They say you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with – make those five people incredible.

Leaders who cultivate potential leaders multiply their own success and effectiveness. Having strong leaders around you will help you carry other loads and grow the business. Think of it this way: The people closest to a leader will determine the fate (success or failure) of that leader.

So instead of trying to be the smartest in the room, surround yourself with really smart people – who are doing great things in their own areas of expertise.

Surrounding yourself with extraordinary people will open your eyes to new and bigger ideas. Push yourself to never stop growing, learning, and achieving. Inspire and be inspired. That’s the hallmark of a great leader.
By definition, entrepreneurs are naturally independent people. They’re critical thinkers with a strong drive who break away from the safety and security of “going with the flow”. They’re leaders, people who are confident being the boss instead of sitting comfortably while someone else calls the shots. While these are all strong, desirable traits, they leave many small-business owners with a common problem – their independence isolates them from other smart individuals like themselves.

As a small-business owner, you’re the mastermind behind your company. You handle the strategic planning that provides direction for your organization’s future and you develop the processes that will help you reach your goals. But no matter how smart you are, you’re limited by your own capabilities when you have no peers to consult and bounce your ideas off of. Inversely, when you surround yourself with smart people, you have the opportunity to challenge yourself and grow.

With smart individuals around you, you’re no longer the only intelligent person in your circle. You’ll quickly discover that you can learn a lot from others who may see things differently than you, proposing ideas and ways of thinking that would have never otherwise crossed your mind. For this reason, when finding smart people to surround yourself with it’s crucial to look for those who don’t always agree with you, that are able to provide their own thoughts and ideas backed by solid logic.

As your business expands, you’ll also find out that you can’t do everything by yourself – no matter how intelligent or business savvy you are. In addition to time constraints, you’ll never be the most adept person when it comes to the diverse needs of a growing company. You may be a master of product development and an effective sales person, but if your creative marketing skills are lacking, you’ll quickly find your business’ growth stalling. Smart comes in all shapes and sizes, and it takes human capital with a vast array of skill sets to build a successful business.

A common fallacy in the business world is that smart means experienced. While years in the field can help give insight that’s otherwise difficult to obtain, you can also learn a lot from smart people who have absolutely no background in your industry. Smart people are creative, critical thinkers who have the capacity to learn new concepts and use them to think outside of the box.

When you’re surrounded by smart people, you shouldn’t feel the need to always be the leader. You should be comfortable sitting back, pitching ideas out as part of a group, and sometimes just listening to others. This allows you to learn from the talents of your smart peers, and is vital to both personal and business growth.

Being an entrepreneur and small-business leader often means having the ambition to elevate yourself to the forefront of innovation, but trying to be the sole source of good ideas is a recipe for disaster. The most successful entrepreneurs are the ones who surround themselves by smart people, and leverage that group’s collective knowledge and know-how in order to better themselves and their company’s outlook.

Business Tip

The “cloning effect”— Avoid becoming so impressed with an applicant because he reminds you of a top performer you once had on your team that you fail to notice the individual isn’t qualified for the job.

Author's Bio: 

Tracey Fieber helps business owners simplify, automate, and grow their businesses and their lives. She believes in the power of hiring the right people, and helps her clients cultivate highly effective teams that allow them to focus on the work about which they're passionate. By nurturing business owners' strengths and holding them accountable for their own success, Tracey's leadership, communication, and coaching techniques help her clients take massive leaps forward.