11 characteristics of entrepreneurial leadership
As an entrepreneur, it is essential that you have the requisite skills to keep your objectives on target and be able to handle the responsibilities that comes with leadership.
Here, I have provided a list of the main attributes that your team and people who work with you will expect if you want them to be motivated about your vision.
Entrepreneur leaders should be realistic and understand not every idea or project is going to be a runaway success and that this just comes with the territory. A true innovator is resilient and will just put down a 'failure' as a learning experience. He doesn't dwell on what didn't work, he simply gets on with the next task or idea but is able to do it and not repeat the same mistake.
A great leader doesn't just sit in the office all day looking at spreadsheets signing off paperwork and drinking coffee with upper tier management. They need to go down on the shop floor and speak to the cleaning team, the maintenance team, the security team, supervisors and all these other people who without them, the office wouldn't open. They need to know all the tasks that everyone performs and how it affects the business. All staff members need to shown that they are valued by the person that they wok for.
Without self-belief, it's unlikely your business idea will make it passed the first major obstacle you come across. The enemy of an entrepreneur is self-doubt which can over shadow your desire no matter how good your proposition is. So it is crucial that you find a way to generate self-belief constantly by immersing yourself thoroughly with uplifting thoughts, music, reading material, people and just about anything that instils a 'can do' mentality that elevates your belief in yourself.
You should be able to describe without hesitation where you want to be in a years time, in 5 years time, in 10 years and beyond. Then you must know how to articulate that in a way everyone around you can understand and implement.
You should be able to communicate what the teams business objectives are and how you will work together in order to achieve them. A clear vision helps you and your team align working methods and creates a sense of cohesion amongst employees and business partners
5. Communication skills
A good leader sets the standard of communication amonsgt those that work for and with them. He understands that good communication is important for setting goals, articulating the company objectives and harmonising the work environment and that without it ambiguities will be prevalent, conflicts and misunderstanding will occur
Although people need to see that you are a strong leader, what they don't want is someone who is an emotional brickwall. There are times that a display of empathy will be much more effective than a show of force. Becoming known as 'The Scrooge of Wall street' is not a name you want to be tagged with. Your team and partners will want to do the best they can for you if they know that you are someone who they can rely upon to be supportive when the chips are down.
Time is a precious commodity and should not be squandered. You never get back a second, a minute, or an hour wasted so why spend any longer working for success than you need to? A leader who is 'urgency aware' understands that when this is absent innertia and sloppiness can start to creep in to the business environment. This will lead to demotivated staff who no longer have a shared, streamlined vision. You no longer look like a serious company to your customers or competitors and sooner or later you will be a memory. Urgency keeps you focused and gets you up out of bed early to put in the trememdous amount of work that is required to start up and maintain a business.
Entrepreneur leaders are risk takers and the reality is that so many of our modern day inventions exist today because of individuals who risked their livelihoods, relationships, their sanity and even their lives in some cases. You won't find many successful people who got to where they are because they never ventured outside of their comfort zone. Jeff Bezos of Amazon fame is a classical example of someone who had a very good stable job in Wall Street as a vice president at an investment firm and quit that after years and risked it all to start Amazon in 1994 and is now said to be worth $75.6 billion.
One thing a successful entrepreneur leader will need an abundance of is creativity. Your ability to think your way around obstacles will be tested all the time and you'll have to figure out how to do things within budget, on time without losing integrity or service quality. This will also be a major factor when it comes to marketing and creating brand awareness. For instance how do you adapt your marketing to radio, television, internet, posters etc and strategically get your brand message across these mediums whilst taking in to consideration their different dynamics. Problem solving is not always a linear process and you should and will need to figure out how to 'think outside the box'
A leader never stops learning and should always be studying as much as they can. In the fast paced communication age we are in, it's incredibly important that you keep your skills and knowledge base sharpened. You need to stay aware of technological changes in your market, what are competitors in your market base doing and how it's affecting their net worth, who else is trying to supply your customers, where else outside of your region is there a demand for your product and where is there likely to be a demand in the future? What are current trends that your service maybe able to profit from? In short, never become complacent. Immerse yourself in as much reading and studying as you can.
11. Work ethic
If there is one thing that sets leaders apart it's their work ethic. Talent and potential amount to nothing if you do not have the will to get get started and keep working above and beyond the comfort level of 99.9% of most other people.
You may find that as a leader you are not the most naturally gifted or skilled, but what if those others are only putting 4 hours of work per day when you are putting in 8 and doing that constantly? Your vision or dream is only going to be realised if you are able to back that up with a work ethic that is consistent with the amount of effort that is required, therefore it is very important that you do things like have a structured work diary for each day, you prioritise the things that need most attention, you undertake tasks with a view of completing them as efficiently and thorough as you can and that you are not putting off until tomorrow what can be done today