A Disney Inspiration: Small Business Leadership vs. Management

With a three year-old and a two year-old, I find myself reliving the numerous Disney movies that most of us grew up with. Whilst having the theme songs from movies such as Cinderella and Snow White stuck in my head, I couldn’t help but ponder the following line from one of my little girl’s favorites…

Be our guest. Be our guest. Put our service to the test….

As a manager AND a leader at MCFTech, I began thinking about this line and the impact it would have if we were to ask our clients to “Put our service to the test!”

Are we prepared to face this question with bold confidence? Is my team ready to take on this challenge? As a leader, what can I do to set a vision for our company, while at the same time building a foundation that we can manage with long-term success?

And then it hit me. Just like everything in life, we need to first understand our roles in the workplace. Just like a mother and father have their roles, a leader and a manager are both critical to an organization, but also have significant differences. In smaller organizations a leader may also be required to be a manager and thus be agile enough to adjust their train of thought and communication in meetings and interactions.

Leadership vs. Management

Ask yourself, is a leader different than a manager? If so, what are some characteristics of each?

According to a Go2hr article, “The main difference between leaders and managers is that leaders have people follow them while managers have people work for them. A successful business owner needs to be both a strong leader and a manager to get their team on board to follow them towards their vision of success. Leadership is about getting people to understand and believe in your vision and to work with you to achieve your goals, while managing is more about administering and making sure the day-to-day things are happening as they should.” Read More Here: https://www.go2hr.ca/articles/understanding-differences-leadership-vs-management

In addition, in the 1989 book “On Becoming a Leader”, author Warren Bennis composed a list of the differences:

  • The manager administers; the leader innovates.
  • The manager is a copy; the leader is an original.
  • The manager focuses on systems and structure; the leader focuses on people.
  • The manager relies on control; the leader inspires trust.
  • The manager has a short-range view; the leader has a long-range perspective.
  • The manager asks how and when; the leader asks what and why.
  • The manager has his or her eye always on the bottom line; the leader’s eye is on the horizon.
  • The manager imitates; the leader originates.
  • The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it.

As we take these thoughts into consideration, we need to challenge ourselves, as leaders, to provide a solid vision of where we need to aim. We then need to follow that with action to build the foundation. Any foundation built on sand or a shaky base, will only collapse under its own weight in the future and will not sustain. As managers we need to ensure these protocols are being met and reinforced on a daily basis.

Only when these two philosophies interconnect, will the business function like “clock-work” and thus reap the rewards that go along with it. In addition to the wonderful words of Lumiere and Mrs. Potts, let me leave you with a few other words from beloved Disney movies…

Listen to me. The human world is a mess! – Sebastian, Little Mermaid

Always let your conscience be your guide. – Pinocchio, Pinocchio


Oh yes, the past can hurt. But from the way I see it, you can either run from it, or… learn from it!!! – Rafiki, Lion King

At MCFTech our leadership focuses on each of our client’s successes. Let us help you succeed in your organizational goals – contact us today!

Find these and other Disney Quotes at  http://blogs.disney.com/oh-my-disney/2013/05/08/super-deep-disney-quotes/

Fernanda Rueda

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