You probably know that being a great entrepreneur also involves being a great leader. If you are the founder and the visionary behind the company — no one else can or should lead. While it might be difficult to define what makes a good leader effective, there are a number of habits that they tend to have.
- Be an Effective Communicator
You cannot be a good leader if you cannot communicate. Nothing else you do matters if you cannot let your people know what you want from them and what needs to be done. Nor can you lead well if you can’t hear the concerns raised by your employees. They are not psychic and neither are you. Talk to people, let them know what is expected of them. Listen to their complaints. Hold regular meetings to make sure everyone is on the same page — weekly if you’re not expecting big changes, daily if you’re expect that the team needs constant updates on everyone’s progress.
If you’re having trouble communicating your ideas, try telling stories. Stories or anecdotes can help highlight your points by presenting them in a relatable manner.
- Be Courageous
Being an entrepreneur will require you to have courage. It’s not easy. Things are going to go wrong and you’ll need to handle those setbacks bravely. Think of your employees as your army and yourself as their general — if the general falters, morale suffers. If morale suffers, performance takes a dive and a setback that could’ve been handled becomes a disaster.
Just remember that being courageous is not about not feeling fear. It’s about doing what needs to be done in spite of that fear.
- Take the Golden Rule to the Next Level
The Golden Rule is that you should treat others the way you want to be treated — but that’s not enough if you want to be a successful entrepreneur and leader. Your employees are individuals, with their own preferences and dreams. If you want to be an effective leader you’ll need to recognize what each employee needs at the moment and how to answer to their future desires.
- Be Humble
The funny thing about humility is that it’s less about self-deprecation and more about being considerate. A leader thinks of himself and thinks of his employees more. Just because you’re in a position of power and authority does not mean you’re better than anyone else — it just means that you have a different job and thus a different set of responsibilities. Being humble as a leader means putting your employees first and doing what’s best for them.
- Be Passionate and Show It
It’s likely that you became an entrepreneur to pursue your passions. Something about the industry you’re in inspired you to create your own start-up. Don’t hide that passion. Part of being a good leader involves being inspiring, and there’s nothing quite as inspiring as a passionate leader. That kind of enthusiasm is contagious and can spur your employees to greater heights.
- Be Self-Aware
It can be easy to see yourself as better than you actually are. You’re an entrepreneur, brave enough to make your own company and smart enough to think of something to offer the public. Seeing yourself in this favorable light is not necessarily wrong, but it does not make for a great leader. It’s better to be self-aware and to know what your shortcomings are.
Knowing where you are weak and where you are strong will help you as a leader, as it will allow you to shore up your weaknesses and press on your advantages. In action, that means delegating responsibilities that you have trouble with and taking on the ones that fit your skillset.
There’s no reason to force yourself to learn and apply all of these traits at the same time. It’s perfectly acceptable to focus on one trait or habit at a time; it may in fact be preferable, considering the number of things that entrepreneurs have to process on a daily basis. You may not get the hang of being a great leader immediately, but don’t fret — just keep practicing your self-awareness and keep showing your passion and you’ll get there.