Leadership lessons for entrepreneurs

Having a great idea and the funds to execute it will not get you far if your employees aren’t willing to follow you. As an entrepreneur, the ability to lead a team is what makes them successful. Here are eight key leadership skills all business owners should develop.

1. A successful entrepreneur always has a vision
A vision is extremely vital for any organization. Your core ideology should be your guide and the decisions you make should align with this ideology. “If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision will pull you.” – Steve Jobs, Co-founder, Chairman, and CEO of Apple Inc. As an entrepreneur, you need to set big goals and constantly take actions to achieve it.

2. Stay focused
As an entrepreneur, you have multiple goals and at the same time, you will have distractions as well. However, it is important to stay focused and complete your tasks. Of course, it is not always easy Staying focused can be extremely difficult with a constant stream of employees, clients, emails, and phone calls demanding your attention. Make a list of things you need to achieve every day and ensure you finish it.

3. Don’t chase money, chase passion
Yes, everyone is in the field to make money. It goes without saying. However, it is important to only chase just money. Take all successful entrepreneurs, in our world today; none of them were even after the money, knowing that money is actually their own worst enemy. If you are passionate about your idea and stay focused on your goals, the money will automatically follow. “If you chase passion, money will follow” Vivek Prabhakar CEO & Co-founder, Chumbak, a design-led products company. When Chumbak first began, they had no money however, they focused on creating their products and being creative and within a year, sales had crossed Rs 2 crore.

4. Invest in the right talent
No matter how well funded you are, the team behind your startup is the most important piece in your organization. The right talent can make or break your startup, especially in the beginning stages. Before you hire, it would be a good idea for you and the other founders and discuss what kind of person you are looking for and what exactly will he be doing. It is important for the founders to have a consensus about the hiring goals. Here are a few sure ways on how to build your startup team.

5. Never stop asking yourself what you can do better
As Bill Gates rightly put it, “Determine a goal, find the highest-leverage approach, discover the ideal technology for that approach, and in the meantime, make the smartest application of the technology that you already have…The crucial thing is to never stop thinking and working…The final step – after seeing the problem and finding an approach – is to measure the impact of your work and share your successes and failures so that others learn from your efforts.”

6. Invest in creativity
“Creativity is intelligence having fun” – Albert Einstein. Without creativity, make anything you do really matter. An entrepreneur always has competition. So it is essential for you and your team to be creative and offer something that is better than what your competitors are offering. Being a leader does not mean knowing more than anyone else. Recognize, encourage and promote others as experts. Give your team the space to be creative and excellence will follow suit.

7. The successful leader communicates well
Any leader always needs to communicate well. It is important to articulate your mission and vision well to your employees. It is not just enough for you to communicate but it is also important to encourage your employees to communicate well. The process needs to be two way. Most importantly, a good leader does not give general and ambiguous communication that could lead to conflicts and poor performance.

8. The successful leader creates the atmosphere that encourages others to grow
It is the role of a leader to create opportunities for your employees and give them opportunities to grow. If you’re not building more leaders, then you’re not leading, you’re following. Here are a few ways you can create a motivational atmosphere :

  • Always listen to your employees and ask them for their option. Do not just entrust yours on them.
  • If an employee or a subordinate asks you for a solution, don’t just tell them how to do it but teach them how to do it. Discuss the problem and make them come up with a solution and guide them on how to go about it.
  • Ask employees challenging questions that encourage them to think, plan and react. Most importantly, encourage employees to challenge themselves.
  • Criticism is not always a bad thing, as long as it is constructive criticism. When your employees finish a task, always provide positive feedback. Offers suggestions and encourage them to be creative.
  • Support your team when they take risks. If something goes wrong, evaluate what went wrong and encourage other, more appropriate risks.