More often than not, we use the words entrepreneur and leader synonymously with each other. Most times, the entrepreneur, for whatever reason, has to take on the role as leader in the organization. That doesn’t mean the CEO or founder will be effective in that leadership role. The truth of the matter is, the more you think like a “boss babe”, the less you think like Michelle Obama.
As new entrepreneurs, our business is our all. It’s everything. It’s all we manage to truly think about most of the day and unfortunately, night. We make sacrifices that nobody else can and will for our business. We invest and pour our life savings into it but it’s always about more than the money at the end of the day. We are emotionally and psychologically invested. It becomes an extension of our family, who we are and how we want the world to see us. This ultimately, has both a negative and positive impact on the business, and the deterioration.
Our society has a bad habit of worshiping the entrepreneur title without the struggle; idolize start-ups even. From the 9-5 corner office, it has been glorified as a couch potato lifestyle that yields lots of money…fast. As a business owner, I had to learn very quickly, through trial and error, that in order to grow and be a sustainable business long term, I had to wear different hats. I had to be the person to provide both aspects of the business. Front and back end. My business itself needed a CEO, my clients and staff needed a leader. While it is possible to do both, it requires a specific mindset shift, which requires you to be objective in every facet of the business.
For me, the main aspects to be mastered are proprietorship, target, and benefit.
“The Entrepreneur”: “My company, my rules, my ideas”
“The Leader”: “Our vision, our standards of practice, our ideas”
It’s ok if you aren’t the one thinking of all the ideas, taking all the credit, or generating new products. Leaders know how to turn off the ownership when dealing with employees and staff and let them participate as equal partners whose ideas and opinions matter. It can’t just resonate with one or two people, the idea has to feel like it belongs to ALL. That’s the only way people will believe it and take sense of ownership and pride.
“The Entrepreneur”: Products
“The Leader”: People
A true leader makes decisions based on the people component part of the business vs. just the service and products. While all of it is relative to the bottom line, how decisions are made, and relayed will foster a healthy working environment with a happy group of individuals who care about not only the work, but the people, the mission and the company’s vision.
“The Entrepreneur”: “Serve Me and my ideas”
“The Leader”: “Serve the clients and the community”
Leaders serve communities and the people that make up those communities. Being a great leader means being able to garner respect and trust to the point where people listen to what you have to say. They are good at building people. Entrepreneurs are just the opposite. They are good at building a thing, a product, a tool — then they work it.
Don’t let your idea get in the way of you being a true leader. A good idea is just that without people to actually bring that idea to life. While they do that, they are going to need a leader to support them, lift them up. Truly care. Be as diligent about what it takes to be a great leader as you are about getting a product to market. If you can learn to adapt and master both, you can pretty much guarantee the success of your business in the long run.
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