If you’re like many business owners, you started in business to have more money and more time. But somehow, that dream of having more time for yourself never happened. As the company grew, the problems grew, and it seems that even when you delegate, people either make mistakes or come back to you with problems and questions.

In this blog, I’ll cover the core internal issues that can be the source of these problems. Obviously, some are external, but as the CEO or manager, a great place to start is with looking at your own values, because you have more control of your own values.

The question I want you to ask yourself is simple: What benefit do I get from having my employees come to me with problems, mistakes and emergencies? While that might be counter-intuitive, see if you relate to any of these examples my clients have seen for themselves.

  1. I feel respected, needed, or important. Everyone needs to feel unique and important. If you are a business founder, much of your sense of importance comes from being the very best at your profession, or at being an excellent problem solver.
  2. I need to feel a sense of control or make sure that all decisions are correct. As an entrepreneur, you know you have made mistakes, but it feels uncomfortable to have to deal with other people’s mistakes.
  3. Being busy with work allows me to avoid other parts of my life. For example, one of my clients had developed a company for 16 years. She knew it was time to start something new, but she had no idea what her mission in life might be for the next stage so it was easier to solve problems in the current business. In other cases, there may be stress at home, or other issues.
  4. I need to be an example to my staff. If they don’t see me working hard, they won’t work hard. Working hard is important, but measuring the hours work isn’t the same as measuring productivity. If you get the job done, does it really matter how long it took?
  5. The company is “my baby”. My own sense of identity is strongly caught up in this organization. While this is true of almost every company founder, you are reading this article because you want time for other things in your life.

All of these are completely normal and human emotions, but each one has the potential to stand in the way when it comes to having more freedom and time for a balanced life.

If you identified with anything on this list, you have taken the first step and identified where you truly are. You can’t make progress until you have an accurate pin on where you are right now. If you don’t relate to any of these, take a second look and spend some time thinking about your internal blocks to trusting your team to be more independent.

Following are some mindset shifts and tools that can help you address these internal attitudes.

  • If you are deriving a sense of importance by being needed to solve problems, start to look at other ways to resolve that need. Could you feel important or needed by being the dude who has more free time or by volunteering in your community?
  • Find ways to measure mistakes and allow your employees to make mistakes within a framework. For example, if a mistake would cost less than $200 or 1 day’s work, allow the employee to make the decision. Review the decisions on a weekly basis, so people will learn, and slowly expand people’s responsibility as they get more experience.
  • Look at the parts of your life that you do want to invest in, and get real about what skills you might want to develop. For example, if you haven’t spent a lot of time with your partner, you might invite your partner to a couples workshop or to read a book on romantic relationships together, so you can learn skills as well as invest time in that area.
  • If you are concerned about being an example to other people in the company, or about control, have meetings with the other managers to discuss their concerns and preferences. Allow them to be honest. You may find that they want to take more responsibility, and that they don’t think you need to be there all the time. You can also “cheat”. One of my colleagues wrote all of his email in the mornings, but set it to send at different times throughout the day, so it would look like he was at the office longer hours than he really was. He got all his work done in fewer hours while making sure his team felt he worked “hard enough”.
  • Take a look at how to train your employees to be greater experts than you are. This may seem scary at first, but think about being the manager with the best staff, instead of being the best manager. If you aren’t allowing people in your company to be better than you are, you are limiting your company’s growth.

These are just a few of the ways you can start to look into solutions for having more time for yourself, and getting out of the way of your business’ growth. It requires brutal honesty with yourself, but you didn’t get where you are now by avoiding confrontation. If you want further information on any of these methodologies, or a free coaching session specifically on what is holding you back, please sign up for a free consultation.

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