Leadership For Entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurs are, by their very nature, big picture people. They can clearly see, and define, the end result they are after, and who will be impacted. They know exactly where they are headed.
The successful ones know that they need a team around them to get them there (I have the best team – and this is vital!). They know they’re not suited to worrying about the details, and they are easily bored when it comes to doing the things they don’t enjoy.
It’s important to realise that just because you inspire people with your entrepreneurial ideas, you might not be cut out to lead a team to bring those ideas to fruition. Most entrepreneurs actually lack a few skills in the leadership department.
Listening – Entrepreneurs can be so passionate about the ideas and the way they visualise the future that they don’t stop to listen to their team members. They don’t want to hear any negatives to dull their shiny vision, but that means they are putting their project at risk. Entrepreneurs need the solid grounding of clear sighted and independent thinkers.
Risk – When an entrepreneur is at his or her most passionate about the idea, risk is never a concern. In fact, it’s almost a side issue, not to be worried about. Yes, entrepreneurs do wear blinkers when they want to. They need a team who can spot and assess risk, and know what to do about it. After all, if everything goes wrong, it will be the team who has to clean up because most entrepreneurs will have moved on to their next great idea.
Letting go – It’s hard for an entrepreneur to let go of the big idea and pass it over to the team to manage. It’s like giving your baby to a passer-by to care for. Delegation is not a common skill among entrepreneurs. The only exception is when they are ready to move on to something new.
But what leadership skills do entrepreneurs have?
Inspiring – An entrepreneur’s enthusiasm is contagious. It’s hard not to be caught up in the excitement and possibility they lay out in front of you. Their magnetic personalities attract followers who are only too willing to join the team and work hard to make the idea a reality. Entrepreneurs are inspiring and highly motivating.
Original thinking – An entrepreneur doesn’t settle for the status quo. He or she is always alert for ideas and improvements. If there’s a problem that needs solving, an entrepreneur will come up with a variety of possible solutions. He or she doesn’t think along company lines, but explores as far as they can go.
Fun – There is a feeling of excitement and fun that comes when you work with an entrepreneur. Part of it comes from their passion and enthusiasm, part from their lack of boundaries and part from their love of possibilities. It injects every piece of work with a feeling of fun – you’re having a great time, not ‘working’.
I know these descriptions are generalised but there’s enough truth that, if you are an entrepreneur, you will see elements of yourself in them. As an entrepreneur, you have been gifted with a unique way of looking at the world that you can’t learn. That makes you the ideal candidate to be a leader – to pull your team along with you on the journey of a lifetime.
But we know you have areas that you need to work on, and that’s OK, because you have a fabulous team behind you. They will provide the skills you lack and bring balance to the process. The challenge for you lies in learning to accept their help and respect it for the value it brings to your project.
Can an entrepreneur be a great leader? Of course. Are you ready to give it a go?
Sonia McDonald, CEO of LeadershipHQ who was recently named in the Top 250 Influential Women Leaders across the Globe is offering One on One Leadership Coaching for Entrepreneurs in 2016 – find out more by emailing the team on firstname.lastname@example.org
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