Traits of a Leader

5 Entrepreneurial Leadership Characteristics

Bill Thomas asked:

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.” – Abraham Lincoln, US-President, 1861-1865

In order to become a fully functioning, successful individual in whichever endeavor you choose to undertake, you must first cultivate the right attitude and behaviorial traits. No where else is this fact more true as than when we consider the dominant characteristics needed for entrepreneurial leadership.

There are effective executives and directors in many fields but most leadership development programs neither focus on increasing entrepreneurship nor do they employ innovative training methods. However, you can acquire, develop and robustly practice the requisite entrepreneurial leadership skills.

According to the late great management expert, Peter F. Drucker, “The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity. Innovation is the specific instrument of entrepreneurship. (It’s the entrepreneurial) act that endows resources with a new capacity to create wealth.”

Entrepreneur extraordinaire, Sir Richard Branson, explains why he changed his mind and became one because he originally “wanted to be an editor or a journalist, (and) I wasn’t really interested in being an entrepreneur, but I soon found I had to become (one) in order to keep my magazine going.”

So in a very real sense, Sir Richard, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and others like them already had attributes of the leadership mind-set and they were behaving in similar ways as leaders do too. If you hope to successfully initiate any commercial, governmental or public service undertaking, you will have to learn, exhibit and embrace the characteristics of entrepreneurial leadership.

What types of character traits do entrepreneurs have? Are those behaviors really important? In a word, these characteristics are important because if you don’t possess them, you will have lower chances in terms of business success. The characteristics are as follows

1. Risk Assessor – this very important aspect of entrepreneurship is probably the most misunderstood one of all. Many organizational executives are willing to take any risk which presents itself as a breakthrough or never-before-tried opportunity. But without taking the time and effort to thoroughly evaluate or explore the potential pitfalls of their new idea, they are not very likely to succeed in their venture. In the course of doing business, you will always encounter a number of challenges, problems and situations demanding your prompt attention, decision and resolution.

However, after careful evaluation there are many risks which are worth taking, especially if their variables can be examined and then worked out and if the majority of these uncertainties are determined to be good for the business. At those times, you must be willing to be a risk taker, otherwise you won’t be acting in an effective entrepreneurial leadership capacity.

2. Wise, Smart and Accepting of New Ideas – Most people believe being smart is all there is to being a successful executive – but wisdom, a willingness to learn new things and an acceptance of new realities and viewpoints are also necessary traits for winning in your entrepreneurial enterprise.

Of course, your cleverness, keen insights, and witty interactions with others will carry you far throughout your business dealings. Regardless of your position, today’s complex and pressure-packed situations compel you to demonstrate mental toughness, alertness of changing circumstances and intelligence about emerging trends. Those attributes will help you earn the respect and trust of your clients and all your associates or partners.

3. Executive Leadership Development – It still surprises me to hear someone say that leadership is just a talent some people are born with. Yes it is true that the raw ingredients and characteristics of leadership excellence can be hard to detect or find among any random or unorganized mass of individuals.

There are not many people who naturally have the kind of nerve it takes to lead. However, today’s innovative training programs easily empower large groups of ordinary people to learn, understand and adopt the proven fundamentals of entrepreneurial leadership principles, practices and discipline.

Your executive leadership skills will serve your venture when your personal qualities and behaviors help you guide, influence, manage and direct people. These abilities will enable you to handle your business affairs with greater ease and positive emotions.

4. An Inner Passion for Your Enterprise – One essential characteristic of successful entrepreneurs is the amount and scope of their enthusiastic, passionate zeal they have for their business. We have seen high levels of this emotional trait in many public service, governmental and commercial leaders who were also founding members of their organizations.

No executive leadership development or innovative training programs can “teach” you how to have an intense yearning and desire for your venture. You alone must have, maintain and increase your enthusiasm for and uncompromising interest in your business pursuits. When your drive, determination and passion reaches a fever pitch, you will be well on your way towards successfully operating and growing your business.

5. Honesty, Integrity, Trustworthy – Every organization is built and depends upon positive relationships. Some management experts say entrepreneurial leadership means dedicating and investing eighty percent (80%) of one’s time into developing, organizing and strengthening relations with associates, customers and other stakeholders.

As cinema director, Neil LaBute, observes, “In a relationship you have to open yourself up.” Every manager knows this is true because without being forthright, dealing sincerely with and providing access to your clients, the business will not go very far.

Your honesty, integrity and trustworthy nature will enable you to earn the loyalty, custom and good will of your community, buyers and sponsors and your colleagues.

Obviously, there are other characteristic and behavioral traits needed to ensure success in your entrepreneurial leadership activities. The five attributes listed above will help you handle most of your organizational responsibilities, duties and obligations.

These traits also form the basis for successful careers in any industry or profession. If, however, you can equip yourself with the means to improve your performance, some additional time spent in innovative training courses will put you over the top.

If you plan on using an executive leadership development program to sharpen your competence in these characteristics, all you’ll need to do is study market trends carefully, think of a few strategic options for your venture, provide the capital and you’ll be ready to take entrepreneurial leadership action.

“The real issue is not talent as an independent element, but talent in relationship to will, desire, and persistence. Talent without these things vanishes and even modest talent with those characteristics grows.” – Milton Glaser

Copyright © 2008, Mustard Seed Investments Inc., All rights reserved.


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