You know what it’s like when you start up a business. You’re an entrepreneur and you do everything you can and everything you need to get it up and running.

You go out and find customers. You deliver fantastic service so they’re happy and may come back for more.

And over time, you grow. You get busier. It gets more difficult to get everything done in the hours you have available. Eventually, you have to face it – you’re going to have to bring in someone else into this business!

And then what happens? You’ve never actually employed someone before. No one has really shown you what to do and how to do it.

So what do you do?

Like most people in your situation, you make it up as you go along! And most of the time it goes generally OK.

Now let’s run the clock forward a while. Let’s say you’ve now got a few staff working for you. At this point, it can get a bit tricky. Why? Because they’re not quite as good as you are at dealing with customers. You wouldn’t have sent that particular email would you? You would have said it a bit differently. You wouldn’t have made the same decision about a new deal. The list of examples goes on – actually, it’s endless.

The point is that your people do things differently from you. They don’t think the same way as you, they don’t act the same as you.

But who’s better?

Recently, Cranfield School of Management produced a report laying bare the problems of “meddling managers”. They found what you probably already know – that too many people running businesses find it difficult to let go of the routine tasks that up until they hired extra staff, they’d been doing themselves. They stay involved, stick their oar in, they meddle!

They don’t spend enough time managing. And they don’t spend anywhere near enough time planning the future – being strategic.

Sure, it’s easier said than done – especially when “your staff are not as good as you”. But if you keep playing the game with those rules, you won’t win the game.

Cranfield’s research came up with four types of leaders based on the styles each typically displays. Based on the definitions below, which one of these best matches your main style?

  • Strategists
  • Meddlers
  • Heroes
  • Artisans

Only a small proportion of leaders are strategists. These people give their teams the tools to do their jobs. Note – they don’t just give them the jobs, they give them the “tools to do their jobs”. Big difference! With a huge difference in pay-off – and reward.

Meddlers, as we’ve seen, hold back growth by keeping hold of the day-to-day tasks – including the day-to-day management tasks that other people in their teams could be doing instead.

Heroes head up key tasks like sales. On the face of it, they are great and essential. But in reality they fail to see the bigger picture and don’t plan the future of the business. Unsurprisingly, a better future for a business staffed by heroes is rarely enjoyed.

Artisans spend their time producing a product or delivering a service. They’re too busy doing the job, so again, the all-important planning doesn’t get done. Strategy doesn’t get a look in.

Do any of these styles of leadership ring true for you? We certainly see them in many businesses.

The good news is that, as a business owner, once you have identified your leadership style, you can change it if you want to. And if you have identified yourself as a meddler, hero or artisan, that might be exactly what you want to do now.

Because the reality is that the most successful businesses – the ones reaping the greatest rewards – are led by strategists. Not maybe, probably or possibly. The most successful businesses ARE run by strategists.

The good news is that being a strategist is a skill – and it’s one that can be learned, practised and developed.

To be a strategist we need to set goals and have a process of how we are going to get there!

We have a tool to start that process … it’s called the ACC system. You can access the system for FREE here.

About the Author Chris

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