The standout qualities of successful entrepreneur are not always considered to be synonymous with those of a great leader. More frequently entrepreneurs can be viewed as headstrong, even aggressive – and in the startup world, somewhat of a lone wolf. This fearless nature can, however, bring great rewards – and also create a strong leader.
The psyche of an entrepreneur is a complex entity. Studies have actually found entrepreneurs to exhibit many of the characteristics identified in psychopaths. These qualities include “fearlessness, insensitivity to punishment and boldness.” While the personality traits commonly connected with psychopaths might not be those you would assume to be conducive to a great leader, these qualities mean entrepreneurs take risks, and are more likely to succeed in a fiercely competitive business world.
When considering some of the most successful leaders and businessmen of our time these qualities are visible. Steve Jobs was reportedly a loner, with a brash character, ruthlessly ambitious and persuasive – and wildly successful. Google’s Larry Page reportedly faced great criticism, but never swayed from his ultimate goals. And Richard Branson has consistently embraced controversy, claiming “You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.”
The ability to ignore negative consequences, is one notable feature of the entrepreneurial spirit. Where others might be wary of launching new ventures, entrepreneur push on. This is one example where the functional outcomes of these personality traits show themselves to be of great advantage. However, balance is key. How can an entrepreneur effectively use these assets, and translate them into effective leadership?
Business Insider reported two personality traits that psychologists claim to be predictors of effective leadership; namely extroversion and conscientiousness. This article cites analysis from the University of Notre Dame – claiming extroversion is important in the “sociability and enthusiasm” of great leaders, whereas conscientiousness comes into play when translating this to an organization, in the work ethics applied.
For an entrepreneur, leading a new startup in today’s turbulent ecosystem, what strategies can enable a great leader to effectively balance the two for maximum results?
4 entrepreneurs share their experiences of transforming entrepreneurial prowess into effective leadership.
Push Boundaries And Growth
Ali Benmoussa, Searchub –
I believe that leadership starts from the top, I would not ask something from my employees if I’m not doing it too. I treat everybody with respect. I reward excellent employees and I warn the ones who are not doing a good job. I always push boundaries and reward new ideas and creativity. I encourage growth at a personal and product level. I believe this help me earn respect from my employees, and this is the main ingredient in successfully managing teams.
Lead By Example, & Motivate
Alon Rajic, Finofin LTD –
As much as it is a cliché , and it most certainly is, I am a firm believer in leadership through personal example. I think nothing is more effective than having your manager working beside you, constantly providing with valuable feedback, while training you to perform better. When work is performed in that manner, motivation, enthusiasm, and confidence skyrocket. The best part of doing it? These are the management standards you instill within your employees, and when they take the step up towards middle-management, they’ll act in the same way with own team members.
Enable Others: Sync Unique Skills For Productivity
Brodie Kalamen, Savvi Solutions Inc. –
I have always been intrigued with the unique qualities of the people that surround me, and I am skilled at figuring out how people who are different can work together productively. Specifically in the technology sector, there are such varieties of skill sets required in bringing a product to life, from technical engineering to design and marketing. When each piece is working in sync… teamwork makes the dream work!
Empower Employees To Overcome Obstacles
Jordan Wills, Cloud9 Smarthome –
Our leadership style is to empower and trust. We routinely look for ways to help our employees overcome obstacles, and take every opportunity to share success stories.
A smart leader is able to use the entrepreneurial drive and lack of fear to empower others and achieve successes that others are not able to. In a startup environment this is incredibly valuable, particularly in ensuring your team are engaged and motivated. Personal leadership traits may vary, however the core characteristics of an entrepreneur can be wielded to not only drive success for your business, but also for your employees.