7 Things Great Leaders Never Do Again

Good leaders can take a budding business and make it grow and flourish. Great leaders take a step back once it’s in bloom. But how, without letting the company wilt?

We asked the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), “What is one thing all leaders—founders, CEOs, managers—should say no to as their company grows, and why?”

1. Micromanage

As a company grows, you can’t have your hand in everything. Paradoxically, you’ll be less in touch with everything going on, so you’ll want to keep closer tabs. That’s fine, but be careful not to micromanage in a way that limits growth of the team you hired and constrains the very autonomy that probably attracted them to your company in the first place.

—Jason Shah, Do

2. Work on Saturdays

Founders and CEOs should discourage work on Saturdays unless it is critically important. Family and friends will appreciate it, and business will benefit. Taking time away from work will allow your mind to rest, and that will help you come up with new strategies and fresh ideas.

—Jason Kulpa, Underground Elephant

3. Do It All Yourself

It’s natural for most founders to want to do everything themselves. Most entrepreneurs see the things they do as the value they provide to the company. What actually makes you an entrepreneur is your vision for the business and your roadmap to get it there. Once a company grows, founders have to say no to doing everything themselves and instead train and trust others in order to scale.

—Enrico Palmerino, SmartBooks

4. Manage All Meetings

I think it’s important to trust your talent and let them run their meetings and drive key performance indicators without interference from the top. If you have A-players, let them drive their teams. You should focus on the bigger picture.

—Jeff Carter, Grand Coast Capital Group

5. Put Out Fires

In the transition from small but proven company into a larger, scalable one, founders often get lost putting out fires. However, as founders they are the only ones who can hire people to put out those fires and create processes to grow the company, build culture and hire the correct team. If they don’t say no to some of the little things, their employees will never take over, and growth stalls.

—Brennan White, Cortex

6. Take the Wrong Speaking Gigs

The more successful your business, the more credible you seem. This can result in many speaking requests for your expertise. While each speaking gig can be great for your exposure, choose the right gig that can allow you the most effective impact on your audience. By doing every speaking gig, you’ll eventually spread yourself thin and the business will suffer. Choose your impact wisely!

—Kenny Nguyen, Big Fish Presentations

7. Hire Without Planning

As a company, one of our best indicators of expansion is that we need more people to help us with our project. But be careful when doing so. Big teams come with big challenges in terms of internal communication, organization and management. There should be big teams only when it’s really necessary.

—Nacho Gonzalez, Mailtrack.io

You can be a leader without the titlehere's how.


Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprising the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

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