Can you evolve from control freak to emotionally intelligent leader?

As your company grows, you can transition from startup entrepreneur to coach and mentor. Hint: It starts with trust.

As your company grows, how do you transition from startup entrepreneur to leader? A: Entrepreneurs are, by nature, idea people. But not all of them are people people, which makes this transition perhaps the trickiest part of an entrepreneur’s evolution.

“The entrepreneur personally has to continually evolve and grow as the business grows,” says Ed Hess, author of Grow to Greatness: Smart Growth for Entrepreneurial Businesses.

A professor at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, Hess has studied high-growth businesses and the common traits that enable them to prosper (or not). His research has shown that as businesses grow, successful entrepreneurs go through stages: from owner to manager to leader to coach. In that process, Hess says, they often need to adopt personal qualities that conflict with the very makeup of a do-it-my-way entrepreneur. That is, they must learn to delegate and trust.

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