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A small business will only grow when you let go

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The X-Factor behind every great business combines great leadership and great people, and neither can exist in isolation from the other.

Most small businesses never get off the ground because their owners don’t know how to let go.

We can read all the books and know the theory of building a fantastic business. Still, the physical act of leadership and letting go are actually inherently emotional, which is a tough barrier to overcome for many startups.

Leadership X Factor

Leadership is firstly an act of trust. For example, imagine being told to close your eyes and throw yourself backwards off a table and not worry as there are people there to catch you.

Would you step up for the exercise or shy away from it? Leaders with confidence in their team wouldn’t hesitate to perform the exercise.

Starting a business and hiring a new team to take over core roles takes a bit of getting used to for owners who find it hard to delegate. Some may call them “control freaks” because they fear that if they let go, they will lose something, if not everything.

What’s fundamental to building a successful business is leadership which is learned rather than a character trait.

If you do not learn to lead first, you can never recruit a great team. Your hires will be people who you perceive as non-threatening to your authority and position.

When you need workers who can and have the confidence to step into a role and own it without needing micro-managing from you.

Plus, great leaders know that they should employ ambitious people and that those people will leave at some point. Nevertheless, they go for it anyway because they are interested in win/win – they know it’s not worthwhile employing people who are not ambitious.

Hire People Smarter Than You

There is a saying that businesses are lead by people of average or C level intellect, managed by B level or above-average IQ people who hire A level or top of the class performers – and this is how the work gets done, and the business moves forward.

Again, in both leadership and building a great team, we see the value of letting go.

If you hire the right people and act without fear – if you shed your poverty mindset – then those good people will help you build a more substantial business that can afford to retain good people.

People are more than a resource to be hired and fired – they are the life and blood of a great business, but only fearless leadership will unlock that potential.

Having worked with more than 200 small business owners over the last decade, I know from experience that leadership and good people requires investing in developing those people through training.

Don’t hesitate to invest in people because you fear they will soon leave, because development and continuous learning are firstly an investment in an organisation’s culture.

Aristotle said it best:

Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit

Personal development and continuous skills training are also an acknowledgement that things can be improved upon, and that’s a healthy place for any company.

Keen to get more information on how to improve as a leader? See these articles:

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