Every one of us has a multitude of personality traits within us – we are soft and strong, reserved and outgoing, ambitious and easygoing. We are one way with our partner, another way with our children, and yet another with our colleagues.
Different environments and circumstances we call upon the traits that best serve us in that moment. But what happens when you fall back on traits that you are most comfortable with, rather than reaching into yourself for the one that is most appropriate – especially when things get tough?
Sarah spent her lifetime caring for others. As a child, she cared for her own mother who leaned on her for stability and support – in fact she still does this now. At home, Sarah is the mother to three young children, ages 1, 4 and 6. Given this pattern, it only felt natural to her that she would also be a caretaker for her employees and her business. She was a mom at home, and carried that with her at work.
When Tony asked Sarah at Business Mastery “What is the chokehold on your business?” she answered like most people do, citing tangible numbers-based evidence to say that she was growing faster than working capital could keep up. However, when Tony dug deeper, she admitted the real problem that was preventing her business from growing: she doesn’t like to fire people.
Tony always says, “the chokehold on the growth of your business is the psychology and the skills of the leader.” In Sarah’s case, she had the skills and the drive to build a thriving, highly profitable hospice business, but her psychology was holding her back.
While Sarah loves her business and is deeply connected with her mission to serve people, her leadership style was driving her margin down and threatening her future, and the future of all those she serves.
Sarah was operating her business as an artist – and as a mother. She was passionate about her work and about her clients, but she also let her employees take advantage of her compassionate nature. What she needed was to tap into her inner manager and stop taking care of her employees in order to take control of her business.
Many business owners believe, like Sarah did, that their employees are causing their business pain, frustration, loss of revenue and holding them back from growing. But as Tony tells her, you get what you tolerate, and if, like Sarah, you’ve created a culture that tolerates anything less than the best from your employees, that is what you will get. Sarah had to set a new standard and raise her expectations if she was going to create a more profitable business.
Sarah knows that her gift in business is that of the artist. But in order for a business to be successful, artists also need manager/leaders and eventually entrepreneurs if they are going to grow. When you take a close look at your values, at what energizes you and at how you best interact with others, you can discover your own true gift – and when Tony helped Sarah better understand her gift as an artist, she was empowered to become the leader her business truly needed.
Her business and her employees didn’t need a mom… they needed Sarah to become a strong, certain leader instead of a pleaser.