A good employee doesnâ€™t always make for a good leaderâ€”just ask David Brent (portrayed by Ricky Gervais in the television series The Office). Just because you did well as an employee in your industry doesnâ€™t mean you have what it takes to lead, although it doesnâ€™t hurt to have experience. There are certain traits and qualities leaders have. Look deep into yourself and see if you have what it takes
1. You understand that itâ€™s more about your employees
As an entrepreneur, your work is important. You decide what direction the company takes and how youâ€™ll sell it to people. However, youâ€™re just one person. Your impact on the company while irreplaceable, isnâ€™t the most important thing, itâ€™s the collective impact of your employees. Youâ€™re not looking to directly impart the company through sales calls, though you may take on that role early on. Youâ€™re more focused on making sure your employees are the best versions of themselves that they can be. Creating the right company culture, making a comfortable work environment, making sure everyoneâ€™s properly compensated â€”all these and more should be at the top of your to-do list.
2. Criticism is a blessing.
You are responsible for everything in the startup. Indirectly or directly, every success can be attributed to you. That means that everyfailure can find its root in you as well, from how you trained human resources to pick among employees to something more overt like the direction that the company took. Thatâ€™swhy criticism is so important. Criticism can open your eyes to new avenues and help you improve your startupâ€™s performance. Leaders donâ€™t just handle criticism well, but they also hunger for it. Each piece of feedback represents an opportunity to improve things in one way or another. Add up those little wins and youâ€™ll eventually snowball into a big one.
3 Itâ€™s less about getting recognition or credit.
To a certain extent, the startup is all about you. You built it to achieve your goals and ideals, whether itâ€™s financial independence, making the world a better place, or a combination of many things However, when it comes down to it, itâ€™s not about getting people to see you. Glory-hogging isnâ€™t your practice. If it comes your way and you deserve it, youâ€™re OK with it. Otherwise, it simply doesnâ€™t matter to you outside your personal branding. Leaders just want to do work well, and they want everyone around them to be as excellent as possible. Not only does this focus their effort on the employee, it makes them more resilient to the countless wonderful ads theyâ€™ll perform that no one will thank them for. If you want to lead your company to success you must not crave credit.
4. Youâ€™re curious.
Donâ€™t let the old saying about curiosity and the cat hold you back. That saying is often quoted out of context; cudosity is the trait you want to have as an entrepreneur. When people tell you something, youâ€™re not judgemental, youâ€™re curious. Youâ€™re not looking to prove yourself smarter than everyone in the room. What you want is something more vital, and thatâ€™s understanding. You donâ€™t assume anything. You make sure everythingâ€™s above board and accurate.
Thereâ€™s a lot of pressure on entrepreneurs to be perfect and on-point at all times. Even just hearing about how many startups fail in their first year can be stressful. However, perfection is not what you need. You want to be present and curious Listen to your team. Ask them questions. Theyâ€™ll appreciate you being there mentally and emotionally.
5. Youâ€™re concerned with long-term consequences
The biggest difference between the average worker and a leader is the ability to pay attention to the consequences of their actions. For many workers, itâ€™s about getting the job done. The consequences are for someone else to be concerned about, and that someone is their leader. Leaders are aware of how each action can impart the future and what it could mean for the startup. Thatâ€™s why they donâ€™t sweat the small stuff: they know which actions matter and which ones donâ€™t. The majority of your time as a leader and entrepreneurs should be spent thinking about the startup six months from now, or a year in the future. The minutiae of each employeeâ€™s task doesnâ€™t concern you as much as their output and the consequences of their contributions in relation to the startup.
6. Youâ€™re all about making people the best version of themselves
Youâ€™re going to hear a lot about how leadership is about inspiration, because thatâ€™s what you do. You get people pumped and ready to do work. However, it doesnâ€™t end there. Youâ€™re not just getting them energised, youâ€™re making them the best people they can be. A big part of that is finding out what each person is uniquely good at. You donâ€™t need them to be the only one in the world who can file faster than everyone else; you just need them to be the best at it in the startup. Helping your employees discover their greatest skills not only inspires them, but it also improves your startupâ€™s productivity. If thereâ€™s anything you should realise about leadership and entrepreneurship, itâ€™s that itâ€™s less about you and more about your team. A leader doesnâ€™t hog glory, crave credit, or put down other people for his own gain. A leader raises people up, inspires them, and makes them amazing. If you have these traits, you can make it as a leader and entrepreneur.