True Leadership Is The Key Factor To Entrepreneurs’ Success
True leadership is a key factor to achieve entrepreneurial success. But can you become a true leader simply because you came up with an idea or managed to gather a set of people who have agreed to work with you? Often true leadership is defined as, ‘the power or ability to lead other people,’ but the reality is for most people, there is a lot more to leadership than that
The great American expert on Leadership Studies, Warren Bennis, says,
“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.”
He further goes on to add that…
“While a manager accepts the status quo, the leader challenges it.”
A true leader essentially is not only who conceptualizes the idea but also has the wherewithal to take it forward and execute it flawlessly. This essentially involves in creating clarity of vision and giving it a physical shape. We all have several ideas in our mind but the leader is one who actually has the grit to take forward these ideas. The leader is committed to their idea and has the capability to convince a wide cross section of people to follow the same dream and inspire them to excel and challenge their own capabilities in the tryst to perform better.
True leadership, therefore, is never about individual abilities or talent. It is almost always about the team and being an efficient team player. A true leader’s capability is never about what they can achieve at an individual level but how well they can motivate the team to bring about a collective effort. The idea is almost always about their efficiency in excelling in a team effort and not falter in terms of inspiring the rest of the team members to remain as motivated and passionate about the very concept that they are working tirelessly to achieve a certain goal.
While the recent advent of social media and the modern stress on creating centers of personal excellence has often made the absolute idea of selfless and true leadership more of a textbook concept, I would like to use the Harold Schultz or JRD Tata brand of leadership in this context to identify a true leader. The fact that the employees of their respective companies really look up to the leader and the leader has always given precedence to the greater good over individual glory and personal gains.
Essence Of True Leadership
So the essence of true leadership is way more than simple authority or mere recognition. It is about developing a team that not just believes in your dream but actually works as passionately as you would attain it. It is important for this; every employee needs to develop to their actual potential and the only person who can help them achieve this is a true leader who is committed to self-less leadership in every possible way. They are not in a hurry to prove their individual brilliance but on the contrary very keen to equip their team members with the right set of know-how, tools and strategies that can contribute to the overall success of the company.
They believe in creating quality talent and breaking down barriers both physical and emotional. In this way, they do not just help individuals understand and appreciate their own potential but also make them equal stakeholders in the game of excellence and success as a team. This also serves the double purpose of not just securing individual future but also ensuring the company’s workflow order also functions brilliantly in a manner that the company can do away with uncertainty to a large extent.
They begin to be respected for not just facilitating individual brilliance but also creating a positive work atmosphere that even extends to the lives of the team members. Remember a happy person is a happy workman and true leadership is all about realizing the unfathomable potential of this amazing fact.
If you have ever thought that the entrepreneurship is about bringing about a sustainable long-term change, then being an able leader is creating the path for such a goal. Individuals often learn from practice and a true leader is able to inspire the team to follow him or her in their tryst towards a better future and creating more sustainable models of development.
Well, you would all agree that transforming people and bringing in a change in terms of work culture and approach to work is what memorable and well-respected leaders about. I am sure you all remember Morgan Freeman’s motivational speech to Matt Damon and his rugby team in the movie, Invictus. He not just ensured his country’s victory in a World Cup but transformed every team member into committed sports persons putting up a united front in the interest of their country.
Leaders who instead go on ego trips and are full of themselves are the ones that are more prone to fail. Whether you look at multinationals or country heads, this one simple fact is out time and again. Individual glory has no place in the arena glorifying true leadership.
Selfless service is almost the most important pre-requisite for a great team player. They are almost always committed to going that extra mile for their team’s sake and success of their dreams. They never mind sharing the load with the team and never hanker for acknowledgement of their personal achievements. They are also the ones who take up failure with as much grace as success and will never pile on blame on the team members to extricate themselves of the guilt.
All performance is viewed as a team effort and instead of complaining, they always look at devising ways to motivate the team to excel and perform better whatever the circumstances might be for them.
Qualities Of A True Leader
It is not hard to envisage that each leader needs a lot of sub-parts to come together to prove their brilliance as great leaders. There are lots of qualities that need to click in one go. In Steve Jobs words,
“My model for business is The Beatles. They were four guys who kept each other kind of negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other, and the total was greater than the sum of the parts. That’s how I see business: great things in business are never done by one person, they’re done by a team of people.”
So if you look at it, what are the key qualities that determine a true leader which will make this sum of parts greater? Well they include:
The popular saying goes that knowledge is power and nowhere else is it proven better than in the field of leadership. You will only be in a position to ask someone to do something in a particular fashion only if you have extensive knowledge and understanding of what you are doing and how you are achieving.
Without a detailed and comprehensive area expertise, it is never possible to get things done accurately and appropriately as per the requirement of the job. It is perhaps in this context that before one takes up the role of a leader, it is important that one acquires the comprehensive knowledge of the concerned subject. They should be able to appreciate and understands every minute detail about the area of work in a complete and structured manner to get to the bottom of every problem and at least work towards a solution earnestly.
Remember a true leader is someone who the team looks up to. Without proper and extensive know-how, it is just not possible to develop this type of understanding about the complexities involved. Individuals who think they can get away with sheer lip service and superficial knowledge are the ones that fail and how.
Strong and true leadership is also about great character building with a strong emphasis on humility. Humility is important not just because it is a positive virtue listed by all moral science books but also because it helps in individual growth.
Remember it is this humility that always inspires an individual to move forward, expand their knowledge base and keep acquiring more and more understanding of the matters they deal with on a regular basis. It is essentially this humility that often propels individuals to become more compassionate and forgiving.
Humble individuals are also the ones who never forget their experiences and good deeds and always look at taking forward these values in life. Their inspiration and ideas come from various avenues and the fact that they are humble also makes them more receptive towards acquiring these values. Being humble also makes a person a lot more kindness. Often, an effective leader is also a kind and compassionate person and is respected as much for being a genuine individual as for their professional excellence. One must remember that respect on professional grounds comes from respect as an individual.
A true leader is always passionate for a cause that they might be driving the team forward for. In this context, you must understand, passion is not a just about dreaming big as an entrepreneur, it is also the driving force that keeps a company going and a dream alive.
The difference between a passionate leader and a passionate individual is while the former is able to make it a common cause; the latter is driven by the passion alone without being able to make it a common affair and an overall team effort. They are never able to translate their drive and passion to the other team members and therefore often face the risk of succumbing to potential burnout and sometimes, unfortunately, to altogether give up the very passion that often was their lifeline and dictated their career moves.
That brings us to another aspect of a strong leader. That is effective communication. It is not just about talking to the team but also create an environment that is conducive towards the possibility of dialogue.
Communication is as much about talking as it is about listening. A bad leader only talks while a good leader is one who talks only when required and listens a lot.
Communication moreover is not just verbal. There are also other manifestation of communication that is as important or perhaps even more important. The body language of the leader communicates very effectively.
The team instantly understands if the leader has a confident body language or a disarming manner of talking can help a leader instantly win over the team’s confidence. This is perhaps one of the most important elements of true leadership…to win the team’s trust and lead by example. That is exactly what great leaders are about.
Well, this is one of those elements of true leadership that is very hard to explain in words but play an immensely important role in determining their success as well as achieving their goals. It is the gut feeling of a person, it is more instinctive than logical and refers to any aspect of leadership from choosing the right team to the product profile and even extending to the individuals they select for taking the team. Essentially this is an inseparable part of an efficient team leader and often forms that fine line between success and failure of a leader.
As we were already discussing a while back, effective leadership is as much about professional excellence as it about developing personal points of excellence like honesty, simplicity and integrity of characters. You would be wrong to consider that these are outdated values and now only exist in textbooks. A person who has integrity of character is also invariably someone who values for others feelings, is sensitive to their team’s problems and challenges and gives high regard to their words. As a result, they almost always are individuals who are also respected outside their professional space as well for their integrity.
This almost goes hand in hand with integrity. Reminded of a popular image that has been doing the rounds on what’s app. It goes on to show Zuckerberg and Gates sitting and discussing, and the caption reads over $100 billion in one frame and not a Gucci belt. Yes, exactly true leaders do not need fancy clothes to highlight their brilliance. Whether they are in a hoodie or a turtle neck, their simplicity is what commands more respect.
True leaders are the ones who just do not believe in simple living but also a simplicity in approach. They can explain complicated concepts quite simply to their team members helping them to understand the concepts as easily as it comes to them. Perhaps that is exactly why a great leader is able to communicate the passion and drive behind an enterprise quite simply.
Last but not the least, a great leader is extremely courageous and is ready to take the risk themselves before exposing the entire team. They are almost always confident about the potential of their passion and never scared of moving ahead on it even if that means they have to make it alone at times. Often it is this courage that becomes their greatest strength in terms of excelling above others and making their mark in their work arena.
Have you ever wondered is it just a coincidence that great leaders are also great speakers and excel in motivational speeches. Of course not. This is one of the prerequisites of being a great leader. They are, able to motivate and convince their team to attain the goals that hitherto was considered unattainable. The fact that they always lead from the front ensures that the team has no scope for questioning their commitment and rather get inspired by their untold commitment in achieving the best and consistently. No wonder from Alexander to Churchill to Steve Jobs they all make across as great leaders and great motivational speakers.
That said, we can safely conclude that a leader’s role is hardly the easiest and entrepreneurs who aspire to be true leaders should always be mindful of this fact. They must remember that if they fail as leaders, often it would mean that they have to even give up their dreams of entrepreneurship. This is because, without a committed team, no individual can ever dream or aspire to achieve the dream of becoming great entrepreneurs or take their product to the masses. A team is often what defines the leader more than the leader doing it for the team.
It is one of the most difficult jobs and individuals need to remain absolutely grounded to truly appreciate and understand the real worth of true leadership. Only when their intrinsic humility and courage come together with their passion, can they motivate the team to absolutely go beyond their accepted potentials and realize the greatness that makes the team click together and bring about the change as envisaged by the entrepreneur’s dream. As John Adams once said,
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
Good luck 🙂