Most entrepreneurs and business owners fail terribly a leading. No one tells you when you start your business, that you will someday have to manage an entire team. At the time, you are too busy trying to not go broke. It’s probably a good thing that most entrepreneurs can’t see past the week they’re living in, we would have a nervous breakdown.

Over my 11 years at 8THIRTYFOUR, I’ve stumbled upon the following lessons (and I mean stumbled).

  1. You are in the spotlight. Whether you like it or not, everyone is watching what you do. Your employees, community, clients, partners, family, dog…you name it; your every action and decision is under the microscope. Self-awareness is key, especially after you make a bad decision.
  2. Personal and professional is blurred. Most people spend more time with their co-workers than they do their own families, which means you will know a lot about each individual that reports to you. A good work environment, encourages team bonding and presents opportunities for employees/managers to get to know each other on a more personal level. The catch is, you will know WAY more than you want to about your employees. Safeguard that information and respect their privacy.
  3. Not everyone is a winner. This may seem harsh, but when we started moving to EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System), it took the emotion out of staff/employee decisions. You have to make the right decisions for the company and that means, right person/right position. Rip the bandaid off when it comes to low performers, if they are not a fit for your culture, then work with them to transition to a new job.
  4. Everyone looks to you for the answer. You are going to get asked a lot of questions, some you know, most you don’t. Unfortunately for you, you’re the only one they can go to. Empower employees to make their own decisions, but also have designated times they can come to you with questions and solutions.
  5. Leadership is lonely. I wrote a pretty emotional and raw blog about this awhile back, running a business is hard. You can’t delegate running the company to someone else, if a big problem hits – buck stops with you.

What leadership lessons would you share? I am always open to learning and adapting based on what I learn. Great leaders don’t happen overnight, they make a lot of mistakes on the way.

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