Small business founders are often quite successful at doing everything themselves. However, when forced to grow beyond the one-gal/guy show, many business leaders are unable to make the leap from a solo success to a successful leader and collaborator.
The transition from managing just yourself to managing others can be very difficult. The skills needed to lead yourself (primarily, self-reliance) are quite different from the skills required to lead others. Once the best candidate for every task, you can become a victim of your own talents as you are forced to delegate, share ownership, and "let things go."
There are a few common problems you’ll want to avoid:
Problem #1: You are doing things that can be done by others (although, admittedly not quite as well). Yes, it is always ideal to handle every inquiry or problem yourself. However, with many such tasks, you are not doing the critical things that only you can do. The leader of any endeavor should focus on the things that ONLY he/she can do.
Problem #2: As the founder, you’re still acting and thinking as the sole owner. When you fail to share ownership, you’ll fail to get those around you to care. This is not about money, it is about a mentality. Having only one person go the extra mile to spread the word and think of solutions to problems is not enough. You need to engage your team as owners by sharing credit, sharing responsibility, and sharing financial rewards.
Problem #3: You just want your team to get the job done rather than learn how to do the job better. Remember that the people who work for you are likely interested in more than money; they want to become experts. Besides being the leader, you need to be a teacher. Find opportunities to engage your team in whatever interests them, even if it is beyond the scope of their job.
No great enterprise can thrive off the energy of just one person. You must be able to evolve as a manager with the scope of your business.
***This article is adapted from the research and writing of Scott Belsky and the Behance team. Behance runs the Behance Creative Network, the Action Method project management application, the Creative Jobs List, and develops knowledge, products, and services that help creative professionals make ideas happen.