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Learn from my mistakes: How to lead a team when you're not used to it

My first effort at leadership was as a business owner. It was a small business with about 5 employees.

I was semi-absentee. I had daily communication, and in person once per week……sometimes less.

I relied on staff to take on a lot of responsibilities.

I cared about the business, and I cared about my employees. The business did well, I had very little turnover, and it was fun 3 years.

At the same time, while I was trying to grow a small business, I had a full time job in a corporate office. The company was growing fast, and right about the time I opened a small business 80 miles away, I was asked to lead a team of 14 to 16 people in my office.

I didn’t do so hot.

I remember making at least one person cry and another person most certainly wanted to smack me.

At my business, I was leading and the staff respected and liked me. At my job, I was struggling to be seen as a leader.

It took me years to figure out why I could be effective in one setting and fail in another.

-In my business, I was the top dog………..there was nobody above me. This actually took pressure off of me…….If I failed, if we failed, it was 100% on me. And that wasn’t going to happen.

-In my day job, I was a middle man. I had to take direction from above and even if I didn’t agree with it, was tasked with training my team.

-In my business, I made all of the decisions, with input from my team.

-In my day job, I made almost no decisions.

The company I worked for was lead by a control freak, a person who didn’t care what anybody thought, it only mattered what he thought. He was the type of person who would go to a person who reported to you, and alter the course of their day with something he wanted to do. Without you knowing about it.

Does this sound familiar to you?

It happens everyday in the corporate world because there are so few good leaders. There are some, don’t get me wrong, but the majority of companies have issues at the top.

All the top leadership had to do for me at my day job…my career, was let me lead. And mentor me.

That’s it. Get out of the way, and trust in your people.

So, I feel for you if you are living the middle management reality.

My advice: Get out. You don’t need that bullshit in your life.

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