You’re the founder. It’s your baby. You believe you’ve got the vision, and the passion to attract the right business partners, talent and investors.
Founders can spring from anywhere. Perhaps you are the technical whizz, who found a faster, cheaper solution. The innovator, who has identified a new white space of market opportunity. An expert in your field, commercialising your skills. Or maybe you’re the disruptor, looking to challenge the bigger players? Regardless of experience and background all founders have one thing in common…you can’t succeed alone.
When faced with the challenge of building out the organisational structure of their business most founders focus on operations, commercial, product development or IT. Perhaps recruiting that expertise directly into the business, perhaps keeping things agile and contracting the work out. Regardless, as a founder it’s critical to take an honest look at yourself and your skillset. You need to possess the self-awareness and humility to recognise where you need help. Ask yourself where are you most valuable to the business? Who would complement or enhance your skills?
That’s what leadership is about, identifying what’s needed to achieve the vision and putting the right people in the right place, at the right time. Whilst you wouldn’t think twice about using a lawyer or accountant with their specific skills, very few founders think about the importance of enhancing or adapting their own leadership skills.
While traditional leaders in the past have relied on their charisma, communication skills and competence in the role to lead, the playing field has changed. There are now 4 key traits of successful leadership that need be dialled up to the max in today’s dynamic and uncertain environment.
- Results – the ability to get the right results using the right people, wherever they may be, the confidence to follow your gut instinct and stay strong and competitive in a fast-moving environment.
- Empathy – there has never been better time for empathetic leadership, the ability to put yourself in other people’s shoes, the desire to look after your team’s mental and physical wellbeing above all else.
- Authentic – again the time for authenticity is now, the pandemic has meant that people are looking for leadership they can trust, sincere leaders who treat everyone fairly and equally, ensuring your own behaviour always reflects your personal values.
- Learning – in these unprecedented times the rule book needs rewriting, the best leaders are learning as they go, adapting as necessary, but most importantly listening and learning from those all around them.
In other words, do you have the REAL leadership skills to grow your business?
So in summary, be self critical, ask others if necessary, but you must be aware of your personal strengths and weaknesses. The skills that got you to where you are today, are not necessarily what’s needed to lead your business to the next stage.
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