The first leap into the world of entrepreneurship asks you to be brave but the asks and requirements never stop after this.
You get used to answering them, one after another – who even knew that a single human could take this much? You are running through the forest of business, progressing one hack of a bush at a time as your success runs alongside you asking that you never take your eyes off it – the prize.
As someone who’s been on this run for up to ten years now, I know just how hard it is to look around and see that inviting others to run with you could help you progress faster. You become so enamored with what you’ve created that you forget to consider that no successful business in the history of humanity has ever been run by one person.
The first few years as an entrepreneur are full of “oh yeah!” moments like this and how delightfully wonderful are they all. By delightfully wonderful, I mean now is not your time to panic. You’ve been gaining skills as you go and they conveniently all translate into good leadership. However, as an entrepreneur, you know that everything can always be made better so you’re naturally going to want to become the best leader you can be.
The guidelines of how to be a good leader are changing day by day as new studies are published and different techniques are put to the test. Leadership today simply won’t work as it used to.
What you should know?
Here are just some statistics I wish I had known before hiring anyone to help out with my businesses and some things I’ve learned along the way as I’ve adapted to the ever-changing leadership world:
53% of workers go to work despite feeling they could benefit from a mental health day. Yes, that’s half. It’s probably already pretty clear but if not, I’ll put it into context anyway. A day off is not the end of the world. We are not in the cigar-smoking, backroom meeting, final ultimatum ages anymore. We’ve gladly come a long way. So, here’s a new approach to leadership for you: realizing that higher output doesn’t always correlate to higher quality.
Research backs this up with a 10-year study conducted by Teresa Amabile, a Harvard business professor, suggesting that time constraints and pressure reduces creativity and productivity. How then should a leader effectively persuade the people they are leading to produce both timely and high-quality work? The same study has the answer covered. By letting your workers know that you’re all on a mission. Feeling like your work has meaning and is appreciated is unparalleled when inspiring motivation.
In a survey undertaken by ‘Ladders’ in which 4,000 people were asked what encourages them to work – 67% claimed that they preferred working for a company whose mission they believed in rather than one who pays a lot. Not only has this worked marvelously for productivity and general feel of easiness and happiness during business hours – it had lead many of my workers to share their ideas for my business with me.
Change is vital.
We could likely agree by now that the world has seen enough tyrannical and ineffective leaders. The same old traits have been parroted for years in “How to be a good leader” articles, and we’ve never really seen them work out. In real life what most of the “be confident” and “delegate” translates to is arrogance and the likelihood of overwhelming your workers. This can’t continue and it shows.
Paul Polman, an eminent and successful Dutch businessman has been cited as saying “Leading is not just about giving energy, it’s about unleashing other people’s energy.” And this is certainly how a deep well of success and prosperity is dug. By investment not only in your business idea but those who are working with you to uphold and achieve it.
The future of leadership will be a path paved by trial and error, triumphs and failures, innovation and new ideas. The world as we know will change abruptly. Our cities will be greener, our transportations smaller, our habits automated and the business environment will be fluid, dynamic and with un-layered roles of command.
Either way, it’ll be traversed by those brave enough to take that first lead, and those with the smarts to help them.
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