‘Hugging The Tree’ – Being an Objective leader in business

Put simply hugging the tree can prevent us from being effective leaders / owners and driving a business and its stakeholders forward. We, the owners/directors, can at times be too close to the ‘baby’ (business) that we have given birth too, invested blood sweat tears and worry over!  The key is becoming aware as to it being a bad habit, recognising the harm it can do and then taking a step or two back releasing to various degree’s control! 

Stepping Back:

It can be all to natural to bury your head so to speak in a specific role which is your natural default position, in my case for quite a few years. For example I was ‘lapping up’ being a project manager, in my previous business. I was ‘hugging’ that role, blindly and unknowingly, turning my attention and responsibility away from being a shareholder partner with the MD badge. Naturally I enjoyed that part of our business as that’s what I’d always done, I found myself in the business rather than being strategic, leading and managing the business and its stakeholders.

On reflection, colleagues at senior level had compensated for me playing at ‘projects manager’ in the early years, however that indeed created issue’s later when trying to create ‘change’ within the business on the realisation of bad habits within it….asking stakeholders/employees to adopt change is another discussion for another day!


As someone who has been there, ‘hugging that tree’ the best way to give an example I find of this on a practical level is to ask another SME owner/ entrepreneur to walk up to a wall with you. Place your noses against the wall and you ask the question, (when he/she is starring at the décor)….’what can you see in front of you’…often the answer is ‘wall’…approx. 12inches to the left and right of your vision!

Then very simply, take a few steps back in the same room starring at the same point, upon each step what do you now see?? Yes… obviously more wall but maybe a picture or two, upon further steps backwards, you may have a door or window come into your peripheral vision also!

Most occasion’s people twig as to the message, I did, very simple and very obvious! When you’re hands on though with an ever changing business, demands, limited resource it’s difficult to let go, it’s easy to make excuses as not to address the obvious problem that may be lacking….YOUR objectivity as the inspirational leader / entrepreneur, manager.


Changes within your business don’t have to be expensive and/or over time consuming to release some constraints in hugging that tree. Often the use of simple tools such as strategy / time planning (road mapping perhaps), identifying issues (swot analysis) will help.  You don’t need fancy expensive ‘Character profiles’ you just need to be prepared to engage in change, it’s a habit that some can adopt and others cannot. As a simple enjoyable read (180mins) which some may find useful there is a book that can be sourced on Amazon (and other good book resellers), ‘Who moved my cheese’, a very simple business story and can be shared with managers and your team also. Hopefully changing some habits may allow us to take positive steps backwards to being ‘objective’ again.

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