Leadership Mistakes

Ever Heard of Entrepreneurial Leadership?

Marcia Granger asked:

As I observe some young people on a course on entrepreneurship today, I am inspired to write about strong leaders who are, in fact, lifetime students.


So what are Entrepreneurial leaders?  The first point is linked to mindset: 

Entrepreneurial leaders do not have a mindset that adapts to failure. 

Things go wrong, of course, but entrepreneurs don’t call

them “failures” they call them “glitches, mistakes, bungles,

setbacks” – but not failing.  The more positive of us, see these ‘setbacks’ as ‘opportunities for development’.


When a positive mindset entrepreneur is asked about the hardest decision he or she ever had to make, the answer is often not even being aware of what a hard decision looks like!


An entrepreneurial leader will approach decision-making with the idea that there’s a strong likelihood that he/she will be wrong. This doesn’t dissuade them; far from it! They just

do the best they can and worry about handling obstacles as they arise.


Another way of looking at it is to realise that you will make mistakes, so make them as quickly as you can in order to learn from them. A good leader doesn’t view making mistakes as negative or irrevocable.  He/she feels free to press on and try something new. There is the belief that something useful has been learned, and hopefully not at a high cost.


Let’s face it; if you’re going to live this life you’re going to make mistakes. Make use of them as learning tools and don’t make the same ones twice.


The second point is about being ‘tuned in’.  What do I mean?  Entrepreneurs also know the value of “intuition”.


While you shouldn’t act on the results of tossing a coin, there is something to be said about your “gut” feeling about the situation. Very often business people become so involved with systems and checks-and-balances that they forget about that “gut” instinct they had when they started.  As the saying goes, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.


While not strictly logical, intuition does draw on a combination of experience, knowledge, and analysis as well as a lot of “gut” information you may have forgotten that you have.


You become a strong leader in your business by “practicing” being a leader. It’s not a course you can take at a business college; it’s learned in the school of life as you’re doing



Leadership behaviour is also a key factor.  As a leader, you have to set standards and higher standards for your own behaviour. You must do this because appearances are sometimes more important that facts.  At the weekend we were discussing what happens when a solo entrepreneur or owner of a small business cannot deliver what he/she has said she can in a given timeframe.  A friend of mine offered the suggestion that there is not a willingness to scam – simply an inability by many to accurately assess the amount of time needed to complete a task like getting a dress made in time for a wedding or a cake delivered for a birthday party. So it is just about time and priority management and working effectively in your business?


Let’s consider this:  to protect that faith that your people and your customers have in your company or service, always ask yourself these two questions:


1. Could this be interpreted by anyone in a way that would shake their faith in my leadership or my ability to deliver?


2. Could this be misinterpreted and held against me or the company?


Strong leaders know that leadership is a lifelong learning experience, and when they make a mistake they simply continue to move forward albeit by learning from their mistakes.


The ability to bounce back is a quality that every entrepreneur I’ve ever known, has in abundance.


When you blunder, get up and try again quickly. As one high-tech executive I know put it, “Our strategy is to fail forward fast.”


To your continued success!


Marcia Granger

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