Entrepreneur’s Ultimate Checklist: #4 of 100

An entrepreneur once told me that she felt like firing her entire team on most days until she realized one day that the shortcoming may be in the way she was leading her team. I told her that I had doubted the survival of her business until then, but now that she has reached ‘Business Nirvana’, the success of her venture is almost assured.

To successfully execute your dreams, you need a team. A Leader inspires the team to perform while a Manager just manages them. As Antoine de Saint-Exupery said “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” In simpler terms, set a goal that will challenge & excite the team at the same time.

The Situational Leadership theory of Paul Hersey & Ken Blanchard propounds that there is no single “best” style of leadership. Successful leaders are those that adapt their leadership style to the maturity of their team members and the task, job or function that needs to be accomplished. e.g. the way you will guide a Sales executive for his first few sales will be very different from the way you will guide him after a handful of sales. Initially you will have to be more direct with what, how, why, when and where to do while later you will get involved with decision-making about aspects of how the task is accomplished.

Another key aspect of excellent leaders is that they are givers and not takers. They give help, support, guidance, training, coaching even without the team member asking for it. Excellent leaders also give their team members the resources & the tools that they need. They anticipate the need and ensure that the team members have access to physical resources like offices space & seats, hardware like computers & laptops, software like ERP & CRM that are required for the team to work together and achieve the goals.

And finally, all successful leaders do one thing very well: They communicate with their team.

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