Here are some of the key shifts I believe an entrepreneur needs to make in order to move toward becoming a true leader in his or her organization:
- An entrepreneur’s essence is stability. A leader’s is change.
- An entrepreneur is focused on managing work. A leader focuses on leading other people.
- Entrepreneurs have subordinates. Leaders have followers.
- Entrepreneurs look to the short-term. Leaders look to the long-term.
- Entrepreneurs seek objectives. Leaders seek vision.
- Entrepreneurs plan in detail. Leaders set a direction.
- Entrepreneurs make decisions. Leaders facilitate them.
- An entrepreneur’s power comes from formal authority. A leader’s power is through personal charisma.
- Entrepreneurs appeal to the head. Leaders appeal to the heart.
- Entrepreneurs have controlled energy. Leaders are passionate.
- Entrepreneurs are reactive. Leaders are proactive.
- Entrepreneurs persuade by telling. Leaders persuade by selling.
- An entrepreneur’s style is transactional. A leader’s is transformational.
- Entrepreneurs work for money. Leaders work for excitement.
- Entrepreneurs want results. Leaders want achievement.
- Entrepreneurs minimize risks. Leaders take risks.
- Entrepreneurs avoid conflict. Leaders use it.
- Entrepreneurs use existing roads. Leaders find new roads.
- Entrepreneurs utilize established truths. Leaders seek new truths.
- Entrepreneurs are concerned with being right. Leaders are concerned with what is actually right.
- Entrepreneurs take credit. Leaders give credit.
- Entrepreneurs pass the blame. Leaders take the blame.
Of course, this list is based on generalities and not every entrepreneur or leader falls into these buckets without exception. But it does give you a general idea of how the two mind sets might look at things. An entrepreneur is not focused on people as much as getting the job done. They have an idea and want to see it executed. That works well to a certain level, and in my experience that point seems to come when the company grows to around 10 people. After that, some change is required to take things to the next level.
In the next installment I’ll write about people, and what we need to do to be sure the people on our team are as engaged as they can be. That requires leadership, which is why it is important that we begin here.