by Richard Chilee
One of the beautiful things about being an entrepreneur is that it affords you the chance to prove yourself as an influential leader. This is true because as an entrepreneur, you have the power to shape people’s lives and the society in which you operate in; you have the power to determine where the wind of change should blow. And the way you run your organization has a profound influence on your employee, customers and the society. This is why I strongly believe that entrepreneurs are social influencers and their businesses, societal determinants.
As an influential leader, almost all your activities must stand out and define your brand. And people must always see you as role model worthy of emulation.
While great leadership characteristics are important in the life of every entrepreneur, it is seriously lacking. During my sessions with entrepreneurs, I have consistently found that most of them have not been exposed to core leadership sessions. And as a result, many lack these core leadership traits that define the modern entrepreneurial leader.
To stand tall as a great entrepreneurial leader in your organization, industry, and community, you must learn these core leadership characteristics. Listed below are 10 qualities of a great entrepreneurial leader.
Great entrepreneurial leaders are like good artists. They know how to paint a picture so clear and so realistic that it greatly inspires their followers. This is very important in the life of entrepreneurial leaders. Every entrepreneurial leader must be able to paint and sell a clear and beautiful picture to their followers. This clarity is what inspires organizational attainment. When employees see and connect with a clear picture, they are able to pull through every obstacle that stands in their way of attainment.
Great entrepreneurial leaders speak with clarity. They communicate in unambiguous ways. They also drive connection and collaboration. Here, clarity of communication is very important. As an entrepreneurial leader, you must be able to communicate clearly in order to foster connection and collaboration among your employees. When this is properly done, employees are able to readily buy into the vision of the organization.
Great entrepreneurial leaders identify with the problems of their followers. They do not seek to impress but create a deep-seated identification of what their people go through. Empathy is a huge leadership trait. As a leader, you must not exempt yourself from the day to day struggles and challenges of your employees; you must learn to fold your sleeves and get into the rough and murky waters of the organization if need be. This attitude creates an organizational culture that says “we are all in this together.” When employees see you as a kind of leader that accommodates their struggles, they will crowd around you when tough times hit the organization, instead of standing aloof.
When an organizational leader I coached went through a rough path financially and wasn’t able to pay his employees, they all came together and offered to receive pay cuts until the financial situation was rectified. This happened because the CEO always stood with the employees when they faced challenges.
Great entrepreneurial leaders are aspirational. They have transcendent qualities that encourage their followers to become better in every facet of their lives. I believe in the saying “Never work for an uninspiring boss.” If a leader does not inspire his people to become better, there is really no use working with him.
Every entrepreneurial leader must sell an aspirational quality that will infuse the organization and inspire their employees to become better than when they came in. This single transcendent quality is what will make a big difference when monetary issues are not being considered.
Great entrepreneurial leaders develop and empower their employees with the strategic skill sets to harness their potentials and get the best of life. This is hugely important. Training and encouraging and empowering your people with the basic skills to succeed in life is a great leveler. It gives your people the belief that they can achieve whatever they have placed their minds on. It also equips today’s employees with the consciousness that they can lead the organization in the future. When employees grow with this consciousness, sustainability is secured.
Great entrepreneurial leaders strive to satisfy the three fundamental human needs of their followers: to believe, to become and to belong. The human mind aspires to three things: to believe in something worthwhile, to become and embody what they have believed, and to belong to a community of people who believe in what they believe. A great entrepreneurial leader creates an environment that satisfies these three important human needs.
When employees know that the organization fosters and furthers their belief systems, they will do everything within their power to stay in that circle. This attitude will also be shown in how they do their work and connect with others.
Great entrepreneurial leaders are physically and emotionally present for their followers. They aren’t aloof when needed; they dedicate their time, resources and energy. This power of being present at all times is hugely important to employees. It also tells them that they are valued, loved and appreciated.
Great entrepreneurial leaders are more than office holders. They understand that they are responsible for their employees and accountable to them. Responsibility and accountability are the twin towers of core leadership. A great leader must respect them in order to get the organization on the pedestal of continuing success.
Great entrepreneurial leaders take action. They don’t just tell ‘How to,’ they show ‘How to.’ They don’t sit back, they demonstrate their words. They are also driven by positive and sustainable results.
Great entrepreneurial leaders value the opinions of their employees. They understand that they are not always right, thus the opinions of others count in decision making.