Why being too responsible can harm your business

When a business leader is overwhelmed, his team can be negatively affected.

Taking responsibility and meeting the needs of others, especially those around you, is a sign of strong leadership in Arab culture.

A great leader is, in fact, one who anticipates the needs of others and addresses them before they ask.

When I first ventured into entrepreneurship, I was advised to always go the extra mile, to anticipate the needs of my team members and to treat them as I would treat my family.

I love this about our culture – how we are always encouraged to think of others when we think of ourselves, to think of the greater good, and to support our community.

But as important as it is to think of others, we shouldn’t forget to address our own personal needs, especially when it comes to managing a business.

Contrary to popular belief, there is such a thing as too much responsibility.

Business leaders can become too responsible by taking ownership of their team members’ problems and tasks.

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For example, a business acquaintance of mine would work overtime and on personal holidays because she felt guilty that her new team member was overworked.

This situation ended up taking up so much of her time that she couldn’t focus on her own responsibilities: running the business and thinking about its long-term strategy.

It was only when she noticed she was falling behind in achieving her goals and feeling tired that she decided to delegate this task to other team members.

Of course, being too responsible might not be the biggest risk a business owner would face.

However, when a business leader is overwhelmed, then their teams, as well as their business, are negatively affected.

Overly responsible leaders can feel overwhelmed and exhausted, leading to burnout.

When I first ventured into entrepreneurship, I was a one-woman team. That meant I was doing everything from AZ.

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With profits came more responsibility and more goals to achieve, which meant I had to hire new team members.

We were overloaded with tasks and my team members were also overloaded at times.

There were many times when I stayed behind to provide emotional support and guidance if needed.


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Even though I have a business partner who was in charge of it and I could go home, rest and work on my tasks, I felt guilty and couldn’t leave my team behind.

How do you know if you are in a similar situation?

Ask yourself: Are you too focused on the needs of your team members and customers that you neglect your own?

Are you micromanaging your team and overly focused on the details of your business? If so, these are signs that you are too responsible.

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So how can the situation be salvaged?

When I realized that I was being too responsible and it was hurting my business, I took a step back.

This meant I went back to assess my work commitments. I learned to delegate more responsibilities and not forget myself in the process.

While it’s important to be practical, it’s also important to let others help you carry the weight of responsibility.

No matter how good you think you are, you can’t do everything.

As my mother says, “You’re not Superman. You can’t do everything.”

Being accountable is an essential trait of business leaders, but don’t neglect your own needs while dealing with the needs of your team members, customers, and your business.

Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati writer and communications consultant based in Abu Dhabi.

Updated: November 14, 2022, 4:00 am


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