Self-development is not solely about you as the entrepreneur—it is also an issue that concerns, affects and shapes your team.
Better self-development means better people
First of all, an entrepreneur who is constantly looking to better themselves in relevant ways for the sake of the business will attract higher-quality people to the team. People who are also interested in bettering themselves, and as result bettering the business.
It may not be obvious that this is going on, but it seems to be a universal rule that positive and successful people attract other positive and successful people. And an entrepreneur who has a refreshed sense of focus, drive and purpose thanks to self-development, will recognise this in others too.
Making sure your team has good wellbeing and self-development
Self-awareness plays an extremely important role in personal wellbeing and self-development. Alongside this should be a careful awareness of how your team is doing and what they need, as well as what their gaps in skills/knowledge are, and how best to go about filling them.
As the entrepreneur, it goes without saying that you should be caring, supportive and offer guidance at the appropriate time. But equally it’s up to you to try to instil a culture in the company where people look out for these things themselves and take action, so that over time you can rest assured that the team will take care of itself.
By becoming a more self-aware leader you ensure that you don’t drive your team too hard, that they are motivated to keep developing and improving in their careers, and that you generally have a strong, healthy team. And when the business leader has a well-balanced life and comes into the office every day with energy, focus and passion, the positive effect in the office will be palpable—this is leading by example.
While leading by example is great, there is a great deal more to good leadership than this, and while there are some entrepreneurs out there who are naturally good at leadership, most of us are not. For your team and your business to truly grow, scale and thrive, you need to be a great leader.
Ensure that as part of your self-development you learn more about how to lead. Read books, go on leadership courses, talk to your mentors, get coaching—there is no one-size-fits-all approach to this, but ensure that you do it. I would summarise leadership by stating that if you want to scale then being an entrepreneur is not enough—you need to become an incredible leader.
Combining delegation with playing to your strengths and unique abilities
At some point as the business develops you need to ensure that you find a way to play to your own strengths and unique abilities as an entrepreneur. It is the only real way that the business can evolve. The concept of playing to strengths and unique abilities is something that you should also apply to everyone in your team. When I realised the importance of this simple concept and I started to implement it within the business, it was transformational.
However, in order to play to your own strengths and unique abilities, it is inevitable that you are going to have to delegate and ‘let go’. This has been one of my own personal challenges that I have had to overcome and it has been one of my biggest lessons.
For many years I strived to form a leadership team such that I could delegate and let go, but failed on each and every occasion. What I finally learnt was that I had not been emotionally ready to give up the operational reigns, whatever my voice was saying. When I was, it was simple. As a result I also learnt that truly letting go means committing to the decision on every level—dedicating yourself to it, and carrying it out with the same passion and determination you gave to starting the business in the first place.
What’s really wonderful is that in letting go, I have actually reinvigorated my passion for the business and found my entrepreneurial spirit again. This will happen for you as well once you have a platform where your business is being nurtured, protected and developed such that you can make a greater contribution as a result.
Trusting your team
I often recommend taking fairly regular time away from the business in order to rest and gain perspective. But there is another great reason for doing this—it develops your team’s skills at handling the business when you are not there, and also makes them feel that they are trusted.
It really can be amazing what happens in your business when you’re away. People take responsibility and step up, and grow as individuals. It shows you that you don’t always have to be the superhero who does everything themselves—you can trust your team. Of course, this requires careful planning and delegation before you leave so that people feel confident to do what needs to be done, but properly executed it will help your business grow from strength to strength as leadership qualities are developed in the team. It can be difficult for this to happen if you are always around.
- This is an excerpt from Warren’s book, Evolve to Succeed, which is available here.