Going from a solo entrepreneur to founder of a business that employs others is quite a transition. The two positions require quite different skill sets, and many owners of newly grown businesses struggle to make the switch from lone wolf to leader of the pack.
Becoming self-aware is the first step- understand what qualities you may be lacking, and how some things that stood you in good stead when you were first setting up, can work against you once you become the boss.
Setting up a business is a hard sell. You have so many people to convince of the success of your idea- from skeptics family members to seen-it-all-before investors. So it’s inevitable that you become an expert at sales. But all that pushing your message out there means you can struggle to switch over to receive mode. If you listen more, you’ll benefit from multiple points of view and different skills sets. You’ll be able to understand what your team needs – like newer technology or Corporate Training. All this will help to build a stronger business.
The number one problem facing many leaders and their teams is what the team sees as a lack of communications skills from management. Directives, goals and expectations all need to be clearly articulated and fully understood – otherwise disappointment and frustration lies in wait for both parties. Learn to set and explain smart objectives that leave no room for doubt. Avoid phrases like ‘we need to get this done ASAP’ – who is responsible for what and by when?
A Little Humble Pie
You may be used to having to convince others to believe in you, but once your business is more established and you’re employing others, don’t forget to locate your humility. You can’t always be right, and you brought others on board for their own skills and experience, so acknowledge that. Deviations from your original vision can be difficult to take, but they often benefit operations in the long run. A solution that used to fit yesterday may not work today, as the market and macro-economic conditions shift. Be willing to accept the small failures that are the only true path to success.
You will have been stressed setting up your own business, and that may have affected you. When you’re a leader, it’s highly important not to transfer that onto your staff. Make the time to learn some new stress management techniques or look into mindfulness or a form of exercise that gives you release. Protecting your business from your own moods will help working relationships to function much more smoothly.
With attention paid to a few key building blocks, some good problem solving skills, and recruiting a strong team whose abilities complement you own, you’ll find your business in a strong position. Using the strengths of others can only enhance your own, and if you invest time into really becoming a true leader, the results will be beneficial for your personal development and for your business.