What Is The Big Reason Business Owners Struggle?

One of the best discussion groups for business owners on LinkedIn is the Business Knowledge Share run by American Express. The question above was posed by the moderator today and this is the response that I wrote.

First, business owners, especially founders, never seem to shake the “I’m 100% responsible for everything” condition. This problem is more complicated than simply the aversion to delegation. Owners really feel responsible. If more could see the parallels between managing and parenting-no, I don’t mean reading to employees at night or going to their games-I mean helping employees to become responsible adults in the business and backing them up when they stumble. It is really hard to step back and let others do it, whether they do it differently than you would or not. ‚Ä®Second, business owners love to solve problems. I sometimes wonder if it is an addiction. My late business partner called it the “Mighty Mouse” Syndrome after the cartoon character of the 50s and 60s. Someone would be in distress and Mighty Mouse would fly in and sing “Here I come to save the day.” Solving a problem is a rush. So the question is, why would you rob your employees of feeling that same feeling when they solve problems? Maybe it is the indirectness of it that bothers people. It looks easier if you do it yourself rather than go through the effort of creating the conditions under which an employee can successfully take responsibility. But continuing to avoid building your staff’s ability to be responsible is like death by a thousand cuts-every time means moments lost from other pursuits and 70 hour weeks that never end.