If you want to become a successful entrepreneur you’ll also want to become a good leader. Your idea might be well fleshed out and be perfect for the demographic you have in mind, but you cannot deliver the product on your own. You’ll need employees, partners, and investors, and all of these people need you to lead them through your vision. Here is how you can be more than just an entrepreneur, but a leader as well.
Guide Your People
As an entrepreneur, you must guide your people instead of control them. There is a fine difference between guidance and control. When you guide your people, you give them a goal and give them milestones that help them do what needs to be done. You give them autonomy. When you control your people, you micromanage them. You end up telling them what to do and how to do it, treating them as extensions of your will instead of skilled individuals.
Guiding people and trusting them to make the right decisions will let them know that you respect them and have faith in their skills. Micromanagement will likely give them the feeling that you don’t trust them at all. Go with the former. Not only will it foster strong relationships with your co-workers, but it will also give you time to work on other things.
As an entrepreneur, you have to deal with the fact that most plans don’t survive first contact. The moment you enter the entrepreneurial arena, you’ve changed the situation, possibly enough to make you change your plans as well. A similar effect can be observed when you bring other people into the start-up — who you planned to have and who you actually hired may be two entirely different sets of people.
Adjust your plans according to the situation. Don’t be married to one path to success, as you may not have the tools to walk that path. Take a look at who and what you have. Making full use of available resources, both inanimate and human, is the hallmark of a great leader.
Learn to Delegate
The idea of delegating may be a tough pill to swallow for many entrepreneurs, including yourself. You might see the man in the mirror as the one who knows what’s best for your start-up — and that might be true. The problem is that you’re still one man and you can’t be everywhere and do everything. The good news is that you don’t have to.
Delegate tasks to people and, more importantly, trust them to do those tasks well. Just because you have a clear idea of where the business needs to go doesn’t mean you’re necessarily the best person to perform every task. That’s why you hired these specific people — because they’re great at their jobs and you can trust them to help take your start-up to the next level. Act on that trust. Focus on the big picture and let your employees do their jobs.
Give Credit When It’s Due
As an entrepreneur, it can be tempting to grab all the credit whenever something goes right. After all, you’re heavily invested into the start-up, both emotionally and financially. However, you must keep in mind that you are nothing without your team; it is by their hard work and effort that your ideas co me to fruition. So act like it. Thank standout performers publicly and show your team that their efforts are appreciated and recognized.
Motivate Your Employees
Motivating your employees is perhaps the most important part of being a good leader. It’s also the most difficult part. Motivating people involves understanding what makes them tick and what they want out of the job, as well as celebrating the right things. Doing that involves getting to know your employees. Answers from their job interview, for example, can give you a good idea of what motivates them, and can help you figure out what incentives to offer.
Being a leader as well as an entrepreneur can be challenging, but it is also rewarding. You’ll see employees engaged and emotionally invested in their day-to-day work. You won’t feel alone either — you’ll have a team of loyal workers, partners, and investors all helping you, and helping your start-up be the best that it can be. Take the time to motivate your employees and give credit where it is due and you can be a more successful entrepreneur.