Early in my career, I remember the regional manager asking me whether I ever went into work on my day off. Given that I worked 13 day fortnights at the time I thought his question choice. No-one could accuse me of being an absent leader!
He explained that people behave differently when the boss isn’t around. It’s not about how good or indifferent a manager you are; just human nature. As a result, people are less productive for an absent leader.
In the latter scenario people will step in to plug the gap. And they’ll pull together as a team, particularly when their back’s against the wall. Whereas, when there’s a leader in situ, conspicuous by their absence, people will tend to sit back and wait for something to happen.
People want direction, however broad and they need regular reassurance that their efforts are worthwhile. And the only way you can deliver on that is by being visible in the business and communicating with your people on a frequent enough basis.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re running your own business. Or if you’re the Managing Director of someone else’s company. You must make time to notice what’s going on whilst you’re otherwise distracted.
If people aren’t doing what you need them to do then take action to change that. Then remain visible enough to support and sustain those changes as you take the business forward.