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The Ninth Commandment Of Highly Effective Leadership: Learn How To Delegate

Jacob M. Engel

Author and CEO of The Prosperous Leader. I help CEOs and their organizations prosper.

My mentor, Roy Cammarano, wrote a very insightful book called Entrepreneurial Transitions: From Entrepreneurial Genius to Visionary Leader. When I first read his book, it gave me such clarity about why most entrepreneurs stay stuck and many fail — it’s because they don’t understand how to become a visionary leader.

What he explains is that most, if not all, entrepreneurs start with a great business idea (e.g., a better mousetrap) or a great business investment. But to succeed, they must wear multiple hats at once. They are the genius behind the business, and they need to be geniuses at everything the business does. At any given time, they are the buyer, seller, bookkeeper, IT person, etc., and most importantly, they must show great results with their product or service.

As the company grows, they often realize that they can’t do everything alone, so they hire their first employee of many. Often, it doesn’t work out — mostly because they may not really know what they want from the new hire, so they overwhelm them without providing the proper training and without identifying what skillsets the person needs or even whether they are able and willing to do the job.

Usually, what happens next is that once there are multiple employees, everyone is asking the boss what needs to be done and the boss becomes a benevolent dictator. Benevolent as in well-meaning, yet a dictator nonetheless.

The boss is then inundated with employees asking for direction, instructions and advice. And who else but the boss is able to give such direction, instruction and advice or make decisions?

This is the critical point, or as my mentor calls it, the danger zone, depending on whether the entrepreneur sets the business up correctly or not.