Why Leadership Matters in Entrepreneurship
Whether you feel that you’re a natural leader or not, the reality with entrepreneurship is that you must try to sell to prospective new clients and come across as authoritative. When you have a new team to manage, leadership is where the rubber meets the road. Without someone to look up to, staff will feel like the organization lacks the inherent strength behind it to succeed. Ultimately, they might worry about the relative safety of their job too. Having a commanding presence and leading from the front dispels many of these concerns.
Let’s look deeper into why leadership is so important when running a company.
Leadership Style Sets the Tone
Doing business in the U.S. is very much about being confident, setting a forward-thinking mindset, and forging ahead. There’s no place for a timid approach in deciding what must be done within the organization to succeed. Leadership is not just about how to manage people; it should coach, develop and inspire the staff too.
If you are the CEO and founder of the company, know that you set the standard for what is expected. When you’re a high-performance individual and this shows through clearly, the bar is set higher and employees respond to that. The same is equally true when you either fail to set the bar at all or accept lower standards. Managers and their team members all need to be reminded that much is expected and opportunities in the workplace go to those who merit it; there’s no place for favoritism.
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Developing Other People on the Team
Once you’re happy with where your leadership skills are currently, then you can turn your attention to the rest of your team. As the company grows, you’ll need department heads and team leaders to manage small clusters of employees in individual teams within the department. This will become increasingly important with a fast growth rate and new employees being added quickly.
The managers take their lead from you. Once you’ve laid out for them all your expectations for performance and employee development, it’s up to them to devise a plan to execute. All the members on their team must feel supported, valued, and part of the group. While you cannot do that – as the CEO you have your hands full already – your managers must learn to nurture, train, and encourage each team member both individually and as a team.
Motivation in a Mental Game
Companies have an energy level. When you walk into the office of a company, it’s either buzzing with activity, conversation, and productivity, or it’s quiet, dull, and uninteresting. This may vary somewhat depending on the industry that the company is operating in, but you can still get a sense of whether the employees really want to be there and whether they’re working to the best of their abilities.
People tend to quit on themselves when they lack confidence. The motivation isn’t there. Trainers have found this to be true in the US Navy SEALS training course at BUD/S where the training cadre have commented that it’s mostly a mental game to get through the notorious Hell Week. The soldiers get “in their heads” and mentally give up. They quit on themselves. The determination to stay motivated and succeed is what the cadre are looking for because it translates well on the battlefield.
Goal Setting & Goal Accountability
A goal setting, goal achieving company is clear about what it wants to happen. As the CEO, you must start with clarity about what the company’s goals are otherwise all your managers won’t know in what direction the company is headed. Your job as a leader is to set the direction and the expectations of the managers and then they manage their individual teams to achieve these goals.
There must be accountability surrounding the goals set within the company. When managers are not held accountable for achieving milestones on time within their own departments, then the company will meander aimlessly without a rudder. For the long-term growth and viability of the business against stiff competition from U.S. companies and international ones alike, the goals and targets must be clear. Accountability is the one way to track and confirm whether the company is hitting its marks or failing miserably.
For an entrepreneur trying to run a new business while providing sufficient leadership to get the management team pushing hard in the right direction, it’s difficult to juggle all the priorities. But juggle they must if they’re to succeed in taking their nascent business from a small one to one other entrepreneurs will be envious of.