Leadership vs. Management

chef looking over cutting board of chopped vegetables

Today, some employers are thriving while others are dying on the vine. You don’t have to dive deeply into why this is happening––it’s simple. 

Recently, I moved to South Carolina and the tourist industry here is huge. I always knew it was, but when you morph into a resident in a place you once vacationed, you see a different side of life. Since moving south, my Facebook feed is filled with hospitality and retail pleas, like: 

“We need servers!” 

“We need bartenders!” 

“We need clerks!”

“Store hours reduced due to staff shortages.”

“If you know anyone who needs a job, send them my way!”

I know you’ve seen these signs posted, too, along with the ones asking for patience because the giant straws you love in your lattes are not in stock. 

One evening, I went into one of my favorite restaurants for dinner with my daughter and introduced her to the owner. As my daughter shook hands with this restaurateur, I less than subtly informed him that she was available for employment and how lucky he would be to have her on her staff. With a contagious smile and sincere demeanor, she quickly covered the basics in just a matter of seconds why she’s a great candidate. 

And then it happened.

He didn’t offer her a job. 

He has a waiting list. Not for a table to be seated, but for people who want to work for him. 

In a destination whose industry is drowning in staffing shortages, here’s a guy turning people away to work there.


It’s just a restaurant. They serve the same food and drinks as the others lining the street. Bussing tables and seating guests happens here just like it does at the joint next door. 

Again, why does everyone want to work here?

There’s nothing special about this place. It’s not hoity-toity. It’s your friendly bar and grill with a guy playing guitar outside and patrons sitting belly-up, enjoying a cocktail, and chatting up the bartender. This place? It’s different. 

One more time: why?!

Here’s why: Leaders worry about managing the company culture. Managers worry about managing the logistics. This guy, he’s a leader. This owner is a leader. He takes his staff on trips. He makes sure that they’re happy not only in their line of work but with life in general. He is invested in them. He cares about them. He wants to help his staff thrive.

What are managers consumed with? They’re worried about schedules, execution, and tiny details. Leaders find the right people. Managers fill seats. 

Leaders, Managers, and the Job Seeker

What does leadership vs. management styles mean for the job seeker dying to work for this guy? When they find out there’s a waiting list to work for him, they’re immediately thinking, Wow, then this is definitely somewhere I want to work too! Before they even tie on an apron, learn a little more about the menu, or even are offered the job, they’re all in. 

How else does this benefit a leader with a mile-long waiting list of people clamoring to get a foot in the door? It filters candidates. Workers who just want a paycheck are moving on, not waiting around for this owner to call them. They’re going where the help wanted signs are aplenty to land a job the minute they ask for an application.

That means the people he wants have already self-selected. They’re willing to get in line and wait. They’re more interested in being somewhere with good people, a great boss, and a company culture they jive with. 

My friend, this guy’s already solved half of his hiring problems, and you can too. How? Think of it like this: you look at 100 resumes, and 92 of them you don’t want as a part of your company culture. Toxic complainers, unreliable, and unmotivated––no thank you. They aren’t buying into the vibe you’ve created, and that’s okay! You’re now left with eight candidates you want on your team because you’ve nurtured a crazy-amazing culture, taken care of your team, and provided a customer experience that speaks for itself. 

You want to attract employees that understand their worth, have confidence, and know their value proposition. If you aren’t a leader with vision and compassion, they won’t stay. Managers, your power forwards are leaving in droves. They know they can get paid more, they present well in an interview, and their new teammates will welcome them with open arms because they know they’ll carry their weight. 

Now, you’re left scratching your head managing subpar employees. They aren’t going anywhere. They are more interested in a disinterested manager than thriving behind a leader. 

Wondering who’s getting all good employees?

This guy is—the one who loved meeting my daughter and put her on the interview list. 

If you want to compete in this market, you must take care of your people; you must lead them, not manage them. Do that, and the rest takes care of itself. It’s that simple. 

When you’re ready to make the coaching leadership changes that matter, I’m here to help you. Contact me. Let’s get started!