The Managerial Perspective

2009 | May 27 in Home Page News , Management , Leadership

By Erin Duckhorn,


At the core of the E-Myth approach is that every small business owner plays three roles in their business: the Entrepreneur, the Manager and the Technician. Defining the business is entrepreneurial work, doing the hands-on work is technical work, and managerial work is the bridge between the two. For many of the business owner clients that we work with in our coaching program, it's the role of the Entrepreneur and the Technician that dominate. The role of the Manager is often a weak point or missing. It's important to remember though, to create and maintain a successful business requires the contributions of all three roles.

Remember, when we speak of these three roles, we're describing you, the one person you believe yourself to be, acting out your relationship with yourself and the organization of which you are a part, through these three distinctly unique internal personalities, or points of view."
–Michael Gerber

While we usually talk about these roles in the context of the business owner, they also apply to other positions in the organization. Take managers for example. Managers are a very important part of any organization; they have the authority to manifest the owner's vision in the operation of the business. In a business with only a few employees (or if you're going at it solo), the position of manager may be one of the (many) positions you occupy. Or if you're company is big enough, you may have a whole team of managers. What's important to realize is that just as the business owner exhibits traits of the Entrepreneur, the Manager and the Technician, so does a manager. And the manager must also learn to discriminate between the appropriate type of work and find the right balance to perform their function in the business.

Let's take a look at how the three roles apply in the position of a manager; how they can trip you up; and simple ways you can start finding some balance if you're leaning too far into one role.

The Technician

If you're the kind of manager who is fixated on work, on the "doing" of your job, then you're living in the world of the Technician. If work is a drug that keeps you tied to your computer, your PDA, your phone... then you are a Technician. If you are constantly doing tasks yourself because you don't think anybody can do the job better than you, then you are a technician.

So what's a Technician to do? Stop. Even if for only one day, force yourself to do no technical work at all. Delegate the day-to-day busy work that you typically do. Have somebody else answer the phone, deal with a customer, attend a meeting. As Michael Gerber says in The E-Myth Manager, "Replace your compulsion to do with a compulsion to be." Consciously free your schedule to work on the bigger picture. We call it taking the helicopter view and when you're deep in the role of the Technician, you can't possibly rise above the work to see what's really going on.

The Manager

You may be the kind of manager who loves to Manage. If you consider yourself "a people person" and can spend all day in development meetings with your staff, you're living in the world of the Manager. If your main goal is to create and cultivate relationships with every employee, you're a Manager. Now, there's nothing wrong with caring for your employees, that's not what we're saying. But keep in mind that in a world-class organization, Managers do not manage people, they manage systems.

What's a Manager to do? Stop the schmoozing! It might be hard at first. After all, if you have a people-person persona, you thrive on interaction with others. But make an effort to pull back, to not interfere; to let your team do their jobs. You'll likely gain a healthy new respect for your team's ability to take on the responsibility of managing themselves.

The Entrepreneur

Are you a dreamer? Are you consumed with the "big picture" to the point that you rarely get ideas off the drawing board? Are you constantly planning and never implementing? Then you're living in the world of the Entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs are attracted to ideas not necessarily knowing what it takes to make it happen in the real world.

What's an Entrepreneur to do? Do the work! Take an idea from planning to fruition, all the way through. Recognize every component of the work, organize the process or system, implement, monitor, and improve it. Make it happen. Do whatever the idea needs you to do to become a result, or prove that the idea wasn't such a good one after all. This process will help you understand and appreciate how much of a commitment and how much energy ideas can consume from everyone in the organization.

Share Your Story

Do you have a tendency to manage from one of the roles or perspectives we've discussed? Do you recognize yourself in one of these three roles? Post a comment and tell us about it.

Further Reading

Your Organization Chart

Managing Your Masterpiece

Perspective on Management

The Three Business Personalities


  1. .Louise C. says:

    Uh-oh. I see myself in the entrepreneur! I feel like I spend a lot of time planning and strategizing and have trouble turning ideas into action. Thanks for the tips!

    Submitted May 27, 2009 11:38 AM

  2. .Peter H. says:

    Hi Erin,

    Absolutely fantastic article.

    Sometimes it very difficult to assess your own role. I still look at Rich Dad CashFlow Quadrant to this day and can't work out if I am an S, B or an I?????

    Looking at the descriptions you have given has helped me a lot, and its clear to see that I am mainly exhibiting entrepreneurial traits. Or put another way, I can spend years on systems and plans without putting them into practice.

    I once heard a quote that pretty much sums up the sentiment here 'Greater than the art of beginning, is the art of ending.' To this day I find it very difficult to finish given tasks without losing interest and thinking of the next big idea.

    Any info / support you have in this respect would be much appreciated.

    Thanks again for a great post.

    Rgds, P.

    Submitted May 27, 2009 6:22 PM

  3. .Susan L. says:

    I'm the opposite, no matter how many senior people i try to bring in, no matter how many times I tell myself to stop thinking, "I'm the only one who can do this right," I can't get myself to stop being a technician. Sad thing is, I don't really enjoy it anymore with the pressures of handling the other two personalities --manager and entrepreneur.

    I'm loving the entrepreneur side, but my technical impulses stop me from taking the time to get nail the strategy. That's where I need the most help.

    Submitted May 28, 2009 6:31 AM

  4. .Magnus S. says:

    Hi Peter

    Just as E-Myth says you are all 3 personalities, so does Rich Dad say you can be several personalities simultaneously. The Rich Dad Small Business owner (S) might be the E-Myth technician. And perhaps you need to be that at times. The B (Big Business owner) of Rich Dad is probably an E-Myth business owner that is determined to systemize the business, whether or not the guy already has reached the Rich Dad's B-criteria of 500 people working for him or is in the process of getting there. Building the business you sometimes need to take on the S-attitude (I have to do it on my own) and sometimes the B-attitude (500 employees running my systems).

    What counts in the long run is what your long term emotions and perspectives are: are you really taking E-Myth seriously and building systems that set you free and ask advice and support from others, then I would say you are a B-personality.

    Submitted May 30, 2009 11:26 AM

  5. .Chad D. says:

    Wow! This article laid it out for me. I'm definately the Entreprenuer. For quite sometime now I"ve been yearning to start a business and have talked, mainly with my wife, about a number of ideas, but I can't ever seem to get enough momentum generated for any of these ideas to take flight to even see if they will work as Erin put it.

    Where does an Entreprenuer start in organizing the process or system? 

    Thanks for the kick in the butt.

    Submitted May 30, 2009 11:56 AM

  6. .Sheila G. says:

    I took the Rich Dad coaching as well... and you nailed it... create the team, create the team, create the team!!!  I get so frustrated trying to sell the dream so that other people will execute tasks the way I think they need to be done.

    I have given out assignments and only 3 of about 8 came back completed or at all. One way I have found around this is to outsource. I used Brickwork and was very impressed with their work, professionalism, punctuality and price. (just a thought for those who struggle with the manager role as well)

    Thanks for your great articles!!!


    Submitted Jun 1, 2009 10:17 AM

  7. .Eric C. says:

    I find this struggle is ongoing, and at times the balance needs to shift.  If this is done conciously and with prupose then it works well.  I work on this balance routinely, being a Six Sigma black belt I am data driven so I log and chart it.  I am a journaler, and at the end of every day as i make my final journal entry I look back at my day and record on a spreadsheet the approximate hours spent as a technician, manager and entrepreneur.  These are automatically graphed and I can look at the chart for trends etc.  If after working through an issues that required high levels of managerial time at the expense of entrepreneurial time I am not shifting back to my normal distribution of time I can conciously address it and even schedule my time differently.

    Submitted Jun 1, 2009 10:30 AM

  8. .Erin Duckhorn says:

    Thank you for all of the great comments.

    Remember that you carry all three perspectives within you! The key is to match up the right perspective to the right job or task at hand.

    The entrepreneur must paint a vivid and clear picture of how the business will look, act and feel when it is complete. The entrepreneur's most important job is doing this and crafting the Strategic Objective.

    From there, the managerial perspective can help organize the work of the business into results-driven management systems and tasks.

    And then it's the responsibility of the technician to carry out the tasks and work.

    Submitted Jun 2, 2009 10:04 AM

  9. .robert o. says:

    thank u

    Submitted Jun 2, 2009 11:17 PM

  10. .mary h. says:

    i see myself as a manager. i love to interact with people. because i am a people person.

    Submitted Jun 3, 2009 5:19 PM

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