Being in a position of leadership is tough. No matter what you’re doing—running a business, leading a team, investing in real estate, or calling the shots in some other area of life—leading isn’t for the faint of heart.
There are a few life experiences that I can say with confidence help your ability to lead well. Fatherhood definitely shapes you in ways that few other things can. You learn a lot of patience and love that way. But beyond the very personal experience of raising a human being, I think the experience of being an entrepreneur can teach us all a lot about being a good leader.
Entrepreneurs tend to venture out on their own. They have ideas and startups. They freelance. They work hard to bring their dreams to life. Typically, they’re not the ladder-climbing type. But entrepreneurial experience, regardless of the field, can be enormously beneficial for any role of leadership: and I’ll tell you why.
4 Ways an Entrepreneurial Mindset Makes Great Leaders
1) You always entertain the possibilities.
Entrepreneurs are people with dreams. They have ambitions. They have it whether or not they’re in positions of power or leadership. Because of that, they’re willing to work with ideas, explore possibilities, and find the possible in the seemingly impossible.
They get creative, get up when they’re knocked down, and have the tenacity to make it through. Entrepreneurial leaders encourage thought, exploration, and innovation: and from that, they get teams that take ownership of bigger ideas and better solutions.
2) You care about outcomes.
Whether you’re an entrepreneur starting a business, developing an app or program, or even writing a book, something you realize early on is that you work has your name on it. You care about something a lot more when you name is attached to it! You want things to be good. Not only because of a name but because entrepreneurs pour everything they have into their projects.
So when it comes time to lead, you know that they’re going to care about outcomes. They’re going to want to see things done right: they’re used to having a lot ride on the success of a project!
You can bet that any good entrepreneur knows the value of diligence, and that’s a trait that every leader should learn.
3) You embrace risk.
Risk is an inevitable part of any entrepreneur’s life. Some people have a higher tolerance for risk than others, but at some point, we learn that risk has a direct relationship with reward. Entrepreneurs know that lesson better than anyone! But where exactly does risk fit into leadership? The decisions you make to trust your team, to move on a project, to let others deal with anything: these are all risks. Good leaders don’t let fear about money, security, or time stop them from taking calculated risks for the good of their businesses.
4) You maintain a sense of urgency.
Time is the only thing in our lives that can’t be bought, borrowed, or won back. The entrepreneurial mindset is all about maximizing the effectiveness of our time. For leaders, there has to be a sense of energy and urgency to rally our teams to action.
How can we get anything done—or expect anything to be done—if our time is not taken seriously? As leaders, being efficient in our own time, our own projects, and our own lives is something that should spill over and inspire those around us into action.
5) You value your reputation.
Lastly, entrepreneurs value their reputations. Because they’re used to working alone or in small teams, they know how much they have to carry—and how much will be on them if things go wrong. They’re going to be the ones answering to clients, investors, and partners at the end of the day. In a role of leadership, that means they’re going to be the type to take up responsibility and encourage ownership.
Ultimately, a spirit of entrepreneurship brings a sense of duty and creativity to leadership that everyone benefits from.
What life experiences do you think shape great leaders? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.