It's actually rare that one innately possesses both the abilities of an entrepreneur and those of an outstanding leader. The entrepreneur builds the vehicle; a leader builds the superhighway on which it travels. The very rare entrepreneurial leader changes our world. There is no better or best; we need visionaries as well as people who masterfully build a following and execute the vision.
Entrepreneurs who are not natural-born leaders can still succeed, but they must learn to surround themselves with the right people and build their leadership muscles. Too often, an entrepreneur dances with failure because he or she doesn't think like a leader.
Here are a few of the telltale signs that you're not a natural-born leader. But don't fret--there are many ways to improve your leadership skills.
1. You started your business because you'd rather not be around people.
Leaders attract and develop the troops to lead; entrepreneurs often feel comfortable being alone in their mission. This works (to some extent) for solopreneurs, but a successful entrepreneur doesn't go it alone. Many introverted entrepreneurs do well in partnership with someone who enjoys being in a public role. And remember that, unlike in a corporate setting, you get to choose the people who are associated with your business. It's much easier to be around people you admire and respect.
2. You make well-intentioned promises and struggle to fulfill them.
Leaders keep their promises, not only out of a strong sense of integrity, but because they have the people in place to carry them out. Entrepreneurs are excited by opportunities and may not always consider the time and effort it takes to follow through on their promises. They don't always have the support they need in place. Make sure to pull back from these situations long enough to consider your reality before making any promises.
3. You don't take very good care of yourself.
Many entrepreneurs who are busy running their business fall into the trap of putting themselves last. Leaders understand that if they don't eat well and exercise, they are not setting a good example and won't maintain the energy to lead. In the long run, you'll find more time and energy to devote to your business if you stay healthy.
4. You neglect to spend quality time with family and friends.
Entrepreneurs with underdeveloped leadership abilities often tend to jeopardize important relationships. This is partially due to a lack of systems and support, but also to an inability to live in the present moment. A strong leader not only values personal relationships but also places a strong emphasis on developing relationships at all levels. She is fully engaged in the presence of others.
5. You don't understand what your employees want.
I see entrepreneurs who are quite confused by their employees' lack of motivation. This is usually because the entrepreneur doesn't know how to inspire employees and recognize their efforts in a meaningful manner.
Entrepreneurs are inspired; leaders inspire others. They are able to put themselves in the shoes of another and recognize what people want and need to feel inspired and motivated. While financial rewards may resonate with some, words and actions are more important to others.
Avoid a one-size-fits-all approach to being a boss. Ask employees what inspires and motivates them and customize your recognition accordingly. Don't worry about being overwhelmed by too many sets of varying needs. There are only a few likely categories: money, words of praise (figure out if they need public or private praise), acts of kindness, and gifts.