I have had the honor of coaching extremely intelligent people. You know the type – Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings….‘single-handedly’. Intelligent entrepreneurs tend to be extremely driven, extremely capable, and, ah-hem, accustomed to working alone! Ironically, the characteristics that enable these individuals to reach their goals can be the same characteristics that impede their ability to lead others.
True leadership requires the vision, communication of the vision, motivation to pursue the vision, and empowerment to implement the vision. In smaller business, the visionaries are completely sold out to making the vision become a reality. As a result of their dedication, their businesses grow. But, growing businesses may need more people-power than the leaders can give on their own.
While building the team, intelligent entrepreneurs (turned CEOs) find employees aren’t as committed to the tasks at hand, don’t make the best decisions, and certainly don’t meet expected timelines. “Why don’t they just figure it out? Why must everything be escalated to me? I could do it, why can’t they?” Most intelligent leaders just don’t ‘get’ why their employees ‘just don’t get it’!
Guess what? If you are an intelligent leader, then perhaps:
- You have been eating, drinking, and sleeping your ‘dream’ – maybe for years. You anticipate every turn, you ignore your personal sacrifices a 100 times before breakfast (if you eat breakfast)! You ARE good, no, GREAT at what you do and how you do it. This is your curse: no one can do it exactly like you do it or nearly as fast!
- Your team may perceive you as impatient, short on clarity, and insensitive to basic human needs. In fact, ambitious leaders may instill fear into a confused and weary team. Most employees wish to please the ‘boss’. But, if they are equipped with poor tools, skills, or motivation –mistakes will be made. Your team can fail no matter how driven or capable you are!
I challenge you to incorporate a ‘margin of compassion’. The Margin of Compassion is the ‘extra’ patience and gentleness required to train and coach your team. Because, initially, anything your team does will take longer to learn, longer to complete, and longer to perfect. Oh, and remember, they simply don’t care as much as you do!
True leadership requires the vision, communication of the vision, motivation to pursue the vision, and empowerment to implement the vision. When you invest in your staff, you soon have more people doing the work you, single-handedly lost sleep doing…and your business multiplies. Invest in others and allow them to help you. Build in time for growth and imperfection. Your super-human ambition doesn’t have to be a curse –especially to those around you!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michelle Sugerman (PMP, PCC) is a speaker, author, and leadership coach with Leading Synergies. She founded Synergy Groups, virtual masterminds connecting Christians in leadership around the globe for the purpose of Community, Accountability, and Transformation. She also partners with high-performers and heirs-apparent especially in the STEM industries. Michelle’s formal background in technology, franchise, and project management gives her an edge on implementing best practices and scaling towards sustainable success. Michelle lives in Colorado where she hikes fourteeners and enjoys gourmet meals with her loving husband of 22 years.