An unflattering trait of some business owners is having a controlling personality. While it may be a strength in the early years, it quickly becomes a weakness as the business grows and the owner should be relying on input from their competent managers.
From controlling to empowering. Helpful questions we can ask ourselves to help gauge how effectively we’re making the transition from business owner to leader are: “What am I learning by performing the activity I’m currently engaged in? Will these lessons develop me into a more-effective business leader or am I doing them because they feel comfortable and safe? Who’s going to do this activity when I’m no longer able to?”
The answers to these questions strike at the heart of how seriously a business owner is taking succession planning but also at their urge to control their environment. Many entrepreneurs launch their own businesses because they want to be in control of their own destinies, make their own decisions, and call all the shots.
The need to control things might make sense for a company early on when decisions must be made quickly and there aren’t many people or opinions to consider. But as a company grows and decisions have an impact on more and more people, it’s no longer in a company’s best interest for the owner to retain all control.
Even withholding information or insisting on performing low-level tasks rather than delegating them is a form of control.
When considering that one of the primary responsibilities of any leader is to develop others in their organization, especially their successor, failing to empower the people around them handcuffs the owner to the company and also restricts its growth to that of the owner’s own professional growth.
From impulsiveness to thoughtfulness. As business owners many of us have become accustomed to doing things because we can, not because they always make sense for the business or because they’re the right things for us to be doing. This is another key reason why many entrepreneurs start their companies. Unlike in a large corporation there’s usually nobody to tell us that we can’t do something we want to do. Many of these “somethings” are driven by a short attention span or impulse to chase shiny objects—what I refer to as Entrepreneurial Drift!
When business decisions are made impulsively, with little regard for the welfare of the workers or the company, we set ourselves and our companies up for a fall.
A good example of this is financial reports. Those I’ve reviewed for troubled companies have been littered with expenses that had nothing to do with the success of the business but everything to do with fulfilling the owner’s personal interests and their ego—frequently compromising the health of the company in the process.
Thoughtful, disciplined decision making is a hallmark of business leadership. Owners who can control their impulsiveness long enough to consider the long-term implications to their company, including its customers and workers, invariably lead more-successful businesses.