Why entrepreneurs make good employees

Going back to work for someone else after a stint as an entrepreneur can be a fraught experience. While some founders recoil in horror at the idea, others report positive experiences. But whether entrepreneurs enjoy returning to employee life is one question (and a highly personal one at that), but another issue also looms large.

Many companies are reluctant to hire former entrepreneurs and this likely is because they’re viewed as too independent, unable to abide hierarchies and reject the arbitrary rules of the office, or they are likely to jump ship at the first opportunity to go their own way. In short, those already bitten by the entrepreneurship bug make bad employees – or so seems to be the thought process.

But, of course, this view of the issue is misguided at best – however, at the same time, it’s not entirely baseless.

Ex-entrepreneurs have no issues executing orders, but what they may struggle with is being micromanaged. Which means that if a company wants to hold on to the type of talent that can yield results from experience, they must avoid meddling.

 One needs to have a clear strategy and then let one’s employees go out and execute it. Companies with a murky strategy need to micromanage more because they do not trust people down the totem pole to make the right long-term decisions.

Former founders of businesses also know how to learn and grow – you don’t survive long as the head of a company otherwise. This should be a huge positive for employers when former entrepreneurs return to the corporate fold, but often companies fail to promote them quickly in line with their professional development. And so, they leave – onto pastures new.

The most talented employees should always be growing and stretching and be reaching for the next goal. They should also always feel a bit threatened (as in, by healthy competition), otherwise you run the risk of them simply getting bored and leaving the company.

Another advantage of hiring ex-entrepreneurs is they move fast and get things done – ambitious and goal driven as their pasts have made clear. But that’s only possible if the firms who hire entrepreneurs give them the space to do this.

One other reason why entrepreneurial people may not wish to work for a boss is that they institute too many rules upon them. Rules serve an important purpose but too many rules will slow everything down, like it’s adding red tape around the entrepreneur dictating where they can go and is super frustrating to anyone with this mindset who thrives on getting things done in their own way.