If you’re an entrepreneur, you should work toward working yourself out of the job. While different entrepreneurs enjoy different end goals, the ones who work to one day not have to show up to work seem to have achieved a new echelon of time freedom. They can do as they please, which seems to be the goal for most everyone who works for a living. This is best achieved by honing and working your craft and business in such a way that eventually you have the people, processes, and systems in place to where you’re no longer needed day-to-day. Others have got this. You trust in others to execute the systems and processes you’ve set up so that the business thrives in your absence. Your presence, while nice, is not necessary. You are optional. This can be a difficult end result to accept for many entrepreneurs who are used to working hard. What if you set your business up so that it ran without you? This makes them uncomfortable. It’s scary, especially since most entrepreneurs are control freaks who are loathe to give up the reins. But it is possible. Many business owners work their systems and processes to eventually do just this. Note how much easier it is to sell a business when it runs like a well oiled machine off of systems and processes. Think McDonalds. Each location is dozens of repeatable processes. Again and again and again. All day long and into the night. Then, the people wake up the next day and do it all over again. The franchise owner is hands-off for the most part, depending upon their demeanor and style of management. Look at how much better this is than top-down, owner-working-70-hour-work-week style working. You must have systems and processes in place in order for this to happen. You’re freed. You’re time (and money) rich. In fact, you might have so much new-found freedom you don’t know what to do with yourself. This is a problem that very few will offer their sympathies for. So, you’ll probably start another business like most serial entrepreneurs do. They simply cannot help themselves.
Thought leaders and management texts state that the job of any great leader should be to work himself out of the job. They should be able to teach, transform, and offer more responsibility to each of their subordinates that one day they’re no longer needed in the role. Everyone gets elevated in this process. The leader either moves up or moves onto the next level of leadership, wherever that is. And the subordinates move onto their next level of leadership, either in the same company or elsewhere of their choosing. Great leaders teach. Great leaders transform people. Great leaders transfer confidence into their people to see that they possess the knowledge, talent, and capability to do the tasks at hand. They’re already good enough in most areas. And where they’re deficient, they can grow into those roles and responsibilities. Exceptional leaders make these things happen through the above. While some may not be comfortable with working themselves out of the job, no one is in a single job forever. Everyone eventually moves on. Why not work it to where the people you lead can one day lead themselves and others? For isn’t this the ultimate responsibility of all leaders and the crux of leadership itself? We’re not going to be there forever. We’ve got to do our best with what we’ve got. What do we have right now? And how do we make it better? Also, isn’t working yourself out of the job what the Humble Leader would do? Exuding humility that you’re not here forever while you lead and grow others into their next roles & responsibilities? Especially since we have less time than we think? The humble leader recognizes that one day she will move on. No one’s in the job forever. Great entrepreneurs recognize this as well and lead accordingly. Remember the ultimate job of the leader: to teach, to transfer confidence, to grow others into their next roles. Leaders who do this are always in demand and create fierce loyalty in their subordinates.