How YOUR leadership stimulates or shackles the growth of your business!!!

This is the first of a short series of blogs covering the above topic that I presented at Newcastle StartUp Week. During the series I will address 4 topics:

  1. How one emotion, FEAR, can limit growth and success.
  2. How you have a HUGE effect on your company’s CULTURE.
  3. How your PRESENCE is probably bigger than you think.
  4. What does GREAT LEADERSHIP look like, and HOW GOOD a leader are you?


Let’s look at the first topic…. ‘How one emotion can limit your own and your company’s growth and success’


One emotion FEAR, or in it’s lesser forms ANXIETY or WORRY, has a massive impact on how you lead your business even though you may not realise this. Fear isn’t a bad emotion because it get’s the adrenalin going and also helps us to avoid taking silly risks. However, fear constrains and limits many business leaders from realising their potential and that of their business. So why is this?


As your business grows although your increasing number of employees will do a greater share of the work you – the business leader – typically continue to make most, if not all, the important decisions because it’s natural that you like to make sure things get done and are done right. Therefore it’s not surprising that you get used to being in control, and you may even think that the success of your business has primarily been down to you making the right decisions. After all, you know you can trust YOU to make the right decisions – if you can’t then who can you trust?


The thought of allowing others to make significant decisions and you (consequently) not being in control can cause you to feel anxious so you find it hard to let go and allow others to take on more responsibility. Unfortunately, without realising it you have become and will be a bottleneck in your own business as long as most decisions have to come through you, and the only way you can cope is to work longer and harder. The anxiety or fear of losing control and perhaps losing what you already have – a very nice little business – starts to shackle the growth of your business. The desire to keep your business safe can be a strong one.


Even harder to overcome can be the fear of losing your sense of identity when you closely associate yourself with your business; when your success is inextricably interwoven with your company’s success; when you perceive your business to be part or an extension of you. You may perceive that if the business becomes less dependent on you then you are a lesser person?


To quote Bill Adams and Bob Anderson, founders of The Leadership Circle, ‘There is no safe way to be a great leader and no great way to be safe’. Similarly, there is no safe way to build a great business!


So how can you overcome these natural anxieties and fears?


One way is to spend time on creating a clear sense of PURPOSE of why your business exists, and a VISION of what it will look like when it’s a GREAT business: a purpose and vision that is so important to you that it continues to be the source of motivation and drive to overcome those anxieties and fears you experience until you have created the business you dream about.


Another way is to become skilled in noticing, understanding and managing your beliefs, assumptions and emotions so that you learn to control them rather then allowing them to control you. As Daniel Goleman would say, become emotionally intelligent. You can start by working on ‘BEING IN THE MOMENT’ which means:

  • Becoming more self-aware of your emotions, and how they are affecting your thinking and behaviour.
  • Fine tuning your senses, especially your visual sense, to notice the effect you are having on people around you.

I will expand on these last two points in the 3rd blog in the series.


If you want to learn more about how to create a clear purpose and vision, and how to engage employees in owning and committing to helping you to achieve your purpose and vision, or how to more effectively manage your emotions then contact me via


Twitter: @Marwelco

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