and cheapest option, so is highly recommended as the best way to begin. For some businesses, of course, this is not possible, so you must arrange a suitable place of work. Be sure to keep costs as low as possible when you are just starting out in business. You can always expand as your business grows.

6. Have Insurance In Place

If you employ any staff you are legally obliged to have employers’ liability insurance for at least £5million. If you are working on your own, you may still need some insurance to protect your business against damaging claims. The most obvious ones to consider are public liability cover and professional indemnity protection.

7. Have A Business Plan

By rights this point should come before all of the others, because you really ought to have a good business plan in place well before you actually become self employed and begin trading. This should be the blueprint that outlines all the important elements of how your business will work. There is a full guide on how to write a business plan in the Resources section of this website.