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Should You Be the Leader of Your Small Business? Some entrepreneurs are born to start businesses, but not all of them can inspire greatness in the ranks. Here's how to tell if you're really cut out for leadership.

By Carol Tice Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Should You Be the Leader of Your Small Business?Some entrepreneurs are born to start businesses -- often more than one. But not all of these idea people really want to lead a company. They simply don't have the leadership traits that would make them the best choice to head the company, especially as it grows larger. That's why so many founders are replaced before a company goes public -- investors want to know that a vibrant, inspiring figure whose core competency is leadership will be there to drive growth.

It's common for founders to step back from being CEO and take on some other role -- common titles for founders who have stepped away from the top spot include chief technology officer, board director, chief operating officer or research and development director. Some people are full of creative spark and have a passion for coming up with new concepts or for marketing their idea. Others love to lead teams of people and inspire them to do their best.

But rarely do these two innate drives reside in one person. Many entrepreneurs cling to leadership simply because they fear the loss of control, even though their business would be better off if they brought a passionate leader to the helm and focused on the part of the business they love.

So how do you know if you should lead your business? Here are some questions you should ask yourself:

  • Do you get a bigger thrill out of energizing workers and seeing your employees succeed than you do when you are successful yourself?
  • Do you feel that you wouldn't know what to do with yourself if you weren't heading the company?
  • Do you know instinctively what you want to do when confronted with managerial problems such as a team that has failed?
  • Do you feel compelled to lead? Dave Logan, a management consultant and an associate dean at the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business, recently wrote, if you feel you could do no other job,that's a strong sign you have the drive to continue leading your business to success.

On the flip side, if managerial tasks bore you, and you find yourself wishing you could get back to the lab/computer/workbench to tinker, your company might be better off without you at the top.

Do you feel driven to lead your business? Leave a comment and tell us if you'd rather take another role.

Carol Tice

Owner of Make a Living Writing

Carol Tice, a freelance writer, is chief executive of TiceWrites Inc. in Bainbridge Island, Wash. She blogs about freelance writing at Make a Living Writing. Email her at

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