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Hi everyone, and welcome to another mind blowing episode of ThoughtLeadership.biz. I’m Chris Machut and today we’ll be talking about why entrepreneurs and leaders can’t just go it alone. . .
So what’s the difference between entrepreneurs and leaders? Well, quite a lot actually. To sum it up in a nutshell: Entrepreneurs develop ideas while leaders develop people.
And contrary to popular opinion, not all entrepreneurs are great leaders. The best have worked hard at it because they know that having a great idea is often just ain’t enough – you have to be able to bring people along with you to make that great idea a successful reality.
And that’s not always easy. Trust me. . .
So, what exactly does it take to be a successful entrepreneur in the 21st Century? Well, let’s find out.
But before we go there, tradition dictates I remind you to check out all my newest articles, podcasts and more at ThoughtLeadership.biz, or catch me in person on YouTube. I hang out on Spotify and Anchor.fm, too, as well as Apple and Google Podcasts. You’ll also find me on Twitter and LinkedIn, where you can subscribe for notifications!
Alright, so let’s get started.
First we’ll talk about some of the obvious differences between entrepreneurs and leaders, then look at some of the key attributes that entrepreneurs possess.
So, one of the main differences between the two is that entrepreneurs organize inspire and motivate people to achieve a certain set of goals through optimizing calculated risks, exploiting opportunities and managing an often highly fluid and dynamic environment.
On the other hand, leaders in business and other organizations generally focus on a set profile of systems, processes and guidelines that are more traditional, less flexible and less dynamic.
Neither group is better or worse – they just operate differently because their aims and objectives are different.
It’s also fair to say that the best entrepreneurs are often also great leaders, as in order to motivate others to come with you on your journey and keep them there, you gotta have some pretty decent leadership skills. But it doesn’t always work the other way around. Great leaders rarely have to be great entrepreneurs, too.
Entrepreneurs are usually fiercely intent on achieving their goals, even if it means letting go of those who can’t keep up with the pace, but leaders are more invested in nurturing a team and working together.
Whereas entrepreneurs might act like gung-ho generals charging into battle – often with seemingly careless abandon – leaving the rest to follow or fall, more traditional leaders lead with the team around them and are more likely to seek advice. They’re also more likely to delegate.
Entrepreneurs are often so convinced that no-one can do the job as well as they can that they lack trust in others, micromanage team members and try to involve themselves in every single aspect of the project.
But that’s NEVER a good idea. It’s what will leave you isolated, depressed and . . . well, just generally a bit of an a-hole.
The fact of the matter is that no serious entrepreneur can go it alone and still manage to scale a business in any significant way. It’s too big. It’s too complex. And it’s too exhausting.
So, the bottom line is: Entrepreneurs need to learn to be team players, too.
Here are ten of the key entrepreneurial attributes. It’s not an exhaustive list, but it covers the basics, basically. . .
Excellent entrepreneurs are also excellent leaders, so they must possess outstanding communication skills. The ability to communicate fluently and constructively with a wide variety of stakeholders, as well as articulate their ideas concisely with their teams, is absolutely crucial.
They also have a crystal clear vision of what they want to achieve AND how to get there. There are no fluffy edges, no half-baked ideas – everything is in full HD. . .
- Delegate & Support
The best entrepreneurial leaders are highly supportive and intuitively know when and how to lend a hand. By empowering others to make decisions and trust their own judgment within a certain agreed remit, entrepreneurs free themselves up to work on the big picture stuff instead of getting buried in the granular detail. They delegate as standard and support as needed, working with colleagues to achieve the shared goals.
Effective leaders have a superior mindset, one that they’ve honed over years of working with a variety of different people and solving a variety of different problems. Not only are they aware of their own strengths and shortcomings; they’re prepared to lay them out on the table and let others learn from them. The inner confidence and self-belief they have is often infectious.
- Sharing is Caring
An authentic entrepreneur doesn’t steal the limelight and pretend it’s a one-man show. Instead, they respect the contributions others have made and share their success with the team.
- Sleeves Rolled Up
Any entrepreneur worth their salt won’t be found glued to their office chair, hiding away in a backroom while their minions do all the work. You’ll usually find them right in the thick of things, helping out where they can and where they need to, or just spending time informally with their employees and actually getting to know them.
Real entrepreneurial leaders are crazy about getting the company culture right. They have a deep understanding of why a positive, solutions-driven culture, one that consistently promotes trust, teamwork and truthfulness, is one that will ultimately thrive. They understand that creating the right conditions for success and then taking great care to cultivate them properly is the real key to massive success.
All great leaders are honest with themselves and with others. They also practice what they preach. Period.
Entrepreneurial leaders never shy away from a challenge. They also have the ability to recast problems as opportunities to grow and learn. They’re fully committed to their vision and fully committed to driving themselves and their teams to realize it.
- Learning & Growth
One final thing that all entrepreneurs have in common is an insatiable desire to keep learning and keep growing. They don’t only invest huge amounts of time and money into their own learning, but also make sure that they infuse their organizations with the same zeal for upskilling themselves and pushing the boundaries. Great leaders think outside the box and are always looking for new ways to create solutions to their problems, so investing time and resources into learning is an essential ingredient in their overall success.
After all, the business world is accelerating and expanding on all fronts at an unprecedented rate and if you don’t keep up. . . well, your business dies and your entrepreneurial dreams along with it. . .
So, there we have it. It’s not an exhaustive list, of course and there’s plenty more where that came from but we’ll save it for another time. . .
For now, I’ll finish with the words of one of the greatest thinkers of all time: Albert Einstein. He said:
“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”
And that, I think, personally, is a great distinction between leadership and entrepreneurship. . .
But the bottom line is really this: Even the best and most gifted entrepreneurs in the world can’t do it ALL by themselves. To some extent it has to be a team effort.
So, no matter how good you think you are, don’t be a leader alone.
This is Chris Machut.
See you next time – and stay safe out there!