The personal rights of a business owner are rarely discussed. Business owners with high-achieving personality styles have something in common. They are very responsible and they care a lot.

Sometimes the caring combined with the heightened sense of responsibility makes them personally and legally vulnerable. One business owner told me about bad business decisions he had made to ensure that he could continue to pay his employees. Another told me about her struggle to find balance in having a great relationship with her employees without crossing over into the friendship zone. One person described his ongoing struggle with being taken advantage of by those around him. Yet another said that she has numerous people stop by her office to “cry on her shoulder” about personal issues.

“Does it drain you?” I asked.

“Immensely,” she said. “But I don’t know what to do. Whenever I try to distance myself, they ask me what is wrong.”


It’s time for a reminder about your rights as a business owner.


The Business Owner’s Bill of Rights

1. You have the right to create a great work environment without taking responsibility for your employees’ home environment (i.e. helping them solve personal problems).

2. You have the right to close your door. You can create a system that allows you to be approachable, available and in-touch with your employees. This does not mean that you need to be accessible whenever people think they need you.

3. You have the right to terminate or lay-off employees. As much as you care, it is not your responsibility to ensure your employees’ livelihood for the rest of their lives. Keep this front and center when you are hesitating to fire employees or need to make personnel adjustments to ensure that the business remains viable.

4. You have the right to refuse interactions that make you legally vulnerable.

5. You have the right to make decisions that will make people unhappy. You are the only person that is aware of the number of variables involved in a decision and how it affects your company.

6. You have the right to not lend money to your employees.

7. You are as valuable as your employees. You have just as much right as they do to pursue lower stress, financial gain, and personal fulfillment.