Vision, Delegation, Communication: Three Practices of Exemplary Leadership
Many if not most companies are built on a great idea, a high degree of passion and lots of ambition. One critical ingredient that can make or break a company’s success is how leadership is practiced. It’s not unusual to hear people say that they want to start a business because they want to explore the potential of making money while also enjoying a high degree of personal freedom.
While that’s all well and good, many entrepreneurial newbies don’t likely consider the fact that their business is a boat and that they’re the captains who are steering it. In the captain’s seat, they’ll be required to make tough decisions, hire and manage crew, plan the course for what one hopes will be a successful journey, and avoid obstacles along the way.
Most entrepreneurs who have been through the experience wholeheartedly agree that for anyone opening a new company, developing solid leadership skills is a must. But what skills are most important? Actually there are several, but three of the top skills are:
Your entrepreneurial idea, once it’s articulated as a business plan, will be the roadmap you use to not only run your company but also lead those who work for you. “A successful leader will always have one eye looking toward the future, if not both eyes,” writes Larry Alton. “They think several steps ahead on every problem and always look for new growth opportunities.”
Having an eye toward the future is important for a number of reasons. For one, it places less emphasis on short-term success while concentrating on long-term growth, much as a financial plan does for an individual. So you’re thinking about where you want your company to be a year or five years from today and what it will take to get there. All leaders want to grow their companies to some extent, so it’s necessary to determine what your goals and objectives are and how you will meet them.
Ability to delegate:
A leader must be able to delegate, and for many people that’s not easy to do. Let’s say you build a full-time business from a side hustle in a spare room in your house. It’s very likely that you’re used to doing everything and handling all the tasks that are needed every day. As your business grows, though, you realize that you can no longer do everything.
“Entrepreneurs by nature have a healthy ego,” says Rony Israel, a business consultant at the Business Development bank of Canada (BDC), which is devoted exclusively to entrepreneurs. When it comes to their company, almost all entrepreneurs will say: Nobody can do it better than me.” The thing is that to successfully lead, there comes a point at which you have to start depending on others to handle certain tasks so you’re free, as the owner or CEO, to devote your time to bigger-picture items.
Richard Warke agrees. As founder and chairman of the Augusta Group of Companies, Warke says he spends lots of time delegating to his company’s executives and gives them the latitude to perform their jobs with the skills they possess, which in many cases complement his. He places a significant emphasis on having talented leadership and says a competent and skilled management team is a key to the success of any company.
Entrepreneurs say that it’s incredibly important to be able to express yourself to everyone with whom you interact. This includes both verbal and written communication, which by the way, means having the ability to communicate effectively via email, which not everyone does well. But you do want to be a strong communicator.
According to the website for the executive placement firm yscouts.com, “The leader is able to clearly articulate their ideas, and the plan to achieve common goals. They encourage communication between departments and across levels. They avoid ambiguities and generalizations, and are able to avoid conflict and misunderstanding due to poor communication.”
Jane Wesman, president of Jane Wesman Public Relations agrees. “An entrepreneur leader,” she writes, “must have a vision of what his or her business is all about: what it does, how it serves its stakeholders and where it is going. The vision cannot be vague. An entrepreneurial leader must be able to articulate this vision, so that others are inspired and will join together to work together for a common goal.”
Entrepreneurial leadership skills can take time for some to develop, but they’re essential if your company is going to grow and thrive.
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