By Daniel Hunter

As the nation becomes gripped once more by the budding entrepreneurs on the new series of the Apprentice, Cranfield University School of Management has called for entrepreneurs need to stop meddling and start managing.

TV shows such as the Apprentice and Dragon’s Den may illustrate just how many great entrepreneurs and business ideas Britain has to offer, however Professor Andrew Burke from Cranfield has concluded that the majority of self-starters in Britain are at risk of not achieving business success because of their own failings.

Cranfield University School of Management has produced an approach to leadership based on the behaviour of entrepreneurs and their relationship with key staff in thousands of growing UK companies.

They uncovered a number of key findings, identifying how most entrepreneurs often start well with good ideas, but fail to prosper because of their lack of leadership skills and a failure to delegate the day to day running of the business to others.

Instead of focusing on ideas and ways to grow the business, it has been revealed that many entrepreneurs get bogged down in areas such as administration and accounting, meddle in the jobs of those they employ, and are loathe to trust others with carrying forward their vision for the business - leaving little time to focus on the overall direction of the organisation.

Cranfield identified four dominant types of relationships that entrepreneur’s have with their staff; HEROES, MEDDLERS, ARTISANS, or most desirably STRATEGISTS. Strategists give their managers the tools to do the job and let them get on with running today’s business, whilst they plan for their future. Fewer than 5% of entrepreneurs in the study’s sample achieved the status of Strategist.

Instead, 90% of entrepreneurs were either classified as Heroes or Meddlers, either employing staff that are not able to manage adequately so the entrepreneur is forced (or chooses) to do it all, thus becoming the Hero, or meddles in the roles of others. Based on these findings, it follows that most entrepreneurs are a significant barrier to growth in their own firms.

Meanwhile separate research carried out for the National Business Awards Leadership white paper reveals less than half (44%) of bosses have gone on a leadership course to learn new skills despite almost all (93% saying they would consider changing their leadership style to boost business, morale and productivity.

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