Among the many hats that entrepreneurs wear, that of the leader is the most important. You're going to do many tasks, but you won't be able to do everything alone. Successful businesses are built with a tribe of loyal and driven employees. Without them, you will find it difficult to get anything done on a meaningful scale.
1. You're a helicopter boss.
It's natural to be nervous about the daily functions of your business. At the start, it will feel like you're running on thin ice, and one false step seems like it would ruin everything. Let this anxiety take over and you might be tempted to start looking over people's shoulders, trying to make sure they're doing everything right, and taking over when they're not.
Unfortunately, this makes your employees feel devalued. They will feel like you don't trust them, so don't micromanage. Sit back, give them goals, and let them do their jobs.
2. You answer every question.
Knowing things feels great and is a validation of your experience and study, but sometimes, the best way to be a leader is not to give answers, but to guide people towards the process of finding those answers. Ask questions when employees come to you, as that will not only let you know what they want, but it expresses your trust in them.
3. You push employees too hard.
People need more than a steady paycheck to work well. They need to stay healthy in both body and mind. You might think that there's no time for 15-minute walks, but the importance of everyone's health makes those walks more valuable than the time they seemingly take away. Put emphasis on your employees' well-being and you'll be rewarded with loyalty.
4. You compare yourself to other leaders.
Comparing yourself to others rarely works out, if ever. Not only will you always find something to be unhappy about, it's never useful. No other entrepreneur will face exactly the same challenges and have the same experience or viewpoint as you. Each person's path to success is unique, and comparing yourself to others is holding yourself to a standard that doesn't apply to you.
Success will come eventually, and at a pace that will fit you and your resources. Focus on you, what you have, and the best you can do with both.
5. You're not delegating.
Pretty much every entrepreneur understands that they can't do it alone, and even if they had all the skills required they wouldn't have the time or energy to get everything done. Unfortunately, it's easy to get so passionate about your business that you want to do everything yourself. Alternatively, you may do more simply because you don't trust anyone else to do it.
In either event, taking on more than you can handle bodes poorly for your leadership. Not only do tasks start slipping through the cracks, your employees will feel the hectic air. Delegate to people who you trust to do well which will then empower and engage them in a way that promotes loyalty.
6. You launch too much, too fast.
As the founder and leader, your actions determine how efficient the business ultimately becomes. Since many things have to go through you first, your speed affects everyone else's. Some entrepreneurs feel like they need to keep sprinting to keep things running well.
Constantly launching initiatives and starting new projects might seem like a good idea, until your team starts stumbling. Your ideas might be good, but your team needs time to adjust and let ideas sink in. Take it slow, and talk to your team at every juncture to not only make sure that they understand why these tasks are there, but to find out how much time they'll need to adjust to the new workload.
7. You agonize over details.
Attention to detail is great, and is how you'll make sure that things go smoothly for the most part. However, you must also understand that things can and will go wrong. It's understandable that at times you may feel like things are falling apart due to these multitude of mistakes, but you can't let the small stuff get you down.
Let your employees handle the minutiae. Focus on the big picture, and you'll lead well. Sweat the small stuff, and you won't have the time or energy to ever direct your team to fame and fortune.
8. You show too many emotions.
The moment you let your emotions make decisions for you, things start going south for your credibility. Delayed responses to even basic requests, and a general appearance of being overwhelmed all contribute to weakened authority.
Managing your emotions is only the first step towards making sure your leadership remains respectable. You won't always be able to control them, so at times, you simply have to fake it. Knowing how you look and act when things go well gives you a script to fall back on when it's too much.