Do successful entrepreneurs automatically make great leaders? Are the skills that allow them to start up their business the same as will bring it to the next level? The answers to both these questions are a resounding no! The main reason is that once you hire staff, a new world sets in. If all you had to contend with before was you, what a shocker when others start looking to you to provide leadership?
Jim Collins, in his book Good to Great, emphasized the 2 qualities of a Level 5 Leader – Personal Resolve and Professional Humility. What follows are these plus 3 others that will help to take you from Entrepreneur to Effective Leader.
1. Create an Environment of Respect (not fear)
The reason some leaders operate from a place of fear is that is all they know. It is easy, feeds the ego and allows them to move on to the next problem quickly. This may well be the case but rest assured that the next problem is just around the corner waiting for them to solve also.
2. Sharpen your Professional Resolve
Leaders must understand the big picture and be crystal clear on the organization’s direction. This requires a strong self-discipline, goal setting and decisive time based actions. This strength in resolve gets translated into a sense of urgency and everybody becomes very clear on what needs to be done by when.
3. Become Painfully Curious
Curiosity manifests itself in powerful questioning. This in turn invites introspection, inclusiveness and is probably the most subtle form of delegation. Leaders should not feel that they must always provide the answers; they should coach the solution from their people. Once people know you are more likely to question, they will begin to challenge themselves first and resolve their own issues.
4. Ensure Total Accountability
People need to understand what is expected of them. Spend the time up front considering and articulating your expectations and then hold them accountable. This should be an ongoing process and not an annual review.
5. Demonstrate a genuine Personal Humility
The organization should not revolve around the leader. On the contrary, the leader should revolve around the organization. They should be available to serve the needs of all the stakeholders of the business, whether its employees, customers or shareholders. Humble leaders put the cause before themselves and that’s why people follow.
The transition from Entrepreneur to Leader is not easy but by adhering to some of these ideas above it can happen.