Hi Sandy -
Good to meet you
Your post reminded me of numerous conversations I've had with my brother. We're partners in a business and I have far more management experience than he does. It makes for an interesting partnership
I've found in a number of different businesses that the challenges of owning and running a business do increase as the business grows. I totally agree that just managing is not enough. I've worked with managers who manage, but cannot lead. Leadership is very important and helps a manager to earn the respect and cooperation of their co-workers. (I'm a firm believer that respect has to be earned
Planning for potential problems is a great way to resolve many issues before they can impact the business. Its kind of like preventative maintenance on a vehicle -- keep your eyes and ears open and handle things before they cause problems. Running a business and waiting to handle problems until AFTER they happen will mean a manager has to continually "put out fires".
Its very beneficial and saves wasted time when you have definite decision making plans in place. It also helps to make co-workers and employees know the procedure to make business decisions and find out who can be allowed to make business decisions.
Talent is important. Finding people to work with who compliment your talents and who can fill the gaps in your weaknesses or the things you just don't want to do, can be invaluable and save redundant work.
I like to set goals and build plans that are ambitious, but also possible. Pushing myself to accomplish more is never a problem, but we need to reach our goals for our own peace of mind and encouragement. Its also encouraging to our "team" to see that the business reaches goals.
Communication is one of the "big three" topics for managers as far as I'm concerned. I believe my list is communication, delegation and motivation. If manager fail to do any of these things in the right way, there will be problems. As an example, delegating is a wonderful way to get work done and to lessen the pressure on the manager, but if a project is delegated to someone who isn't qualified, it will fall apart and the manager ends up with more work to do and a mess to clean up. Effective and open communication is critical for a business to run smoothly.
I wrote a book about Foolish Mistakes that Smart Managers Make and it covered all these things. The title is kind of humorous, but the content is serious. Being a manager or business owner is tough under the best circumstances and its great when we find ways to make it run smoother.