Napoleon Bonaparte said, “There is no such thing as bad regiments, only bad colonels”. In business, management experts tell us there are no bad teams, only bad managers.

Yet there are managers and business owners who are always complaining about their employees. They blame poor services, multiple failures and nearly all business problems on their employees’ lack of commitment, competence and some other virtues and abilities requisite for ultimate success.

Truth be said, failure in an enterprise is always the leader’s fault and never that of the employees. Getting the right employees and providing leadership is part of entrepreneurship.

In the market place we have so many managers and business owners who are disguised as leaders when in actual sense they are not. They are manipulators. They are selfish money seekers with no interest in employees’ and customers’ welfare.

Leaders and manipulators are different but have few things in common. They both get people to do what they want them to do. They both build a form of relationship, leverage their influence and maneuver their employees to achieve their business objectives.

However, the influence of manipulators doesn’t last. This is the key difference between the two. Only leaders are able to build sustainable teams capable of driving business to success even in tumultuous times.

The influence and power of true leaders comes from their ability to consider the welfare of others and get people to do things that benefit the team and themselves. Manipulators on the other side fail because their primary focus is to get people to do things that benefit only the manipulator.

This principle of leadership applies whether you are leading people or trying to influence customers to buy your products. As a leader you focus on how the customer will benefit by buying your products. In this case you will not exaggerate, misrepresent or withhold facts in order to make a customer purchase your product. Ultimately, your customers and prospects will gain trust and give you more business and at the same time recommend you to others.

On the other hand, the manipulator will exaggerate, withhold or tell lies to a customer so that they can buy their products. The ultimate result is resentment and loss of future business and engagements.

Back to management. If you are a person who is always concerned with how you can advance your business and grow without regard for your employees and customers, you are a manipulator.

As a manipulator, you will never form a team or build sustainable and lasting relationships or engagements. You will always be running up and down trying different tactics, friends, customers or business lines.

You will always be complaining about how good employees are hard to find and how customers are unreasonable. You will be blaming your employees and everyone else in the market place for everything that goes wrong in your business.

The secret of success is to think of how you can help others and never engage in any deal that does not benefit all parties involved. If you are the only beneficiary, your goose is cooked.

This article was first published in The Business Daily on February 25, 2020.

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