How to Grow Your Business Even If You Are a Bad Manager

I’ll begin this post by admitting a major shortcoming – I am a terrible manager.  In fact, I may just take the award for worst manager in the world.

I change my mind constantly.

I don’t communicate my vision clearly.

I give people projects and then don’t follow up.

And yet, I’ve still been able to build businesses that make a lot of money, make change in the world and help a lot of people.

How is that?

Because I’ve stopped thinking I should be the manager.  I’ve accepted my own shortcomings and been willing to own them.

Now, if you too are a bad manager and you are ready to own that, you have two options when it comes to building your business:

1. Build a business that does not require management – a consulting or coaching type business that you can do with just you and a key assistant.

2. Bring on a manager to manage your team so you don’t become the bottleneck that keeps the vision from moving forward.

Option 1 can be great, but ultimately, it’s not scalable. That means you may burn out on your vision before it’s fully realized.

So, option 2 it is if you want to make a big impact in the world.

The key to making it work is to bring on the right manager.  That  means make sure you have a clean, clear, honest, open and communicative relationship with this person.

And know that’s easier said then done.

In my prior businesses, I did not do this well. I built teams. I hired managers. We made lots of money.  And I was miserable.

I thought I was being open and honest and communicative.  But, I wasn’t.  Not enough.  Not with myself.  And not with my managers.

To really do this well requires a tremendous degree of self honesty, self knowledge and truth.

And so as I ventured forth into this new business around helping you build a business around your Great Work, I was tempted to go with business model #1.  Keep it small.  Keep it simple.

Just me and an assistant. A little coaching. A little consulting. A couple of info-products, maybe a group program.


The problem with that is I cannot contain my vision and suddenly I find myself expanding and growing in spite of myself.  My assistant gets overloaded. My inbox way out of control.  And I’m back to being the bottleneck again.

Frustration ensues.

So I’ve had to accept that because of who I am at my core, I have to step through the fear of building another team and risk ending up miserable again.

I’ve had to look at what I did in my prior businesses that led to that misery and discover a new way.  And now, I’m stepping through the massive discomfort that comes along with all growth and bringing in a manager to help me execute on this big vision.

But this time, I’m doing it totally differently.

1. I’m not withholding anything.  I’m bringing the principles of radical honesty into the business even when it’s really, really hard.

2. I’ve brought in a manager who is as committed to doing his own inner work as I am and puts that first and foremost.

3.  We are building the business based on the principles I’m going to share with you more completely on New Year’s Eve.  I’m getting naked and revealing all of it.

It’s different.  It’s still scary.  And, I’m feeling the fear and doing it anyway.

1 Comment

  1. BarbaraWednesday, December 29, 2010 at 9:07 pm 

    Alexis, I love this! I’m a pretty sucky manager too, and I know it’s best to acknowledge this and move past it. Looking forward to your next post on this!

    -Barbara Holden

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