In the world of entrepreneurship, effective leadership is often the driving force behind the success of any venture. While some individuals may possess natural leadership qualities, others find themselves honing their skills through experience and guidance from seasoned professionals and even enrolling in business courses online to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of business.
In this roundup post, we interviewed business leaders and experts to share their fresh perspectives on the key leadership skills and traits that can significantly impact your entrepreneurial journey.
Let their wisdom inspire you to unlock your full potential and pave the way to entrepreneurial success.
Top Leadership Skills for Entrepreneurs
Experience serves as a powerful teacher, molding individuals into great leaders by instilling invaluable qualities. Through navigating trials, overcoming challenges, and celebrating triumphs, these leaders have honed their skills and gained profound insights. Now, it is our privilege to share their perspectives and the wisdom they have acquired on their unique journeys.
Strategic decision-making plays a vital role in the success of entrepreneurial ventures. It involves carefully evaluating various options, considering risks and opportunities, and aligning decisions with long-term goals.
David Cohen, CEO of Badais International, a UK-based wholesale supplier of flowers and plants, has over 20 years of experience in e-commerce, customer service, and management. He shares his insights on the importance of timing in decision-making:
As David Cohen points out, timing is crucial when making strategic decisions. You don’t want to make a decision too quickly, but you also don’t want to procrastinate. The key is to find the right balance between being decisive and being thoughtful.
Here are some additional tips for strategic decision-making:
- Be clear about your goals. What do you want to achieve with your decision?
- Gather as much information as possible. The more information you have, the better equipped you will be to make a sound decision.
- Consider all of your options. Don’t just jump to the first solution that comes to mind. Take the time to weigh all of your options and consider the pros and cons of each one.
- Get input from others. Talk to your team members, colleagues, or other trusted advisors. Getting input from others can help you to see things from a different perspective and make a more informed decision.
- Be prepared to change your mind. As you gather more information and learn more about the situation, you may need to change your decision. This is okay. It is important to be flexible and willing to adapt as needed.
Ability to Empower a Team
According to Harvard Business Review, disengaged employees are costing companies $450 billion per year in lost productivity. This is due to a number of factors, including absenteeism, turnover, and decreased productivity.
Employee empowerment is not a luxury, it is a necessity. Companies that want to be successful in the long run need to focus on creating a workplace that empowers their employees.
Andrew Chen, Chief Product Officer at Videeo, highlights the absolute importance of empowering employees for the success of any entrepreneur. Videeo is a white-label solution that enables brands to deliver engaging shopping experiences through live and video commerce.
There are a number of things that entrepreneurs can do to empower their employees. These include:
- Set clear expectations and goals: Employees need to know what is expected of them and what they need to do to achieve their goals.
- Provide regular feedback: Feedback helps employees stay on track and make improvements.
- Delegate tasks and responsibilities: Empowering employees means giving them the opportunity to take on new challenges and grow their skills.
- Trust your employees: When you trust your employees, they are more likely to feel confident and empowered in their roles.
- Celebrate successes: When employees achieve their goals, be sure to celebrate their success. This will show them that their hard work is appreciated and that you value their contributions.
Ability to Seek Feedback
Alex Alexakis, the founder and CEO of PixelChefs, a tech company based out of the U.S., emphasizes the transformative impact of seeking feedback on leadership development.
He has been in the business for many years and has helped countless small and medium enterprises expand their business through digital marketing.
Reflecting on personal experiences, he acknowledges that constructive feedback can be uncomfortable and challenging to receive. However, he encourages fellow entrepreneurs to embrace this discomfort and actively seek genuine feedback from those around them, particularly from those they lead.
Remember that feedback, even when challenging to hear, can propel your leadership skills to new heights.
- Ask the right people. Not all feedback is created equal. When you’re seeking feedback, ask: Who are your target customers? What do they need and want? What are their pain points?
- Be specific. Don’t just ask, “What do you think?” Instead, ask questions like, “What do you like about my product?” or “What features would you like to see added?”
- Be open to criticism. Not everyone is going to love your idea or your product. That’s okay. Criticism can be a valuable tool for improvement.
- Don’t be defensive. It’s important to remember that feedback is not a personal attack. Try to listen to feedback with an open mind and be willing to change your mind if necessary.
Solid Personal Branding
In a world where we are constantly bombarded with information, standing out from the crowd can be challenging. A solid personal brand can help you to do just that.
Deepti Pahwa, author of “Trailblazer Founders: Breaking through Invisible Boundaries,” achieved great acclaim with her book, reaching No.1 as a New Release in Venture Capital on Amazon. In her book, Deepti Pahwa emphasizes that the success of an idea is often influenced by the person behind it.
She holds multiple roles as an Innovation and Leadership Executive Coach, Founding Partner at LISA, Advisor for DayOne MedTech Accelerator, Associate Professor at Business School Lausanne, and a Jury & Mentor at Masschallenge, where she helps shape and refine innovative ideas and visions. With a solid personal brand and a wealth of experience in entrepreneurship and innovation, her advice carries significant weight.
Here are more tips to strengthen your personal brand in social media as an entrepreneur:
- Define your personal brand. What do you want to be known for? What are your strengths, skills, and expertise? What makes you unique?
- Be consistent. Define a consistent tone and style of communication that aligns with your personal brand and mission.
- Be authentic. People can spot a fake from a mile away. So be yourself and let your personality shine through in your content and interactions.
Maximilian Nestler, CEO of Nestler Creation, a web and marketing agency in Munich, emphasizes the importance of endurance as the most essential leadership skill for entrepreneurs.
Endurance entails persevering through tough times, allocating resources wisely, and continuously iterating and improving, much like the dynamic environment of a startup. Maximilian’s journey has taught him the value of endurance, fueled by a growth mindset, and he believes it’s a skill that every entrepreneur should cultivate.
Here are some additional tips for entrepreneurs who want to develop endurance:
- Set realistic goals. When you set unrealistic goals, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Instead, set goals that are challenging but achievable. This will help you stay motivated and focused.
- Take breaks. It’s important to take breaks when you’re feeling overwhelmed. This will help you recharge and come back to your work refreshed.
- Celebrate your successes. When you achieve a goal, take some time to celebrate your success. This will help you stay motivated and keep moving forward.
Ability to Wear a Public Face Despite Challenging Situations
Lachlan de Crespigny, Co-founder and Co-CEO of Revelo, emphasizes the need for entrepreneurs to project a different public face than what they feel inside. It is crucial for entrepreneurs to maintain confidence and positivity, even when facing setbacks and challenges.
Revelo is a leading technology company that connects US companies with remote software developers in Latin America. Lachlan de Crespigny spearheaded Revelo’s expansion into the US market, driving its growth into a multi-million dollar business through strategic leadership in marketing, sales, and operations.
Lachlan shares his experience during the challenging period of the Covid-19 pandemic, where he had to remain resilient despite personal difficulties. He had to instill confidence in the team, keeping them motivated and focused on moving forward. By maintaining a positive public face and inspiring the team, they were able to overcome the initial shock and achieve significant growth.
So how can entrepreneurs develop the skill of the public face? Here are a few tips:
- Practice positive self-talk. When you are feeling down, take some time to remind yourself of your strengths and accomplishments. This will help you project a more confident and positive public persona.
- Focus on the team. When you are feeling overwhelmed, try to focus on the team and how you can help them succeed. This will help you take your mind off of your own problems and put you in a better position to lead.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you are struggling to keep up, don’t be afraid to ask for help from your team or from a mentor. Everyone needs help sometimes, and there is no shame in admitting that you need it.
Mark Valderrama, the CEO & Founder of the Aquarium Store Depot, recognizes the paramount importance of critical thinking. This invaluable skill encompasses logical, objective, and analytical thinking, enabling entrepreneurs to make well-informed decisions and tackle challenges head-on.
Valderrama has a rich background in the aquarium hobby, starting his journey at the young age of 11 and gaining hands-on experience at local fish stores. With over 25 years of maintaining freshwater tanks, ponds, and reef tanks, he has honed his entrepreneurial skills through practical application and continuous learning.
According to Valderrama, critical thinking goes beyond being a mere trait of an entrepreneur—it is a skill in its own right. It not only helps entrepreneurs identify and address issues within their companies and industries but also empowers them to make sound judgments when devising effective solutions.
As an entrepreneur, you will face many challenges. You will need to be able to think critically in order to overcome them. Here are a few tips for developing your critical thinking skills:
- Ask questions. When you are presented with a problem, don’t just accept the first solution that comes to mind. Ask questions to get a better understanding of the problem and the possible solutions.
- Be open to new ideas. Don’t be afraid to consider new ideas, even if they seem unconventional. Sometimes the best solutions are the ones that no one has thought of before.
- Be willing to change your mind. If you find that your initial solution is not working, be willing to change it. Don’t be afraid to admit that you were wrong.
Michael Alexis, CEO of teambuilding.com, a company that runs team building events for clients like Apple, Amazon, Google, Johnson & Johnson, Netflix, Chipotle and many others, believes that adaptability is the most essential leadership skill for entrepreneurs.
Alexis shared a remarkable personal experience where his company had to rapidly adapt to the challenges posed by the pandemic. They swiftly transformed their product offering from in-person experiences to virtual team building, establishing a new brand in a matter of weeks. This agile response enabled them to stand out in the market, seize the opportunity for growth, and ultimately achieve success.
A 2020 Harvard Business School survey found that 71% of 1,500 executives from 90+ countries valued adaptability the most in a leader. A 2021 McKinsey study showed that highly adaptable individuals had a 24% higher employment opportunities.
Here are some tips for developing adaptability skills:
- Be aware of your own strengths and weaknesses. This will help you to identify areas where you need to improve.
- Be willing to take risks. Change often requires taking risks. As a leader, you need to be willing to take calculated risks in order to move your business forward. This could mean investing in new technologies, trying new marketing strategies, or expanding into new markets.
- Be a lifelong learner. The world of business is constantly changing, so it is important for leaders to be lifelong learners. This means staying up-to-date on the latest trends, technologies, and best practices. It also means being open to new ideas and perspectives.
Networking and Strategic Partnerships
According to a study conducted by LinkedIn, 80% of professionals consider networking crucial for career success, as it opens up doors to new opportunities, collaborations, and business ventures.
Networking is not only important for professionals but also highly relevant in the entrepreneurial realm. Lou Reverchuk, Co-founder and CEO at EchoGlobal, shared this insightful perspective based on his extensive experience in the entrepreneurial field.
Here are some additional tips for networking and strategic partnerships:
- Be strategic about who you network with. Don’t just connect with everyone you meet. Instead, focus on connecting with people who can help you achieve your business goals.
- Be genuine and authentic. People can spot a fake from a mile away. So, be yourself and let your personality shine through.
- Be helpful and supportive. People are more likely to want to help you if you’re willing to help them first.
- Follow up. Don’t just connect with someone and then never talk to them again. Make an effort to stay in touch and build relationships.
Knowing How to Prioritize
Knowing how to prioritize is a key factor that can significantly contribute to success in business. Successful business owners understand the value of allocating their time and resources wisely. They recognize that not all tasks hold the same level of importance or urgency.
Sharon Sanders, Co-Founder of Philadelphia Weekly, stresses the significance of mastering the skill of prioritization in entrepreneurial leadership. She emphasizes the importance of understanding which tasks require personal attention and which can be delegated to others within the organization.
Here are a few tips for prioritizing your tasks:
- List all of your tasks. The first step is to get a clear picture of everything that needs to be done. Once you have a list, you can start to prioritize.
- Determine the importance and urgency of each task. Not all tasks are created equal. Some are more important than others, and some are more urgent than others. Use this information to determine which tasks should be done first.
- Set deadlines for each task. Deadlines will help you to stay on track and to avoid procrastination.
- Delegate tasks whenever possible. If you have the ability to delegate tasks, this can free up your time so that you can focus on the most important ones.
Other Leadership Skills for Entrepreneurs
- Vision: Entrepreneurs need to have a clear vision for their business. They need to be able to articulate this vision to their team and inspire them to work towards it.
- Communication: Entrepreneurs need to be able to communicate effectively with their team, their customers, and their investors. They need to be able to clearly and concisely explain their ideas and get buy-in from others.
- Problem-solving: Entrepreneurs need to be able to solve problems quickly and effectively. They need to be able to think outside the box and come up with creative solutions.
- Coaching: Entrepreneurs need to be able to coach their team members. They need to be able to provide feedback, guidance, and support so that their team members can reach their full potential.
- Humility: Entrepreneurs need to be humble. They need to be willing to listen to feedback, learn from their mistakes, and give credit where credit is due.
Leadership Styles: A Guide to Choosing the Right One
There are many different leadership styles, and the best one for you will depend on your personality, the situation, and the people you are leading. Here is a guide to choosing the right leadership style for you:
Makes all the decisions and gives orders
|- Quick decisions|
- Clear expectations
|- Potential low morale |
or resentment - Limits creativity and innovation
Involves team members in decision-making
|- Increased ownership among members |
- Higher acceptance of decision
- Potential conflict due to differing ideas
Gives team members a lot of autonomy
|- Trust and empowerment |
- Skill development for members
|- Potential chaos and confusion |
- Difficult to hold team members accountable
Inspires and motivates team members
|- Increased engagement |
- Commitment to exceed expectations
|- Development may present |
challenges - Not all team members are
motivated by the same things
Sets clear expectations and rewards team members
|- Clear expectations |
- Clear performance evaluations
|- Perceptions of being insincere |
- Risk of complacency
Here are some tips for choosing the right leadership style:
- Be flexible: No one leadership style is perfect for every situation. Be prepared to adjust your style as needed.
- Be aware of your own strengths and weaknesses: What are you good at? What do you need to improve on? Knowing yourself will help you choose the right style.
- Be aware of the situation: What are the goals of the team? What are the skills and abilities of the team members? What are the challenges facing the team? Understanding the situation will help you choose the right style.
- Be aware of the people: What are their personalities? What are their motivations? What are their needs? Understanding the people will help you choose the right style.
Frequently Asked Questions About Leadership Skills for Entrepreneurs
1. Why are leadership skills important for entrepreneurs?
Leadership skills are crucial for entrepreneurs as they play a key role in driving the success of their businesses. Effective leadership enables entrepreneurs to make informed decisions, navigate challenges, inspire their teams, and create a positive and productive work culture. It helps entrepreneurs effectively manage resources, build strong relationships, and adapt to the ever-changing business landscape.
2. Can leadership skills be learned?
Yes, leadership skills can be learned and developed over time. While some individuals may naturally possess certain leadership qualities, everyone has the potential to enhance their leadership skills through education, training, and hands-on experience. Continuous learning, self-reflection, seeking feedback, and actively practicing leadership behaviors can contribute to the growth and improvement of one’s leadership abilities.
3. Can leadership skills vary for different types of entrepreneurs or industries?
Yes, leadership skills can vary depending on the nature of the business and the industry in which an entrepreneur operates. Different industries may require specific expertise or knowledge, and the leadership style that works well in one industry may not be as effective in another. Additionally, the leadership skills needed for a small startup may differ from those required for managing a large organization.
4. How can leadership skills contribute to the success of an entrepreneur?
Leadership skills are instrumental in driving the success of an entrepreneur. Effective leadership enables entrepreneurs to set a clear vision, inspire their team members, and align everyone towards common goals. It helps in making strategic decisions, managing resources efficiently, and fostering a positive and productive work environment. Strong leadership skills also contribute to building trust, fostering innovation, attracting top talent, and creating a culture of continuous growth and improvement within the organization.
5. Can entrepreneurs be effective leaders without formal leadership training?
Yes, entrepreneurs can be effective leaders without formal leadership training. While formal training can provide valuable knowledge and insights, practical experience, self-learning, and continuous improvement are equally important in developing leadership skills. Entrepreneurs can learn from real-world challenges, seek guidance from mentors, and actively cultivate their leadership abilities through hands-on experience.
6. Can entrepreneurs possess different leadership styles?
Yes, entrepreneurs can possess different leadership styles. Leadership styles vary based on an individual’s personality, values, and preferred approach to leading others. The most effective leadership style depends on the business’s needs, the team dynamics, and the entrepreneur’s ability to adapt their style to different situations.
We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the experts who generously shared their valuable insights and expertise on leadership skills. Their wisdom and experiences have shed light on the importance of these skills in the entrepreneurial journey.
As you continue your entrepreneurial journey, we encourage you to take proactive steps in further developing your leadership skills. Seek out learning opportunities, engage with mentors and industry experts, and practice these skills in your daily interactions. Remember, leadership skills are not static; they can be honed and improved over time through continuous learning and application.
With Skill Success All Access Pass, you’ll have access to a wealth of knowledge and resources to enhance your entrepreneurial skills and drive your business forward.