Entrepreneurial Leadership

It is not uncommon for entrepreneurs to be viewed as bad managers as they struggle with the transition from doer to leader. 

There are two patterns entrepreneurs fall into during this transition. They either become micromanagers or absent managers. Using the analogy of a server at a restaurant, the micromanager is the server who continually appears in the middle of your dinner conversation, much to your annoyance. The absent manager is the server who leaves you alone for way too long, and you have to search for him/her. Two beliefs contribute to why this happens.

1. I can do it faster/better myself. Since many entrepreneurs have hands-on experience, they can get frustrated at how long it takes new employees to get the job done to their satisfaction. While this behavior may be viable in the short term, the belief that we always know best can lead to micromanaging.

2. Get out of the way and let people do their jobs. Employees left to make decisions without any guidance can get off track, get stuck with unexpected obstacles, and often get out of sync with the rest of the organization.

The key is to find a middle ground between these two extremes. Check-in with and hold direct reports accountable, while giving them enough room to grow and make decisions on their own.

Not every entrepreneur is an effective leader. In this case, it’s important to surround yourself with people who complement you, especially as the business grows.