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Transform from an entrepreneur to a leader

By Pauline Muindi | January 6th 2021 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

Like most entrepreneurs, you probably started your business all by your own and a handful of employees. At that point, you might not feel the need to consciously develop your leadership skills as an entrepreneur. To get your business off the ground, you will require skills such as tenacity, drive and a strong work ethic – to name just a few.

However, as your business grows, the skills required for success begin to shift. With an expanding business, don’t be surprised if you find yourself more stressed out and overwhelmed. You may be unsure about how to get the best from your growing workforce.  

Soon, you will be nostalgic for the period when you didn’t have so many people to manage!

Unfortunately, you can’t grow a business without hiring more people. Therefore, you will have to learn how to become more than just an entrepreneur. You will have to develop skills that make you capable of inspiring and empowering a growing workforce.

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When you’re used to doing most of the work by yourself or with a few other associates, the transformation from entrepreneur to leader can be difficult. You might not know the exact skills you need to develop as a business leader.

If this is your predicament, you don’t have to worry anymore. Here are four powerful tips to help you become an effective business leader:

1. Let Go of Your Ego

One of the most important tips for entrepreneurs who want to transition into great leaders is “drop the ego.” Being an egotistical control freak may work to get a start-up off the ground, but it will only hinder the growth of your business as you continue to expand.

Believing you’re the only one capable of handling certain tasks or making certain decisions on the day-to-day running of your business is a sure way to self-destruct. You are likely to suffer burnout, get depressed and end up with a failed business.

By letting go of your ego, you will realise that others are fully capable or even more capable than you in certain business tasks. You will also be in a position to accept constructive criticism and feedback from mentors, your clients, and other associates. As a leader, you have to overcome the need to be always right and welcome the idea of constant learning and growing.

2. Know Your Why

Why did you get into the business? To be a strong leader, you need to have a solid understanding of both your personal and business motives. What personal goals do you want to achieve through your business? What is it that drives you? What is the vision for your business?

While making money is great, it should never be the only motivating factor in business. Do some soul-searching to establish your reasons. “You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal,” says Maya Angelou.

Why does this matter in leadership? The amazing thing about clarifying your why is that it will be easier to convince others of your vision.

As Simon Sinek puts it, “people don’t buy what you do or how you do it, they buy why you do it.” Knowing your why as an entrepreneur is also the best way to define your direction and grow your business from inside out.

3. Build a Support Network

A good leader knows that they can’t do it alone. Therefore, they put effort into building a supportive network of advisors who provide valuable business mentorship, counsel and contacts.

Relationships with advisors can be either formal or informal. For example, you can hire an experienced business coach to help you navigate business pitfalls. Many CEOs also benefit from working closely with a non-executive chairman.

Whenever faced with a challenge, business leaders can simply tap into their rich network for ideas and solutions. A strong professional network also helps business leaders in keeping a finger on the pulse of their industry.

 For this reason, it is important to connect with thought leaders and influencers in your industry and the world at large. Connect with as many people as possible to benefit from diverse voices and facilitate a free exchange of ideas.

4. Recruit and Retain Talent 

The most effective business leaders know that the secret to success is hiring smart and retaining great talent. These are the people you will entrust with your vision. Therefore, you need to look for the best possible hires and do everything possible to keep them with your company. As the politician Robert Henry Grant said, “When you hire people that are smarter than you are, you prove that you are smarter than they are.”

Many leaders credit their business success to their employees. However, few are actually adequately involved in hiring and retaining great talent. To be a successful leader, you have to be involved in the recruitment process and ensure that you set up structures to keep employees motivated as they develop their skills. You should also provide opportunities for growth internally to discourage your valuable employees from looking for opportunities elsewhere.

Once you have these great employees, you can delegate tasks and focus on the bigger picture. Remember, good leaders, empower their staff. At first, it might feel like you’re slacking off when you delegate tasks. But you’re developing an important leadership skill that will ensure that your business can run smoothly even in your absence. Start by delegating the tasks that you don’t enjoy or the ones that are better handled by a professional such as accounting or marketing.

Entrepreneurship Recruiting and retaining talent Support Network
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