Why You Can’t Expect Yourself to Already Know How to Lead

There is a difference between managing and leading… do you know what it is?

In college, I had a professor that used to say “managing is enforcing the rules, leading is doing what’s right.”

Managing is delegating, making sure the work gets done, and holding employees accountable. It’s straightforward and measurable.

Leading is coaching your team, refining the company’s vision, and taking brave action. It’s powerful and inspiring.

Both are vital skills for female CEOs.

One thing about my clients is that most of them have never worked in a corporate environment before. So I’m guessing the same might be true for you as well…

Maybe you had management experience before you started your business. You may have managed a coffee shop, dance studio, or retail store in college. The age requirement to be a manager at McDonald’s is only 18 years old.

Or maybe you were a manager, or even a director, in a corporate business.

Either way, I’m willing to bet that no one really taught you how to manage.

In too many companies, when an employee gets promoted to a management position, they’re trained on their new objectives and responsibilities, given a raise and a new desk or uniform, but no one teaches them how to work with their team to achieve results.

There’s no manual for what you do day-to-day as a manager—giving feedback, setting expectations, holding meetings, etc.—let alone for the more complex management challenges that you face with your team.

I talk with female entrepreneurs every day who feel embarrassed or guilty for not having the answers.

They feel alone in their shame as they struggle to do something that no one has ever taught them.

I have had ENOUGH.

Leading and managing are not innate skills.

I had to learn them. And now I’ve made it my mission to teach them to as many other female entrepreneurs as I can.

Because I know that as soon as you learn those skills, you’re going to thrive in your CEO role. And when you thrive, your business thrives. Your team thrives. Your team’s families thrive.

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Photography Danielle Cohen