When a business owner first starts a business, they wear many hats – the doing hat, the managing hat, and the leadership hat. It is all on them…until they reach a certain level of growth. And that is where they realize there is a lid on their growth, and that is lid is…them!
At this point, they must consciously make a shift to release one of those hats. This is not easy for an owner whose business has been their baby. It involves an entirely new level of trust, training, and development of new leadership skills within themselves and others.
They realize, as John C. Maxwell talks about in the Law of the Lid, they need to grow as a leader in order to grow their business.
It is a decision point for a successful entrepreneur, and one that determines whether they continue to grow, stay where they are, or regress. Ultimately, it is not about the business. It is about the entrepreneur and whether or not they choose to grow as a leader.
These same decision points come in large business as well, where managers move into higher levels of leadership – or choose not to do so.
Each is based on the same guiding principle – to grow and advance, a business requires leadership growth.
How do you grow into this new leadership role?
Acknowledge your current success.
While you will feel a great deal of uncertainty about your leadership abilities, realize that this is normal. You are about to stretch the confines of your comfort zone…and, frankly, it’s not comfortable! But it is a healthy point of growth.
To overcome these leadership growing pains, stop and think of all you have accomplished in order to get to where you are. When you first started your business journey, you had the same trepidation, and yet you built a business or achieved an admirable level of success. If you did it once, you have within you what it takes to go to a higher level.
So, yes, acknowledge the uncertainties for the normalcy they are…and determine to push through your currently comfortable boundaries.
Focus less on doing and more on building.
A leader’s role is less about doing the day-to-day tasks and more about building the systems and the team that ensure the tasks get done. Accepting this role requires that you strengthen your team-building skills and your visionary and organizational skills. It requires a mind shift from being the doer – to being the leader of a team of doers. You are no longer building the product or service…you are building the people who deliver it. Investing in your team means sharing your vision and goals, training them on best practices, and then trusting them to do their work to an exemplary level.
Strengthen your resolve.
Confidence and team building will carry you well into your new role. But you will need a third level of growth in order to be fully effective. This is the level of resolve.
This is the ability to take action, make decisions, and solve problems. These are hallmarks of great leadership. For some types of leaders, these qualities are innate. For others, it is more of a challenge. But it is a skill you can refine and develop.
This may be one of the most daunting facets of leadership for a new leader – the fact that everyone is now looking to you to make decisions and determine actions. Risk and resolve go hand in hand. Learn to quickly assess an opportunity, outline your possible decisions, and weigh the pros and cons of each…then exercise your resolve.
Learn to Negotiate
Negotiation is the art of reconciling conflict and creating win-win situations. Practicing this skill will strengthen your problem-solving and communication strengths as a leader. It requires that you think into the situation and into each side of equation, and it requires that you listen well. These are great tools in the leadership toolkit.
It is a law of physics that water will expand to fill its container. Leadership will do the same. If you open the lid, your level of leadership will expand.
The question is…are you willing to raise the lid in YOUR leadership?
As the CEO of Strength Leader Development, Deb Ingino is a highly sought-after international executive mentor, coach, trainer and speaker. Deb is well versed in global business operations and helps business leaders and their teams to discover and leverage their strengths, so they can create highly collaborative teams that deliver great results. With a refreshingly direct style, Deb helps leaders and their teams to deliver profitable results. Connect with Deb to learn more about her mentorship and coaching programs to equip you with advanced strategies to elevate your results.