An entrepreneur. Many words come to mind when you think of one. Successful, dynamic, ability to take risks, and many more. Entrepreneurs are the heartbeat of business; they facilitate financial circulation around the world and have saved many countries from dangerously low unemployment rates because of their ability to produce in the absence of previously existing corporate infrastructure.They come up for a reason though- there are some amazing success stories that we have read, heard and have been inspired with. So, Entrepreneur equals success, right? Going by perceptions, yes! Going by reality though, brace yourself for a rude shock.
8 out of 10 entrepreneurs who start a business crash and burn within the first 18 months. At this point, successful business for these entrepreneurs is an aspiration, far far away from reality. An obvious thought comes to mind, “With so many success stories around, surely we can incorporate the learnings from those”. A key factor that distinguishes successful entrepreneurs from others is leadership. Leadership, in fact, is vital for any business to grow. So, can leadership of those successful entrepreneurs be emulated? Would that suffice in closing the gap?
To make leadership work, one must be a leader. When you model successful entrepreneurs, you model their behaviours, their actions. However, leadership comes from within- without the attitude to lead and inspire others, merely modelling actions does not address the gap in the long term. So how do you step up as a leader, to create the results for yourself and your team? We look at the 4 Keys to Entrepreneurial Leadership, that can enable you to lead not just yourself, also your team.
90% of effective leadership is the ability to lead yourself. For us to guide others to success, we need to be capable of leading ourselves. After all, inspiration comes from within! Through effective self leadership, we take ownership, responsibility and accountability of our ac- tions. We proactively look at opportunities to learn and grow.
How do we know when Self-leadership is lacking? Blame, excuses and denial tend to come up in our mode of thinking. Instead of welcoming new challenges or opportunities, we view them as ob- stacles, and start defending our current position. Growth seems to be halted when we operate in this state.
Self-management is our ability to manage our tasks successfully, and take them to completion. Self-management is effectively followed when we consistently achieve self- leadership. With effective self-management, we create plans for any initiatives undertaken, and follow them. We are able to set goals, and meet them consistently, regardless of distractions. Tasks for achieving the goals are prioritised regularly, and we often look at how we can improve upon our performance in future iterations. We also keep track of our progress, to ensure successful completion of our tasks.
As we do this effectively, we become consistent and reliable. These are two of the most attractive qualities we can have as leaders, through which we gain credibility. Eventually, we become the change we want to see in our team.
LEADERSHIP OF OTHERS
When we become a leader who walks the talk, and gains credibility through successfully managing our work, we then inspire others to be the best version of themselves and realise their potential. This is where our leadership comes to life in a team context. Here, we share with the team, our vision for the enterprise. We start creating a culture of trust and high perfor- mance, by supporting and championing the team’s goals and encouraging them to think outside the box. We understand the impact of our behaviour on others, and demonstrate excellent emo- tional intelligence. We also consider the impact of our decisions on the team, and our decision making becomes highly ecological.
MANAGEMENT OF OTHERS
When we inspire ourselves and the team, we then look at managing the team performance. Managing your team can be seamless when they are highly switched on and are aligned with your vision. If this appears to be a struggle, the leadership of your team may not be effective enough.
With management of others, measures such as regular, accurate and consistent reporting are vital. As leaders, we groom leaders within the team. We also provide opportunities for growth to team members through training. This is also where we start bringing in the team in the decision making process. The ideal outcome when managing your team is to create self-managing teams. Businesses that are most efficient, are the ones who have self-managing teams.
As the leader in your business, you may have achieved some or most of these aspects described. For me (James Bernard), the key question is, if you believe you are not getting the results you want, which of these aspects do you need to revisit?