A startup founder who can take a concept, actualize it into a viable business idea and then get that idea to market is a driven person who knows how to get things done. Then why do so many entrepreneurs with great business ideas find themselves failing as leaders once their businesses get off the ground? Because being an entrepreneur is completely different from being a business leader.
The goal of an entrepreneur is to make his/her vision a reality. A leader, on the other hand, is focused on other people as he or she takes individuals with different wants, needs and visions and makes a winning team of them. If you plan on starting a new business of your own, before going any further with the work you need to get done, you need to be sure that you have what it takes to be a great leader. While you many start out alone or with just one or two employees, as your business grows you most likely will need to hire more staff. This means you will need to fine tune your leadership skills as it will be your job to support and guide your team so they preform well and do what’s best for your business.
There are many things that separate bosses from leaders. Here are some characteristics, habits and practices of good leaders who understand the value of positive influence.
Leaders Demonstrate Predictability
While it may sound counterproductive to tell a startup founder to be predictable, it’s really not. When you strive to be predictable, your employees will know what your priorities are, your passions and your temperament. Being predictable is akin to being real or genuine. Employees appreciate working for a predictable boss that acts the same whether he/she is interacting with a couple of hundred people or just one.
A Leader is Aware of His/Her Weaknesses
No matter how great of a person someone thinks they are, everybody has weaknesses. A successful leaders knows what his or her weaknesses are and can find ways to manage them. When you’re aware of and in tune with your weaknesses, you will waste less time as you can simply turn a task over to someone to complete if it’s not your thing to do. Nobody likes working with or being around a boss who is overly confident and blind to the fact that he/she has weaknesses.
Good Leaders are Good Mentors
Because the typical startup consists of just a few key people who wear many hats so to speak, many startups fail to provide their employees with mentoring. But when a startup takes more of an interest in developing their employees’ careers from the start, that company’s staff turnover rate will improve which is a great thing for any business. And, when a startup founder takes the time to mentor a team member to help them learn and improve, that employee feels valued and appreciated which is great for morale.
Leaders Don’t Get too Comfortable
Startup founders are concerned with the here and now like getting products shipped faster and raising as much money as they can which of course is important. But as their businesses grow, these founders also need to grow alongside their business by questioning practices, finding more streamlined ways of doing things and keeping tabs on what their customers truly need. Leaders are people with vision whom act in ways that foster long-term success.
Leaders Have Daily Contact with the Team
Startup leaders share most of the news about the business with their employees because they know that being transparent ensures that everyone knows the goals they’re working toward. It’s very beneficial for everyone on board to have this type of common mission as it helps eliminate mistakes, keeps morale up and helps the business grow and not stagnate at a time when growth is very important.
Leaders Take Good Care of Themselves
It’s difficult to run a business and a startup is one that’s particularly challenging as there are fewer people available to step in to help when things become overwhelming. Good startup leaders make sure they’re in good health by eating well, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep.
Great leaders have one key characteristic in common which is a passion for making a difference in the world and a clear vision for how they wish to achieve this. If you’ve already taken the time to determine what you want to achieve and you can communicate it to other people, you already have the most important skill a leader needs. As for the other leadership skills you will need, these can be learned and the working environment is the ideal place to learn them. Trial and error is a great way to learn how to lead as is listening to what other people have to say.