Doing Everything Yourself Isn’t Dedication—It’s Bad Leadership

Most entrepreneurs feel that they have to do everything. We feel that we are the only ones who know exactly how to get things done. This is a telltale sign of bad leadership. Of course you know more about your business than anyone. You live and breathe it. In the beginning, every activity probably could be done more effectively by you. You probably also feel that only you will provide the necessary attention to detail. This may all be true, especially in the early stages of your business. If you are lucky enough to have a team, you say to yourself, “It will take me much longer to teach someone to do this than to do it myself.” This starts with one issue, but then becomes the mantra for all issues.

“When you do too much, you are setting your company up for failure.” 

One of the most damaging perspectives you can have is believing there’s no one out there who can get the job done. We know that in early stages of your company with limited resources you will get frustrated because things are not getting done to your standards. Here are the negative implications of that mindset:

  • You Stunt Growth. You become the bottleneck. It is impossible for a business to gain any momentum when everything waits for you. You see your passion, dedication and attention to detail as a huge plus. Others see it as detrimental to the growth of the business.
  • You Undermine Your Ability to Engage Employees. Senior employees will question whether your management style will give them the authority and accountability to execute, or will they be micromanaged instead. Senior employees don’t want to work in a company that looks like a “solar system”—where you are the sun and everything revolves around you. They want to join a team with a chain of command that allows them to naturally execute in their area of expertise.
  • Your Business Will Have Significant Risk. While early stage entrepreneurs are almost always indispensable, once you are fortunate enough to have customers, employees, and investors, you have to minimize this risk. What would happen to your employees if you got hit by a bus? What would happen to the money your family invested? What would happen to your investors? Would your customers continue to do business with your company? When everything revolves around you, you create risk for your constituents that they must weigh when doing business with your company. Would customers purchase an Apple product if they thought that when the world tragically lost Steve Jobs their products would no longer work?

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