What makes an authentic leader and entrepreneur? When we cross reference multitudes of surveys conducted on entrepreneurship and leaders, we come a cross a few common traits. In this article, I use entrepreneurs and leaders interchangeably as I believe the two cannot be separated. Here are the 10 qualities if a successful entrepreneur:
Honesty/Integrity – Integrity and Honesty in this sense refers to both business transactions and personal relationships.
Vision – Good leaders should have a vision for the organization, a grand scheme and plan. But it should not stop there. The entrepreneur will need to communicate and articulate the vision purposefully and inspire action.
Listening – There are several ways to listen. Entrepreneurs should be open to suggestions, approachable, open minded, flexible, willing to accept criticism and receive feedback.
Giving Feedback – Giving credit where credit is due, including public praise for a job well done. Offering positive feedback regularly (instead of a yearly appraisal feedback) and valuing employee contributions is also part of giving feedback.
Emotional Intelligence – This can be interpreted as the ability to communicate empathy and compassion, treat people well and relate them on a human level. We often ignore this when we have a “boss-employee” relationship where the human factor is effectively ignored. Emotional intelligence also includes passion for the work, commitment for the organization’s success and appreciating good work.
Clarity – Clarity is a major theme in any form of leadership. People focus on your ability to articulate ideas and communicate clearly and convincingly with people at all levels.
Knowledge and Intelligence – Surveys suggest that followers expect the leader/entrepreneur to be smart in every sense of the word and needs to have extensive knowledge of the substance of his field.
Managerial Skills – This is attributed to the skill of delegating and allocating resources to achieve the greatest effectiveness and efficiency. This a knowledge and skill that can be acquired. There are many training providers and consultants that offer such training. (Me, for one!)
Follow Through – Leaders initiate ideas, but they also see to it that it comes through. Followers want to see whether leaders walk the talk.
Humility – Authentic leaders have humility. The constantly seek advice, learn, relearn, and always willing to seek information. They also admit mistakes! The take calculated risks, and if it fails, they step up and assume responsibility instead of pointing fingers.
Hope this acts as a guideline for us on our journey as entrepreneurs!