10 Leadership lessons from successful entrepreneurs
There is a vast difference between being a task master and a leader. While being a task master is relatively simpler, being a leader is a challenge in itself. When you grow your business, you will have a team that will look to you as a leader. Here are 10 leadership lessons that you can learn from these entrepreneurs-
1. Believe in your business.
“Give your venture everything you’ve got. A passionate commitment to your business and personal objectives can make all the difference between success and failure,” writes Sir Richard Branson. “If you aren’t proud of what you’re doing, why should anybody else be?”
“And don’t get suckered into blindly pursuing profits and growth. If you stay focused on being the best at what you do, it’s more likely that the rest will follow.”
2. Prioritize and delegate.
As all entrepreneurs know, you live and die by your ability to prioritize.” suggests Jessica Jackley, co-founder of Kiva and later co-founder and CEO of ProFounder. “You must focus on the most important, mission-critical tasks each day and night, and then share, delegate, delay or skip the rest.”
3. Give employees expectations and training.
In his book “Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading, Part 4: A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to the Power of Beliefs in Business,” Ari Weinzweig, CEO and cofounder of Zingerman’s gourmet food company, writes that, “Clear expectations and training tools are all about a better future.”
Ari adds, Small training success build confidence. People are more hopeful when they know what’s expected of them and feel they have the tools they need to do the work at hand.”
“Learning is the minimum requirement for success in your field,” writes Brian Tracy. “Information and knowledge on everything is increasing every day. This means that your knowledge must also increase to keep up.”
4. Constantly evolve.
Bill Gates once said, “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.””
5. Communicate effectively.
Warren Buffett has said, “You’ve got to be able to communicate in life and it’s enormously important. Schools, to some extent, under emphasize that. If you can’t communicate and talk to other people and get across your ideas, you’re giving up your potential.”
6. Encourage employees to get more sleep.
“Sleep plays a vital role in our decision making, emotional intelligence, cognitive function, and creativity – all of which are hugely relevant for both our overall health and our ability to be productive and effective,” Arianna Huffington told Forbes.
“Today, so many of us fall into this trap of sacrificing sleep in the name of productivity. But, ironically, our loss of sleep, despite the extra hours we put in at work, adds up to more than 11 days of lost productivity per year per worker, or about $2,280. This results in a total annual cost of sleep deprivation to the U.S. economy of more than $63 billion, in the form of absenteeism and presenteeism (when employees are present at work physically but not really mentally focused).”
7. Boost their self-esteem, celebrate accomplishments.
“Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self esteem of their personnel,” said Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton. “If people believe in themselves it’s amazing what they can accomplish.”
Don’t be afraid to celebrate your accomplishments. Just celebrate those of others more, recommends Nina Vaca of the Pinnacle Group.
8. Be transparent.
“I’ve come to learn there is a virtuous cycle to transparency and a very vicious cycle of obfuscation,” said Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn. When employees are curious and denied access to information, they become resentful and start digging. “That’s when executive management says, well, clearly we can’t trust our employees with this information. So, we’re going to have to buckle down and release even less information.”
Instead, treat employees “like adults” and be completely transparent.
9. Stop talking and start listening, have face to face conversations.
“Leaders who listen are able to create trustworthy relationships that are transparent and breed loyalty. You know the leaders who have their employees’ best interests at heart because they truly listen to them,” writes Glenn Llopis, founder of the Glenn Llopis Group.
Llopis adds, “Listening goes well beyond being quiet and giving someone your full attention. It requires you to be aware of body language, facial expressions, mood, and natural behavioral tendencies. Listening should be a full-time job when you consider the uncertainty embedded in the workplace and the on-going changes taking place.”
“There’s a temptation in our networked age to think that ideas can be developed by e-mail and iChat,” Steve Jobs told author Walter Isaacson. “That’s crazy. Creativity comes from spontaneous meetings, from random discussions. You run into someone, you ask what they’re doing, you say ‘Wow,’ and soon you’re cooking up all sorts of ideas.”
10. They hold themselves accountable.
Accountability, according to Michael Hyatt, “means that you accept responsibility for the outcomes expected of you — both good and bad. You don’t blame others. And you don’t blame the external environment. There are always things you could have done -or still can do – to change the outcome….Until you take responsibility, you are a victim. And being a victim is the exact opposite of being a leader.”
Hyatt adds, “Victims are passive. They are acted upon. Leaders are active. They take initiative to influence the outcome.”
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