With the passing of Stephen Covey, of 7 Habits of Effective People fame, I have been in deep thought about the impact self-improvement has on leadership and business growth.  I was an early advocate of Covey’s model, as I felt it simplified a very complex problem we all have – in what order do we deal with problems.

My main take away from the model was that we cannot engage in proper relationships with others until we understand ourselves.  This is huge when it comes to leadership, as it tells us that we can’t lead others unless we first lead ourselves!

This is a difficult concept for many, including me, because most of us were raised to put others first.  Not doing so was considered selfish.  But in fact psychologically, if we have internal struggles with ourselves those problems will always manifest themselves outwardly in other ways. We need to have the courage to face that internal struggle if we ever hope to be a better leader for our business.

This is a critical lesson!  One that I try to get small business owners to learn as soon as possible when begin coaching them.  If you cannot take responsibility for yourself, then how can you take responsibility for your business and employees, or even more significantly, how can you ask others to take responsibility for themselves?

I’ll give you an example.  How many times have you heard a business owner complaining about the performance of their business; how key employees are failing to meet objectives; vendors quality is not where it needs to be, and the list goes on and on.

Well, as the owner of the business can’t they change those things?  They are in charge, aren’t they!?  Or are they?

If you think about it a good leader has the courage to take the action needed to correct all of those problems.  The problem is often the small business owner doesn’t know how to correct the problems, so they just complain about them.

Wouldn’t a more effective way to deal with the problems be to get some help and learn how to deal with them?  Of course it would.  But there is the rub!  That means that they have to look in the mirror and say –“I AM THE PROBLEM!”  That takes courage!

It takes a lot of courage to admit that you are the problem.  But, it is the first step in fixing the situation, whatever it may be, and taking a step forward to becoming a better leader.

Your business will only grow when you grow.  Remember there are 2 factors that impact business growth – leadership factors and management factors.  The leadership factors mean you must mature as a business leader to meet the challenges of your growing company.

Do you have the courage to get there?  Or, do you have some growing to do?  If you are ready to grow as a leader, I would be honored to assist you in that process.  Send me an email, if you have the courage to admit that you’re the problem and are ready to become a better leader of your growing small business!