To successfully lead a business, startup founders must show certain qualities, such as strong communication skills, empathy and work ethic, that identify them as leaders.
There are some common traits that identify successful startups, and one of the secret ingredients is the positive and strong leadership that underlies a business.
A charismatic, confident and creative leader definitely makes the difference in the success of a company.
What is leadership?
Let’s start saying that not all managers are leaders. In the business dictionary the term “leadership” refers to the activity and ability of leading a group of people or organisation.
Being a leader means having the ability to communicate, provide support, inspire, encourage and motivate all team members to work towards the company’s goals. A leader knows how to communicate in the right way and shows a high level of empathy.
Leaders develop skills, direct behaviours and influence attitudes.
According to the “Bankwest Future of Business Leadership Report 2017", inspirational leaders act with integrity, are trustworthy and they know how to communicate effectively.
The report also lists some tips to becoming an effective startup leader:
- Communicate with employees openly and frequently.
- Seek and acknowledge feedback from all stakeholders.
- Demonstrate a strong work ethic.
- Maintain the employee well-being.
- Forward planning.
- have a clear vision: they know in what they believe and where they want to go with their ideas. They involve the team in the company's journey definition and direction;
- are driven by a big passion: as Steve Jobs said, following a dream is hard, often exhausting and if not driven by a strong passion it’s impossible to succeed;
- are honest: they are transparent and people follow them because they believe and trust their opinion;
- inspire people: with ambitious goals and they help team members to find their right place in the project;
- have good communication skills: they inform the team about all what happens and, even more important, they are able to listen.
- are unique: they think and face problems in a peculiar way, that’s what makes them so special.
The “2016 McQuaig Global Talent Recruitment Report” from The McQuaig Institute, found out that for Australians and New Zealanders, good leaders have the ability to empower others, build trust and they are strategic thinkers.
In an interview for Forbes, Richard Branson reveals the three activities that characterise successful leaders:
- Listening, to learn from the others.
- Learning, from the most inspiring and inspired people.
- Laughing, to enjoy what you are doing. If you don’t enjoy what you are doing, you will probably fail.
Everyone has a different way to define what a good leader is; however, empathy, passion and good communication skills are essential features to drive a company towards greater success.