Getting Over Guilty Feelings as a Business Owner

Often when business owners take time away from the business they feel tremendous guilt. There are ways to avoid this feeling and better enjoy your business.

One of the quality of life improvements we support at our firm is the ability to take a regular afternoon off to play golf.  This is a therapeutic and productive way to relax and re-energize if you’re a business owner, and into the game of golf. This time away from the business can also function as a productive business development outing.

In our work with small business owners, we find that taking time away from their business causes guilty feelings.

This guilty feeling either holds you back from going or takes away from the fun when you get there. We call this guilty feeling “the going golfing guilt of business owners”.

In exploring this feeling with some business owners I work with, there is a belief that to be a good leader, they should be right there beside their team helping them through the workday. Business owners need to realize that this is just a belief and if we can then check with the team to see if they have the same belief, we often find they don’t.

Employees say three things:

  1. We like when you go golfing, the business runs just fine when you are gone.
  2. We don’t necessarily want you to work alongside us; although that is appreciated, we want you to ensure the business grows and is stable so we can keep our jobs until retirement!
  3. You’re happier when you spend some time away from the business. When you’re happier, we’re happier.

There is another issue that comes up. The team might not like when you go golfing because you didn’t properly delegate the decision-making authority when you are not available.

Your team can be frustrated when they need to deal with a problem that you, the boss controls 100%. When you’re gone, it holds them back. They have to wait to talk to you about it.


If you can delegate the decision-making authority, they don’t have to wait to hear from you.

For a ‘control freak’ business owner this is a tough transition. It is, however, a worthwhile transition. We have helped many business owners make this transition and the results are threefold:

  1. Guilt-free regular afternoons of golf.
  2. A business that runs smoother when you are gone.
  3. An empowered team that enjoys their new responsibilities.

It’s a bit of a stretch, but it is a possibility the “guilt-free” feeling could actually improve your golf game!

Let us know how it goes! See you on the golf course. 

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