True or False?
- A leader must be an expert in every part of the business.
- A leader must have hands-on experience in each part of the business.
- A leader must be the smartest person in the room.
The answer to each of these is…
While it is a plus if a leader has deep experience in a company or knows how to DO the work, here’s the newsflash: DOING THE WORK could be the very thing keeping you from LEADING THE WORK.
The leader’s responsibility is to create the vision and the team to carry it out.
This can be a challenge for a leader, especially for one who is the founder of a company. This was your dream. You worked hard to bring it to life. In the early days, you were the “everything” person in the business – marketing, sales, accounting, development, and delivery. It was all on YOU.
But over time and with growth, this “everything” role becomes overwhelming and must change. And you as the leader must drive that change in order to continue to grow.
How can you tell you need to change roles?
- The work you first enjoyed doing is no longer enjoyable. You are drained by the work.
- You sense you have outgrown certain aspects of the work and need a new challenge. You are bored with those aspects of the business.
- You feel the doing of certain roles is actually keeping you from growth. You are limited by doing.
How do you make the transition?
The shift from doing to managing to leading takes planning and intentional action.
Break it down.
First, you must break down the “everything” role into the individual hats you wear. Yes, this means tracking your activities for a week to a month. The results alone may surprise you. What you think you are doing may not be what you are actually doing in the business.
Choose a hat.
Ask yourself which of those hats fits your strengths the least. If you are a speaker or coach, for example, spending several hours a month on bookkeeping, which you hate, that would be a first candidate for the shift.
Make the transition.
This sounds quite simple. It is the point where real growth can be initiated, but also the point at which most leaders get stuck.
“No one can do it right except me.”
“It is quicker for me to do it myself than to explain the process.”
If you catch yourself saying anything along these lines, it is an indicator that you are not making a necessary transition. Make a quick recording of what you do and how you do it. Then find someone whose strengths are in the role you need to abdicate, and empower them to do the work.
A funny thing usually happens: you realize they do it better and faster than you because it is their strength, and they enjoy it. Yes, I said that. There are people who actually enjoy bookkeeping!
Refocus and repeat.
Once that role is off your plate, refocus and repeat the process for other roles until you get to the one to three roles that are your strongest in the business and that keep you focused on vision and growth.
This can be a challenging process. It requires not only focus on company growth, but focus on personal leadership growth as well. If you are stuck at the transition point, reach out to a coach or mentor who will guide you and hold you accountable for pushing through that point.
The rewards for making that transition are not only growth of the company and its revenue, but more freedom for you as the leader as well.
Are YOU ready to wear the leadership hat in your business?
Are you transitioning to the leadership role in your organization? Do you need help mapping your strengths and that of your team? Consider the Maxwell Method of Sales LEADERSHIP Impact Report.
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.