What is the Entrepreneur’s Role as a Leader?
“The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.”—Max de Pree
“The signs of outstanding leadership appear primarily among the followers. Are the followers reaching their potential? Are they learning? Serving? Do they achieve the required results? Do they change with grace? Manage conflict?”—Max de Pree
Part of the responsibilities an entrepreneur has when trying to successfully operate their business is developing the traits and qualities of a good leader, qualities that inspire confidence and trust from not only employees, but customers as well, and the confidence they have that you know what your doing and trust that you will do what you say you will do, in addition to other attributes any good leader must develop and use before anyone willingly follows them.
To be a successful leader the entrepreneur must develop a clear and concise vision needed to inspire people by giving them purpose and direction, and you will get the best out of your team, since it is only natural for people to want to be part of a success story, and it is the entrepreneur’s task as a leader to show them how you can lead them there.
Developing a well thought out plan is critical to accomplish your vision, and the plan doesn’t have to be expansive and elaborate, but you need to clearly define the path which you are going to lead the team on from point A to point B, in simple, clear, concise steps and be sure to assigned timelines with deadlines to each step of the process, and finally, the entrepreneur needs to make sure that everyone is on board with the plan and clearly understands not only their individual roles, but the role of the team as well, to insure the team’s and your success.
If you do not have the instinct, then you must develop the leadership attribute of decisiveness, since no one wants to follow someone who can’t make up their own mind, especially when it comes to what is perceived as small decisions, and this doesn’t mean make unknowledgeable decisions, but first get as much wise input and counsel as you can, and then make an educated decision you can live with and always be ready to make new decisions based on additional information, and remember that informed decisive decisions is a quality of a leader that others are willing to follow.
A successful entrepreneur is able to adapt and make adjustments in the ever changing world of the marketplace, adaptation to new trends, technology, products, and marketing strategies, always working with the plan in mind, and brainstorm with the team ways you can best adapt to changes, implement the necessary changes with the thought always in mind that the plan is a virtual living tool, not static doctrines that would actually be worthless if one could not adapt them to the ever changing marketplace.
Your role as an entrepreneur and leader is only as good as your word, and when it comes to your word, keep it, as in if you tell someone working for you that you are going to do something, then do it, and it is important to remember that it takes time to build the integrity of one’s word, and only a moment to undo all the work, as nothing destroys trust and confidence like breaking your word, for which there is really no excuse.
Genuine praise should be given whenever it is warranted, as it is important to keep high morale for continued high performance, and avoid even the slightest temptation to give false praise unless you want to lessen and diminish the work that’s already been done.
Employees will always notice entrepreneurial leaders that are honest and fair-minded, but they are even quicker to notice dishonest and biased behavior, even the most subtle displays, and great leaders avoid playing favorites and destroying the high morale of the team, always working to build and maintain the successful team.