If your business has an empty office where the CEO should be, this is a clear indication that you’re wearing too many hats. The question is, are you willing to take off a few of those hats?
The Leap From Business Owner To CEO
Being the CEO means taking a high-level, strategic approach to your business. Someone has to make sure the ship is going in the right direction, and if you’re not the one giving the orders to raise the sails or row the oars, who is?
I know how it is for you as the busy owner of a successful business. You’re pulled in too many directions. You’re constantly copied on every single email that comes in. Not only do you know your customers by first name but they also expect to interact with you and, in some cases, want only you to solve their problem.
Do you think the CEO of General Electric knows every customer by name? Of course not!
Although you think it’s great that your customers know you, this is actually another challenge to growth. At some point, you have to stop being the guy who makes the sales, services the customers, and sweeps the floor when all the employees have gone home.
Besides, wearing too many hats just leaves your employees feeling undervalued. When you’re always stepping in or interfering with the employees trying to do their jobs, they’ll come away believing you think they just aren’t good enough. This gives the impression that you believe only you are capable of doing the task at hand.
“Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better…”
All these signs point to an owner who has fallen deep into the owner’s trap.
Of course, there are other factors behind this behavior. Maybe you really do know best how to do everything it takes to operate your business and you just can’t communicate it clearly. Or maybe you’ve made poor hiring decisions in the past that have left you still feeling the sting.
You may think documenting the work you do so someone else can learn it is a waste of time, or it’s just too hard to document. This kind of documentation, however, is the map of your operations. When you don’t have good documentation of processes and tasks, you will never get out of the owner’s trap.
The leap between business owner and CEO is never insurmountable, but it is a leap all the same. If you’re feeling insecure about how you lead people, or don’t believe you have the aptitude to be the one in the office overseeing things with a big-picture view, you’ll always hold yourself back from becoming the CEO.
If you think that you have to be able to document and communicate everything with precision, know your numbers perfectly, and do everyone’s jobs to be CEO, you’re not understanding the reality of the role. A good CEO will always surround themselves with the right people and lead them in a way that brings success to everyone.
You may believe you’re just too busy to make the transition, that your operations team needs you, and your customers need access to you. But the real question is, is it possible you’re still wearing all the hats because you’re afraid to step into being CEO?