Are You An Entrepreneurial Leader?
By Future Energy Solutions CEO Daniel Gold
Are you ready to be a true entrepreneurial leader? Let me tell you upfront, it takes more than just having an innovative idea and being able to share that idea to raise the capital needed for moving forward.
If you’re the leader, YOU need to be the smartest person in the room. In war, one general makes the ultimate decision. In business, that has to be YOU. You may want to hire people who are better at executing certain elements of your business than you, but they need to get direction from you. If I were smarter than my boss, I’d lose all respect for him. You have to believe your employees feel the same way about you.
Several traits point your way to the top, starting with making yourself the best at what you and your company or team do. You have to lead from the front…from a position of strength. That means being better than your employees at what they do – and continuing to work at it every day. You can’t lead effectively if you can’t do what you expect those under you to do.
You’ll need the courage of your convictions. Sure, listen with an open mind to what others on the team say but, ultimately, you must be prepared to make the final decisions. And, you’ll need to see problems and be working to solve them before anyone else even knows there ARE problems.
“Do this because I said so” doesn’t work many times. You need to be able to do anything you ask of an employee before telling them to do it. Long story short – the type of business and employee you’re leading will determine whether you use collaboration or orders to get things done. Good leaders will recognize which is needed…when.
Great leaders are the ones who can see what’s NOT there, and find a way to make that happen. I admire great visionaries… Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Jeff Bezos come to mind, but really, anyone who’s smart, sees what’s not there, and fills the gap.
Books on leadership aren’t the answer. Doing is. You can’t learn from a book unless it’s based in reality – and everyone’s reality is different. I might take a thought I’ve read about and apply it to my situation to see if it works, but the proof is in the doing … not the reading.
Don’t fear failure. Yes, leadership comes from within, i.e., the courage of your convictions. That part is innate. But all really great leaders learn from their errors how to do things differently…more effectively. There’s no substitute for experience.
If you’re good, you’ll always be looking for ways to make yourself even better. You can’t risk ever being caught by surprise. By expecting the unexpected, you’re already at work solving problems that have yet to arise. And that’s what leaders need to do to stay on top.
If I were to tell a younger me the three most important things to being successful, I’d say:
Being successful is a 24-hour-a-day, seven-days-a-week thing at times. You’ve got to be prepared to put in the work if you expect to lead.