Episode 30 image

Leadership Backup

Great team but feel busier than ever? It might be time to call in leadership backup. 



Are you a business owner with a great team, but you feel busier and more overwhelmed than ever? In this episode, Julie shares the three reasons this may be true for you, how to address them, and why it might be time to call in leadership backup.


Hey there, this is Julie Bee, and you’re listening to They Don’t Teach THIS in Business School. I’m so glad to have you with us today/thanks for being here with me today. 

Through consulting and coaching, I help many business owners with their very important problems and their very important possibilities – their VIPs as I call them. 

One of those very important problems is often also a very important possibility – my business owner clients often have a great team around them doing great work, and yet the business owner feels busier than ever. 

Does this sound familiar? Many business owners think that once they hire great people, their jobs will get a little easier, but that is rarely the case – and here’s why. 

First, when you hire great people, those great people usually bring a lot of great ideas to the table. They bring energy; they fit your culture; and they do great work. They also have ideas worth exploring. And they bring those ideas to you, the business owner. Now you, as their leader, you don’t want to ignore those ideas. You need a system to handle them, though, because at times it can feel like drinking from a fire hydrant. If you don’t have the system to harness all that greatness, you will feel like you are busier than ever, in constant meetings about ideas, and trying to identify which idea to explore. You want to have an open door to this because the last thing you want is to discourage your great team from bringing their ideas to you. 

All I’m saying is, you need a system for it. 

That’s usually the first reason why business owners who have a great team around them often feel like they’re busier than ever. You’re trying to lead all of that greatness without a system, and it’s overwhelming. 

Secondly, great employees want a great leader. The more people you have working for you, the more leadership demand you have on your shoulders. So while your team may be running the business for you, you are still likely running all the leadership angles. You can lead many people, but having all the leadership responsibilities on your shoulders is a full-time job in itself. The solve for this is to train some of your key team members to become leaders themselves. That will enable you, the business owner, to move from being a leader of managers to become a leader of leaders, and will help you spread around the leadership needs and responsibilities of your growing company. 

Third, the business owner often doesn’t have any leadership backup to help them train some of their key team members to become leaders in the business. In my key employee coaching program, I often serve as that leadership backup to business owners. If my client is training a key employee to step into a leadership role, there are times when my client can say to that key employee, “John, this sounds like something you could discuss with Julie to get her guidance on how to lead here – why don’t you reach out to her on this one?” I’ve found that business owners, when they do have leadership backup, can take a breath and not feel as overwhelmed by the responsibilities of leadership. It’s nice to have that backup in a variety of situations, but especially when you are the boss. Sometimes it isn’t the business owner who needs the coaching; it’s the key employee. This method helps you and the key team  member gain perspective when your leadership backup partner can look at things more objectively and guide you and your team through it. 

As you know, I talk about burnout a lot, and have a book coming out about it the near future. I believe that this dynamic – when a business owner has a great team of people but feels busier than ever – is one element that can turn into burnout for that business owner. They do not have the support or resources they need to harness and encourage the awesomeness of their teams. If this dynamic isn’t addressed, those great employees eventually stop bringing new ideas to the table because their leader does not have the capacity to hear them or act on them – and that’s the last thing you want. 

So if you are a business owner who has a great team of people, who has a growing business, but you are busier and more overwhelmed than ever, it might be time to call in some leadership backup before having a great team turns into burnout for you. 

I’m Julie Bee, and They Don’t Teach THIS in Business School