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10 Essential entrepreneurial leadership skills, and how to develop them

by | Feb 28, 2022

Think about the most successful entrepreneurs of all time. What do all of these men and women have in common? They were great leaders!

Great leaders have invaluable traits that help them inspire, motivate, and educate their teams towards success. If you are an entrepreneur or startup team management you need to be devoting time to developing your leadership skills. 

Ready to learn what it means to have exceptional entrepreneurial leadership? Here are our top 10 leadership skills for entrepreneurs.

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Developing your entrepreneurial leadership skills is key to growing your business.

1. Communication

Say what you mean and mean what you say. Sounds easy, right? Wrong. In our increasingly digital world, communication is not as simple as it used to be. To be an effective leader you have to promote online and offline communication between individuals, teams, and outside organizations.

Having an effective communication style means you are also a good listener. It’s not just about what you say but how you show others that you are listening and value their opinions.

Consider using digital solutions to streamline communication at your company. Keep everyone involved and informed without wasting any time in pointless meetings.

2. Empowerment

Startup leadership often means recruiting the best and brightest minds to join your team. But once you have your team, you need to keep them! This is why empowerment is so important.

Empowerment means that as a leader you are able to help others grow. You understand that employees are an invaluable asset to your startup or entrepreneurial venture. Show employees that you recognize their progress and give them opportunities to take on more responsibility and develop their own leadership skills.

3. Vision

Without a vision, a leader has nowhere to lead. It’s essential that you and your company have a shared roadmap to success. But first, you need to share a clear and concise vision.

Consider drafting a mission statement to share with employees or develop a visual representation of your goals for the company. Clearly describing and sharing your vision establishes you as a leader and encourages others to follow suit. 

4. Flexibility

To be a good leader you must be flexible – and no, that doesn’t mean being able to touch your toes. Being flexible means that you can adapt to changing situations and pivot when a strategy or idea isn’t working out.

Don’t be held back because of stubbornness or pride. Show employees the importance of adaptation and changing direction when needed. Flexibility is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of willingness to do whatever it takes to see your company or team thrive.

5. Networking

You may not think of this as one of the most critical entrepreneur management skills – but it is! Building a network of potential clients and partners opens new opportunities for profit and growth.

A good leader networks with individuals or groups with which that they can build a mutually beneficial relationship. Leaders also seek help or mentorship from other businesses that may have experienced the same problems. Learning from other industry experts is a way to seek new ideas, brainstorm solutions, and share success.

6. Stress management

Have you ever noticed that good leaders seem to get things done with a low level of stress? That’s not a coincidence. Leaders know where to spend their energy and how to reduce or prevent stressful situations.

Having a healthy work and life balance is important for any entrepreneur – even during the startup phase. It may be tempting to work through all hours of the night to get things done, but it’s not sustainable. And you may be sacrificing your own physical and mental health. 

A leader also sets a good example for employees on how to manage stress. They do not force long hours or unrealistic work expectations on their team members.

7. Honesty

Being honest and transparent isn’t always easy as a leader. Sometimes it means admitting you were wrong or that you don’t know the answer. But it’s better than the alternative!

Employees value honesty. It builds trust in your community at work and encourages integrity at all levels. Transparency at work may take different forms, such as shared OKRs that everyone can access.

8. Perseverance

It’s not always easy being a leader. Successful leadership requires perseverance through difficult times. Most startups have growing pains. And those pains are most often felt by the leaders.

But a good leader can trudge through the difficult patches – even when they last months or years. Perseverance from a leader inspires everyone else to do the same.

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Perseverance, honesty and a sense of humor are key traits of any entrepreneurial leader.

9. Empathy

Remember when you were young and your teacher told you to treat others the way you want to be treated? It turns out that the guiding principle is true as an adult too. As a leader, you need to be able to put yourself in the employee’s place when making decisions that will impact them.

Being empathetic means being a good listener and asking questions. Never make assumptions about other people’s feelings without giving them a chance to tell you. Empathetic leaders also reserve their own judgments and try to understand other people’s points of view.

10. Sense of Humor

Never underestimate the importance of a sense of humor. It’s okay to laugh and have fun. In fact, employees enjoy it! It’s possible to be an effective leader and still have a sense of humor.

Taking everything very seriously can cause burnout. Improve morale and encourage teamwork by creating an environment where a sense of humor is valued.

The 10 keys to entrepreneurial leadership

So there’s the top 10 ingredients of entrepreneurial leadership. Now it’s time to put these skills into action! Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have all these traits right now – it’s a lifetime process!

Part of being a great leader is learning and growing along with everyone else. So take this opportunity to set your own goals for each of these traits.

If you are looking for an all-in-one leadership and strategy solution for your business, sign up for a free trial of Waymaker today!

By <a href="https://waymaker.io/author/stuart-leo/" target="_self">Stuart Leo</a>

By Stuart Leo

Published on February 28, 2022

Stuart is the CEO & Founder of Waymaker. Stuart is a passionate believer in helping people find their organisation's true north and giving them the tools to get them there. When not exploring new ideas in leadership and management, Stuart is with his family exploring the beautiful regions, islands and coast of Australia.

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