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Many entrepreneurs get into business because they don’t want to (or can’t) work for anyone else. 

They have either: 

  • Always worked for themselves (I know many great entrepreneurs who started at age 16 and never stopped).
  • Or they cut their teeth working for someone else and realized they wanted to be the owner of their own business.

Entrepreneurs often start with maybe one employee. And then grind through the pains of a startup. Because they have had to rely on themselves, many score low in trust on the personality profiles I use. This manifests in having trouble delegating and entrusting others with tasks.

(Photo: NiseriN / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

(Photo: NiseriN / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

This low trust is a liability, not only because owners don’t build up a highly empowered team but also because they are reluctant to follow the new ideas from their team and this becomes a debilitating blind spot for the business.

Luckily, you can change this bad habit. One way to turn this around is to find opportunities to participate in something as a follower.

You can: 

  • Join a nonprofit board that has a great leader. Don’t get stuck under bad leadership.
  • Join a club. I belong to a men’s running club where the mission is fellowship. I am learning to enjoy running and to support others by following the group leader’s vision.
  • Join a peer group, which is a form of “followership” (but more akin to fellowship) such as Leader’s Edge Landscape Peer Group.
  • Take advantage of other servant relationships (at your church or in your own marriage and family.)

Note: Many employees are already good at this. If the general manager role is a position within your operation, the general manager must be excellent at both following the boss and leading the team. 

Owners can become excellent at both once they realize what’s at stake.

Your challenge is to apply this concept of “followership” to your business and establishing relationships with your new hires.

  • As a business owner, assess your trust levels and find opportunities to be a good follower both inside your firm and outside. Get outside help if this is holding you back.
  • When hiring for important leadership roles in your firm, look for evidence in their past of both leadership and followership (sometimes known as servant leadership).

Good luck!

P.S. if you want to visit a hugely successful landscape company where the owner hired a CEO and now reports to him, join George Tucker, owner of LanDesign, and me in St. Louis Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 at the Summer Growth Summit.

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Jeffrey Scott

About the Author:

Jeffrey Scott, MBA, author, specializes in growth and profit maximization in the Green Industry. His expertise is rooted in his personal success, growing his own company into a $10 million enterprise. Now, he facilitates the Leader’s Edge peer group for landscape business owners—members achieve a 27 percent profit increase in their first year. To learn more visit

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