Leadership Insights

Once you have more than 10 employees, you must adopt leadership and management skills as an entrepreneur. This means amongst other things that you define measurable objectives for the business and make people accountable.

Great leaders have great visions. First of all a vision for themselves. They know exactly where they want to be in the future. Define this Vision for yourself in a compelling statement and share it with the community here if you like.

As a leader, you want to create your vision. A Vision starts with the words „I am“ and is always present tense. An example would be „I run a company that is admired for being the best employer in our country“. To create your vision use a blank sheet of paper and write down everything you want to be and the value you want to create for others. Once you’ve done that, do the same for your company.

Great entrepreneur leaders know the WHY, WHAT, FOR WHOM, and HOW of their existence. They are on a clearly defined mission.

Great entrepreneur leaders translate their mission into measurable objectives with a deadline.

Once you have more than 10 employees, you must adopt leadership and management skills as an entrepreneur. This means amongst other things that you define measurable objectives for the business and make people accountable.

Whilst the founder is part of the team, the leader is not anymore. He or she sets the direction.

Leaders keep their distance. They are not part of the founding team anymore.

Founders who want to become leaders, stop doing things themselves. They delegate, monitor, and correct instead.

Founders who want to become leaders, display consistency in their decisions and don’t allow too many exceptions.

As a founder and entrepreneur, you know that you’ll have to work on your management skills when you feel overwhelmed by all your tasks and when your team tells you that you need to change. Acknowledge it and look for good support.

If as an entrepreneur you are looking for a leadership coach, choose someone who has managed teams in small companies before and who has made a few mistakes (and admits that he has).

As an entrepreneur looking for a leadership coach, don’t choose the classical coach with a degree who’s asking question all the time and lets you find the answers. This approach has its justification in other situations, but as an entrepreneur you just don’t have the time.

Leaders do the right things based on their direction, values, truths, and beliefs that they have written down.

Your leadership coach must understand the world of a startup. Grey hair corporate guys will not get it!

To keep shareholder commitment high, show continuous progress. If there is a backlash, communicate openly, analyse, and present the way forward.

Before you run after sales opportunities that always take longer than expected to close, keep your cost to a minimum.

One symptom that you as a leader will recognise when you need external help is when you feel not only swamped with work, but also overwhelmed.

When your team tells you that you’re not available, start changing your behaviour from doing to leading and managing.

Leadership means motivating others AND YOURSELF to follow you in order to achieve a goal or destination.

Whereas leadership is about effectiveness (doing the right things), management is about efficicency (doing things right).

True leadership starts with leading yourself. Lead yourself first, then lead others.

Keep in mind that as an entrepreneur, you are not only leading employees. You must also lead stakeholders, co-founders, bankers, or business partners. They all need a different kind of approach. So the whole things starts with empathy.

Today’s Leadership Insight For Entrepreneurs Leading yourself means concentrating on important tasks, rather than urgent ones.

Today’s Leadership Insight For Entrepreneurs Steve Jobs was right. A compelling vision is the basis of great leadership. I couldn’t agree more.

Today’s Leadership Insight For Entrepreneurs Total clarity is a necessity for every leader. Don’t blur your messages just because they might be unpleasant for others.

As a leader you must be physically strong. So, make sure you do enough sports, eat and drink well, and rest regularly.

Leaders embrace moments of truth when you have to defend your position, communicate something unpleasant, or simply get across that you’re not prepared to discuss your point of view. Moments of truth are opportunities to grow as a leader.

Leaders do not want to be liked. They want to be respected.

As a leader you can’t please everybody. Love it or leave it.

In a team that has more than 5 or 10 people, there will always be people who disagree with your decision. Discuss, decide, and, if necessary, agree to disagree and act.

Constant harmony is the enemy of progress. Embrace conflict.

Motivation has one of these two sources: you want to get somewhere or you want to escape from somewhere. Help your team achieve one of these aspirations and they will be motivated.

One source of your team’s motivation is your trust in them.

Don’t confuse trust with naiveté.

Trust is one important trigger to motivate your team

To motivate your team, delegate tasks that stretch them. Ask them to „bite off a little more than they think they can chew“.

Match the challenges you delegate to the individual strengths of the team members.

Great leaders listen first and then speak.

If we take football (soccer) as a metaphor, a start-up leader should be a team manager, rather than a coach. The simple reason is that there’s no time for coaching.

Most job descriptions miss one thing. When hiring, make sure that the job description contains the most most important thing you want that person to achieve.

When hiring take at least 5 references to get a differentiated picture of the candidate. Make sure that the relationships with the candidate are manifold.

If you’re not burning for your mission every day, your team won’t be motivated either.

Sometimes it's important to be tough. Otherwise, your sensitivity can be interpreted as weakness.

Do what you must do so that you can do what you’re meant to do.

One mistake you must avoid when hiring people, is to ignore you gut feel.

Do something that really matters.

Ask yourself what is really important to reach your targets and then define only one thing per month, per week, and per day that you need to achieve.

Share successes AND failures with people.

The good people you didn’t hire will less harm to your business than the bad one’s you didn’t fire.

You need talented, committed, and knowledgeable people, but above all you need loyalty.

Your vision should always be formulated in present tense, start with “We are…” or “I am”, and be very short.

When your team is small, don’t rush into hiring someone if you’re not absolutely sure that there’s a great match. In small teams wrong hires can have disastrous effects.

Accept to be alone. Learn not to be lonely.

The only way to lose fear is to go through the fear.

“Leadership is hard to define and good leadership even harder. But if you can get people to follow you to the ends of the earth, you are a great leader.” – Indra Nooyi

Be committed to your team. Help them develop their skills and talents.

One way to avoid burnout is to focus. Ask yourself: what is really the most important now to reach my current most important goal.

“Time spent understanding people is never wasted.” — Cate Huston

To help your team overcome obstacles, overcome obstacles yourself.

Founders solve problems themselves. Leaders put in the systems to avoid them.

Why do some entrepreneurs have problems to manage? Some reasons are: lack of goals, lack of plan, lack of organisation, lack of control. The central reason though is lack of habit.

Be kind and don’t accept excuses.

Anyone can be great because anyone can serve. (Martin Luther King)

Realise you aren’t always right.

Persuasion is better than order, but sometimes order is the last exit.

The backbone of a successful meeting is an agenda.

What‘s bad for your ego, is good for your soul.

In times of crisis, everyone has to go the extra mile. No matter which generation (X, Y, Z etc) he or she is.

Without intrinsic motivation, there no sustainable success

Trust is a central element to motivate people. But trust is not a given. It must be earned.

Give your team the possibility to bite off more than they think you can chew; something slightly beyond their capacity.

Once you’ve delegated a task, give your team confidence; make them strong.

If you want to really understand your team, ask open questions to make them speak.

When leading a team, be their manager rather than their coach.