Leadership is not taught in any school or institution. Leaders are made, with the necessary skills throughout their lives.
But who is a good leader?
According to Warren Bennis, “Leadership is the ability to translate vision into reality.” Therefore, a good leader is someone who creates a vision for their startup and aligns and motivates people to achieve that vision.
However, building a startup and leading a team of people can be challenging in a startup environment, especially during the initial phase. Leadership in a startup involves having a deep understanding of the business, devising strategies and innovation to solve business problems, and developing a culture in which employees thrive.
For this article on Entrepreneurship 101we focus on fostering leadership in the workplace and becoming the best role model for the team.
Who is a good leader?
Your history asked startup founders to list some of the qualities of a good leader. Here is what they had to say:
A good leader is essentially a team player. They treat their employees with respect, regardless of their designation and social status, and value what they bring to the table.
While bringing their own experience to the table, a good leader is aware of their limitations. So instead of wanting to do everything alone, they work with their employees as a team and let the subject matter experts take over.
A leader must be able to differentiate between short-term and long-term goals and gains. They should focus on creating brand values that will eventually help them stay on track, acquire and retain more customers.
A good leader must be able to maintain aBalance between short and long term goals…They focus on expanding and scaling, instead of focusing on immediate financing, building an early exit option, and looking for immediate advantages,” he says. kamalika bhattacharyaco-founder and CEO of SaaS startup QuoDeck.
the guiding light
A good leader should be the guiding light in a startup. They must be self-aware and know the strengths and weaknesses of their employees. It is essential for a startup founder to have a deep knowledge and understanding of the ecosystem and market he is entering.
They must be able to assess both the positives and the negatives, stay on top of their competitors, and constantly improve and evolve with the evolving ecosystem.
It is important for any entrepreneur to understand the market they are entering, evaluate the pros and cons of the business, be aware of their competition and constantly update.
A good leader must be truthful and ethical, have strong morals and, “Implement what they preach”, adds Kamalika.
Additionally, a leader must have the ability to predict future outbreaks or challenges. “Without this vision, you risk missing out on lucrative opportunities,” he says. milan ganatrafounder and CEO of 1Silverbullet.
Foster future leaders
The function of a leader is to produce more leaders and not more followers. According to Kamalika, a leader must be able to identify and help potential leaders hone their leadership skills. They must promote innovative thinking and eliminate methods such as micromanaging employees and following specific templates to get work done. A leader must give employees the freedom to grow and find methodologies that work best for them.
“An employee should not feel trapped and overwhelmed by deadlines,” he adds.
Now that we have established the main qualities that a person must possess to be a good leader, Your history asked entrepreneurs how an aspiring entrepreneur or experienced startup founder can instill these qualities in themselves.
First of all, it is essential for startup founders to have clear communication with their team members. It encourages both personal and professional growth. Transparent communication acts as a bridge between the founder and the employees, providing the latter with a sense of belonging, of being together and working towards a common goal, and allowing the free flow of feedback. Additionally, two-way communication builds trust and promotes a healthy work environment.
priyanka salotco-founder of sleep solutions startup The Sleep Company, asks entrepreneurs to share both their successes and setbacks with the team.
One of the main responsibilities of a leader is to provide growth opportunities for employees.
Therefore, it is essential to tap into the hidden strengths of employees, help them work on their shortcomings, and collaborate with employees to generate innovative ideas. “Listening to team members and making them feel heard encourages creativity and multiple solutions to different problems. It’s a great way to build team strength,” says Kamalika.
Employees can also be empowered by assigning them responsibilities and decision-making responsibilities so that they feel valued. Trusting each other helps build a healthy work culture.
Value your employees
Appreciating employees goes a long way in encouraging them to work better toward the shared goal. Entrepreneurs must control the little things that eventually matter in the long run.
Milan reveals that his company follows a culture of recognition and communication. “Being a relatively new company and working tirelessly to achieve specific goals in times of COVID-19 caused a lot of stress and anxiety for our team. I always recognize these signs of burnout and communicate with my employees, letting them know that the company understands their stress, making them feel more secure and valued.”
A good leader should always prioritize team members and motivate them to keep their morale high. Leaders who take good care of their team and add value to their lives are always rewarded with team loyalty and great results. Priyanka says: “Delegating tasks correctly can make a significant difference in job performance and results as well.”
Anand AchyutCEO and founder of Wonderslate, says that founders should: “Be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the team and motivate them in a timely manner.”
Being a leader comes with opportunities and responsibilities. The main focus of his position is to lead the team and recognize that they are responsible for their actions. In short, to foster leadership within a startup, keeping the team informed of updates is essential to help instill a sense of ownership.
The most valuable asset of a startup is its people. Therefore, leaders must focus on hiring people who are aligned with the company’s purpose. To do this, leaders need to connect and engage with other industry leaders and stakeholders by attending industry events and roundtables. Finally, leaders must be critical of their business and open to constructive criticism.
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