Unique challenges of founder managers

They say that most Western Economies are driven by SME companies.  As financial backers of this space, such as Private Equity, will tell you, founder managers are often very different kinds of executives, often driven very very different fears to the rest of us.  They have often lived with their project as it has become a small company, then medium and large.  There are common issues though:-

Most notably, it can be lonely at the top.  More than most managers, they find they cannot show weakness or fear.  Very often, there is nowhere to run or hide.  They will have had possibly a long journey from founder to manager to leader and they may not naturally have the skills or aptitudes to see them through the transition.  Why or how should they?

unknown-1These individuals have often performed stunningly to get where they are. As they have gone through their personal journey, relationships will have changed.  There may be key individuals they depend on who were once buddies, but there is now some different relationship.

The journey can often lead to larger places where one must let go control and develop influence to replace it.  This transition will also lead to occasional conflict and you need to be able to manage it.   It is highly likely that financial and investor management will raise their heads.  The individual has probably never seen “the right answer” in an earlier career, so is in frequent discovery mode and all that comes with it.  They will need to to move from doing things right, to doing the right things.  They will need huge reserves of self awareness, courage, conviction and commitment – or at least have those reserves topped up and maintained.

©Lumina Coaching Ltd