From Doing to Leading

At one time or another, entrepreneurial leaders face the challenge of transitioning from “doing the doing” to leading their organizations. Over the years, many of my clients have passed through various stages of this transition, and frankly, it’s not an easy one.

The challenge comes because many entrepreneurial leaders think that no one can do it as well as they can. Their mindset is that it’s their business, they put in the hard work and sweat, and they know what’s best.

They just can’t help themselves. They are passionate about their businesses yet wear blinders that they are the best people to accomplish the functional jobs that they’re leaving behind.

They struggle with this leadership quandary. Intellectually, they need to let go, yet emotionally they don’t want to.

By the way, this isn’t a syndrome exclusive to owner/entrepreneurs. It’s rampant in companies when top performers are promoted into management jobs and hold on to doing the doing rather than managing the doers.

How do you break through this dilemma?

First, acknowledge the difference in roles, and that yours is shifting to a new one that requires a different set of skills. Second, identify the competencies that are essential to success in the leadership role vs. the role of the doer. Objectively assess where you have strengths and areas for improvement.

Next, make the commitment to evolve into your leadership role. This is a mindset shift, and don’t expect it to happen overnight. But it’s easy to slip back into the mindset of the doer, especially if you’re really good at it.

Instead, focus on what will help you move ahead purposefully as the leader. If you need some help, hire an executive coach or seek out a mentor who can guide you.

Even though this transition may seem difficult at first, it will be well worth it when you’re committed to moving ahead as a leader. In fact, it just might be the differentiator between business success and stagnation.

Header image by Kindel Media/Pexels.

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