What is Entrepreneurial Leadership?

What is Entrepreneurial Leadership?

Why is An Entrepreneurial Leader Good for Business?

We’ve all met one: a boss, a leader, a colleague who made us feel motivated, energised and just ready to take on anything. The kind of person who would walk into a room, turn a seemingly insurmountable situation into an exciting challenge and take you with them on that journey. What made them special? Where did this amazing energy come from? At Imagine Beyond, that’s what we call entrepreneurial leadership.

We’ve spent a lot of time exploring what goes into making an entrepreneurial leader. We don’t think it’s something you have or don’t have: we believe everyone has some of the traits and qualities needed to become a great entrepreneurial leader.

Below is our take on what this means, and how you can go about making this happen for yourself, for your people, and for your business.

Entrepreneurial Leadership: What It Is Not

When discussing Entrepreneurial Leadership with our clients, we often have to start by dispelling a few myths. Let’s be honest, when thinking of entrepreneurs, the likes of Steve Jobs or Elon Musk come to mind. But leadership isn’t just about ambition or a pioneering vision. Some of us who worked with great visionaries may not have enjoyed the experience. In fact, we’ve discovered that most entrepreneurial leadership training courses solely focus on the business side of things.

At Imagine Beyond, we believe Entrepreneurial Leadership needs to go much further than revenue generation, which is why we’ve added people mastery as one of our main programme outputs. We think the best leaders are authentic ones: they act with purpose, and genuinely care about the wellbeing, development and happiness of their employees. This is what makes them the kind of people others want to work for.

What Is Entrepreneurial Leadership?

Entrepreneurial Leadership takes the most relevant qualities to come out of the entrepreneurial mindset and applies them to finding new ways to add value, for the business, for its employees and for its customers. When faced with difficult situations, entrepreneurial leaders have the ability to take a problem and turn it into an opportunity, and to galvanise their people in the process.

Think of The Dots, a creative professional networking site set up by Pip Jamieson, Founder and CEO, and its innovative hub “Opportunities for Ukraine”. The site is putting its platform to good use by facilitating connections between Ukrainians and UK-based businesses who are able to offer career advice, job opportunities, coaching and other useful resources.

Can Anyone Be an Entrepreneurial Leader?

In short, yes. Imagine Beyond has identified the 12 main traits that make an entrepreneurial leader, and all of us possess at least a few. It’s not about being born a leader: it’s about making a deliberate effort to lean into whichever qualities we have, shifting our mindset and trying not to fall back into our old tried-and-trusted managerial habits. “It’s like a muscle,” says Claire Koryczan, Founder and Director at Imagine Beyond. “You need to identify the traits you want to develop, and work on making them stronger a little bit every day.”

What are the Traits of Entrepreneurial Leaders?

There are, of course, more than 12 traits that make a good leader. However, in our experience, we have established that the ones on the shortlist below have the most impact. Here are the 12 essential traits of entrepreneurial leaders and how they can generate business value, as well as employee motivation and satisfaction:

  • Curiosity: being open to explore new ways of doing things or potential new solutions to a problem.
  • Innovation: adopting a growth mindset and always looking to make things better.
  • Making things happen: acting as a catalyst for change and generating action.
  • Tenacity: not giving up, especially when the going gets tough!
  • Creativity: coming up with new approaches to problem solving, and fostering a culture of creativity within the organisation.
  • Focus: putting efforts and attention into the most pressing issue, rather than trying to control several fires at once.
  • Seizing opportunities: turning challenges into valuable business opportunities.
  • Agility: not getting stuck, being able to move quickly and being flexible enough to support the needs of other team members.
  • Customer centricity: putting the customer, whether they are internal or external, at the core of everything they do.
  • Self-belief: setting off on a path with the knowledge they will succeed in reaching their goals, even when things don’t go exactly to plan.
  • Courage: not choosing the easy way, and carrying on even in the face of fear or uncertainty.
  • Experimentation: not being scared to try new things, learning from the results, and applying the learnings to the next iteration.

That’s a lot to ask of someone, right? “You don’t need to have all of them at once!” says Claire. “We all have one or several of these traits. It’s about learning to bring them to the forefront, trying new things, experimenting and challenging ourselves, rather than simply sticking to what we know,” she adds.

Why Should You Develop an Entrepreneurial Leadership Mindset?

There are so many benefits to having entrepreneurial leaders within an organisation. First and foremost, it ensures its employees are motivated and focused, working with passion towards a meaningful purpose. Second, it future proofs the business. With authentic, purposeful and empathetic leaders at its helm, your organisation will be equipped to navigate uncertainty, attract great people and seize opportunities other organisations may not see. When it’s time to sink or swim, entrepreneurial leaders don’t just keep a business afloat, they give it a market-leading edge and take their people with them on the journey.

So how can you do this? Imagine Beyond can help. We will be publishing regular content so you can explore your Entrepreneurial Leadership side, give you concrete examples, tips and advice on how to become the kind of leader everyone wants to work for and businesses want to hire. In the meantime, keep experimenting and finding new approaches to the opportunities ahead. We’d love to hear your stories, good or bad!

Contact us to learn more about Entrepreneurial Leadership and our training programmes.

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