You’ve started your own business, and you’ve found success; congratulations are in order! It can feel incredible to build something with your own two hands, to have a vision and the wherewithal to see it through. You’re living the dream, after all; you set your sights on a goal, and through your ambition and dedication you’ve made it happen. To paraphrase Dr. Dre: “Anybody can get it, the hard part is keeping it”. I don’t know that anyone can get it, but keeping what you’ve built is hard, and one of your greatest enemies is yourself. You need to keep your ego in check.
Doing this can be particularly difficult; after all, you have accomplished what most people only dream of. That feeling of being on top of the mountain can be overwhelming; it’s hard not to pat yourself on the back for everything you’ve done! The problem is, when you start thinking you’re the greatest thing since sliced bread, you can risk alienating the people around you. The more confident you are in your own righteousness, the less likely you are to listen to good suggestions from your staff or requests from your business partners. They might see you as too self-important, or worse yet, as totally unapproachable.
Your image has a dramatic impact on how others perceive you, and that’s important to keep in mind. Are your offices located on the top floor of the building, inaccessible without going through your secretary? If so, your employees will probably find you distant, or worse, uncaring; they won’t be keen on going to you with new ideas or concerns. Additionally, the distance you create between yourself and your employees means you won’t have your finger on the pulse of the company; you need to be in the midst of things, listening to conversations, making relationships with those who work with you, if you want to truly understand the company.
Of course, you do want to understand the company; you started it, after all! The more you lead from afar, the less you actually lead; like your company, your leadership should come from the heart. You want to love yourself unconditionally, no doubt about it, but when you’re so into yourself you don’t open your heart to others, it’s alienating. The passion you put into bringing your company to life should extend to everyone in your organization; after all, they are your company.
Sometimes, we’re not too full of ego to go and spend time with the members of our organization; we’ve simply got too much on our plates. It would be worth it and wonderful to chat with the people around you, but your nose is in the books, crunching numbers and working on strategy. You might be well served by getting some help with bookkeeping or accounting; having someone else take on some of the number crunching can get you back to what matters most: caring for the people in your company.