Agencies that want to scale up no longer need founders— they need leaders.
You were an awesome founder! Now it’s time to take off that hat. From here on, your ability to lead is what’s going to grow your agency.
Shauna Moran, founder of Operation Remote, is an accredited coach, consultant, and emotional intelligence practitioner. She has unique experience in building and managing remote teams on an international level, coupled with an academic background in psychology and innovation management, and extensive research in remote-working strategies.
Here, Moran shares her inside tips on going from the hustling founder of a small, scrappy agency to an effective leader of an innovative ecommerce service provider.
How to Move from Founder to Leader
As an entrepreneur, you had a concept. As a founder, you worked very hard to make that concept a reality. You generated revenue by obtaining clients and sourcing the best talent to help you scale and grow.
That “founder mentality” was absolutely critical in getting you where you are today, but to get you to where you want to be five years from now, you’ll need to change your mindset once again. At a certain point, if you’re going to move forward, you need to shift gears from founder to leader.
Delegate, Good Times, Come On!
One thing leaders have to do, whether it comes naturally or not, is delegate. Once you have a team around you that produces high-quality work, it’s time to trust them! Delegation is an art that requires the drive to improve, open communication lines between teams, and consistent performance management.
Evolve Beyond Self-Interest
To earn the title of leader, you must evolve beyond seeking your own interests, status, and recognition. Your success will now be defined by how successful your team is. It’s your job to remove the blocks to their success—so they can thrive.
Create structures within the business to set the team up for success, such as goal setting, time management, and continuous development.
A Compelling Vision
Human capital is now widely valued as one of the most important contributors to the company’s sustainable performance and growth. To attract and retain quality employees, a team needs a strong vision, and that starts with you embracing a visionary leadership style.
Title, salary, and benefits package are just not enough anymore. Employees now expect a company to also have a clear and compelling vision—a reason for doing what they do. When this is missing, it leads to a lack of engagement, productivity, and eventually, staff churn. Clearly define your company vision and mission, and ensure your leadership team are aligned on how that vision is brought into daily/weekly/team/online interactions. Always lead by example: walk the talk, and others will follow.
When your vision is compelling and your culture is thriving, you open up other possibilities for your agency, such as hiring remote employees. One of the most common challenges agencies face is sourcing talent in a specific location. When you hire remotely, you have access to a global pool of talent.
Invest in Coaching
One of the most effective ways you can grow as a leader is by developing a leadership style that uses coaching. Coaching is, in essence, unlocking people’s potential to maximize their performance.
When you begin to use a coaching leadership style, the culture of your organization will start to change. The old idea of hierarchy gives way to partnership and collaboration. Blame gives way to honest evaluation and learning, external motivations are replaced by self-motivation, protective barriers fall as teams build, change is no longer forced but welcomed, and satisfying the boss becomes pleasing the customer. Short-term, fire-fighting reactions become strategic thinking.
Instead of you being the problem solver, you’re now empowering your team to find the solutions.
Level Up Your Organization with Bold Leadership
Levelling up your organization requires bold leadership. If you want to scale, generate more revenue and reap the other benefits of growth, you have to grow personally as well. Making the move from founder to leader requires a pretty big mindset shift, but you’ve done that before.