Connect with us

Leading

Lead From Where You Are

The roadmap of entrepreneurship starts with a great idea of a desired future state.

Dirk Coetsee

Published

on

business-leadership

“People use the terms Management and Leadership interchangeably. This shows that they do not see the crucial difference between the two and the vital functions that each role plays.” – John Kotter


In general, there is a strong focus on Leadership at the start of an Entrepreneurs’ journey. Leadership is about being future directed and aligning action to an inspiring Vision. The roadmap of entrepreneurship starts with a great idea of a desired future state.

Unfortunately, and in general as the stressors related to a desire to perform or to preventing failure increases, the prevailing tendency is to over focus on the day to day operations at the expense of future direction.

Related: Women Who Lead: Bonnie Cooper And Esna Colyn On Wearing The Mantle Of Leadership

Your venture as an entrepreneur gradually becomes more and more exposed to the risk of becoming irrelevant when you over focus on day to day operations as you neglect to avail yourself of changes in the industry, developing a sustainable culture, and fail to offer an inspiring future direction and strategy to your team.

Leadership is not management. Both are needed to meet the ever challenging and changing business environment in which we operate. Most companies are over-managed and under-led resulting in a strong focus on analysis, performance management, the here and now, and less time spent on inspiring the workforce towards a desired future state.  For sustained success both Leadership and management is required but the focus should shift to strong Leadership to remain valid.

The visible proof of a team being over-managed and under-led usually is the result of a team being de-motivated by a constant focus on tasks and performance evaluations yet rarely being exposed to and engaged in a motivating and energetic environment.

Leadership is not a title or a position. By your actions, you either give a title meaning or by not living up to your title you take away the meaning of it. Having the title of CEO, COO, or whatever it may be does not imply that you are a leader, by your actions you demonstrate if you are worthy of your title and being called a leader or not.

The wrong internal dialogue, for example, “I cannot be a leader because I am just a cleaner”, or “I do not have the charisma to be a leader”, stunts your growth as a person and makes it impossible to lead. When a person comes to the realisation of the fact that anyone can lead irrespective of their position or title and acts accordingly, the wonderful journey to the actualisation of their potential has started.

Leadership is future directed towards a common and mutually desired Purpose and Vision. Leadership is the ability to create more leaders and inspiring them through your own actions as a Visionary.

Related: How To Be A Great Leader When Leadership Doesn’t Come Naturally To You

leadership-techniques

The writer asks the reader to challenge the voice saying: “I cannot Lead” by asking: “Who told you so?” It is ourselves entertaining and then believing such negative talk, we are to blame. Leadership starts with a firm decision to be a leader followed by consistent action congruent with the term leadership.

Leadership and culture are two sides of the same coin. True Leaders spend a vast amount of time on creating a positively challenging environment wherein people feel worthy and validated and eager to face the challenges at hand.

What do the great leaders do? They create energy by inspiring others. They act bravely and venture outside of their comfort zones to show to others that it is possible to do so. They stay level headed in times of crises, and sincerely praises the team in times of peak performance.

True Leaders act with integrity according to the values of the company. They are excited by and cannot mention the Vision and values of their company enough.

Leaders tend to notice those “small wins” achieved, that collectively and over time can result in “big wins” and celebrate it. Visionaries are not afraid to ask for help or be mentored as they know that nobody can achieve something amazing and lasting totally by themselves.

Leaders never stop learning and growing. True leaders coach and mentor others in a sincere way and leave other leaders behind. When you act on the above you are a leader irrespective of your position.

Management in general is a focus on the daily operations of the business. Constantly analysing the key metrics of the business and aligning processes and the behaviour of the team to improve the results of the business. This is a very necessary function and cannot be underestimated. Even when a great leader is present but poor management processes and systems prevail, the leader will most likely fail.

Can you be a Manager and Leader at the same time? The answer depends on the situation but yes, it is possible to both be a Manager and Leader. Both Leaders and managers are as successful as their team members are successful.

Related: Sorbet’s Ian Fuhr: Servant Leadership Personified

The above is merely theory. The following is offered as practical steps to grow the leadership capabilities of team members.

  • Deliberately analyse your team members’ leadership capabilities and potential every quarter.
  • Create an internal Leadership training program or ensure that there are training opportunities to develop the Leadership capabilities within your team. Do extensive research on this and ensure that your team has access to high quality Leadership training, coaching and mentoring.
  • Make it your mission to find ways to inspire individual team members. This can be very challenging especially in larger organisations where people can easily become a number. Train your managers to find ways to inspire others.
  • Ensure that there is always an element of inspiration contained within meetings. What stops you from starting a meeting with a short yet very inspiring video? What stops you from sharing an inspiring story during a meeting?
  • Inspire others during your presentations with great story telling and true examples of great leadership behaviour.
  • Share your passion for the Vision and values of the company and behave accordingly.
  • Remove the sole focus on numbers in your company newsletters and start focussing on culture, inspirational success stories, and this great Vision that you hold so dear.
  • Always ask yourself after meetings- How did I make my team feel after this meeting? Before meetings always ask: “What can I say and do during this meeting to inspire my team?
  • Ensure that the day to day management of your business does not suffer due to an over focus on Leadership. At the same time ensure that your team does not become de-motivated by an over focus on management and lack of inspiration. Slowly but surely find this balance.

All the above should not be the final steps nor the only steps that could be employed to ensure a stronger and sustainable servant leadership culture. Your strategy and culture must be scrutinised regularly and the right questions must be asked to assess if you are on the right track.

Dirk Coetsee is a Business Leadership coach for start-ups and established entrepreneurs. He is also qualified Master Life coach and assists individuals to get “unstuck” in their lives and careers.You can contact Dirk at: dirk@dirkcoetseeglobal.com

Entrepreneur Today

Business Leadership: Leading A Culturally Diverse Business Team

The question every successful business leader needs to consider – How do we collectively experience joy and manage and/or avoid suffering as a business and as a team?

Dirk Coetsee

Published

on

culturally-diverse-workplace-staff

As I witnessed the rain dancing against the window panes of the Mega mall in Midvalley, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia I started reflecting on how to lead a culturally diverse business team.

Thousands of Malay, Chinese, Japanese, and Europeans passed me in the hallways of this gargantuan construction and the Dalai Lamas’ wise words reminded me that at the core of it all, irrespective of what your nationality is or what your belief system is, in general:

“We all want to experience joy and avoid suffering”

A key question that every team leader should carefully consider is how do we collectively experience joy and manage and/or avoid suffering as a business and as a team?

How can we as a diverse team be united in the joys of experiencing an expanding and successful business with a wonderful and constructive culture and avoid the suffering of a failing business and the negative experience of a toxic culture?  These are of course ‘loaded’ questions because inherent within these questions are the birthing of other key challenges –

How can we as Leaders create a relatively stable and inspirational environment from within which it is easier for each individual to unlock their vast potential when vast differences in upbringing, schooling, world views, and religious beliefs exists within one team. Especially when considering the ever changing and evolving business environment within which we operate?

Fulfilling the role of a Business Leadership coach, trainer, or life coach as the situation demanded over several years I have coached, Lead, or trained Pilipino, Chinese, Malay, African, and European people. A very key learning from my experiences is that a “cross cultural and shared understanding” can be created that transcends any spoken language or any national culture.

Related: Leadership – Lead Your Team To Dizzying Heights Of Productivity And Business Success

This common language and culture has many elements but for the purpose of this article I will focus on the three key aspects:

Have a united and focused purpose

When a united and focussed purpose exists for the business team that they collectively place higher than themselves the barriers of differences in upbringing, schooling, and world views can dissolve within their shared purpose. As business leaders we cannot refer to purpose too much, even more importantly that that, we must be living, walking and talking examples of the businesses’ purpose.

Related: Leadership: The Principle Of Authenticity

To simplify the concept of purpose it can be said that purpose is the highest intent for, or the very good reason why we do what we do. That reason is or should be even more important than ourselves. When we really love what we do and sincerely so our performance is likely to be very good, on the other hand if we totally dislike the line of business that we are in or totally despise our role within an entrepreneurial venture we are likely not going to unleash our unlimited potential.

It could be argued that the sole purpose for having a business is to make a profit. Through this article I argue that that is not a strong enough reason to sustain you and make you thrive even through difficult times. The strange thing is that when you truly live your purpose with all your might and tirelessly inspire your team to do the same the money comes anyway…

 Servant heart and attitude

Rabindranath TagoreRabindranath Tagore famously said:

“I dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold service was joy.”

A servant heart is universal and transcends cultural difference, a sincere and giving smile is a beautiful language of its own that needs no translation. If that ‘servant heart and smile’ is underpinned by well-developed people and technical skills it multiplies into a potent combination of character, experience, and wisdom that has great influential power within any culture.

Related: Leadership: What Is Your Why? (Read Purpose)

Whether it is through the use of interpreters, and even if it takes great patience, even when a lot of mistakes are made, persevere until everyone in the team understands that servant leadership is the key to winning the minds and hearts of others.

When all in the team becomes aware that we were only ever meant to master ourselves and thereby become better servants to all, this heightened awareness can unlock the unlimited potential within individuals in the team.

Respect for people and their worldviews

poet RumiMy favourite poet Rumi said:

‘The wound is where the light seeps in’

Respect all as we could not understand each individuals’ pain and hardships unless we went through it ourselves. Have compassion for all as we, in general expect compassion when we go through hardships. We can only imagine what sets of beliefs we would entertain where we to grow up in a completely different culture.

Related: Leadership: Honesty Is The First Chapter In The Book Of Wisdom

My endless curiosity and determination to learn has served me well as a coach for when your interest in others is sincere they tend to ‘open up’ to you and share and thereby you fasttrack your own learning and gain insights into your co-team members worldviews which in turn greatly enhances the team dynamics.

Be authentic and acknowledge your vulnerabilities, ‘wounds’ and shortcomings and be proud of your strengths for then your team members will help you to overcome your weaknesses and learn from your strengths.

Continue Reading

Leading

15 Ways To Command A Conversation Like A Boss

If you’re the one talking, it’s your responsibility to make sure others are listening.

Published

on

Prev1 of 16

business-conversation-skills

Conversations can elicit a range of emotions. They may be daunting, or they may be dreaded. They may be awkward, or they may be monotonous. The good news is, you, as a participant in any conversation, have more control than you think about whether these emotions overtake the dialogue.

Having a successful conversation is about striking the balance between preparedness and flexibility, between explaining your thoughts clearly and knowing when to pause or check in. It’s about being upfront about your preferences and ideas while being open to adapting them based on what comes of the discussion.

A fruitful conversation stems from establishing a rapport with someone. Show them you know where they’re coming from. Clarify that you understand what they’ve said. Be respectful of their time and don’t dictate back to them how you perceive them to be thinking or feeling. Keep questions open-ended. Experiment with new conversation settings or styles. And don’t give in to the internal voices that try to convince you to defer too much or suffer in silence.

To help you get your points across and help others convey theirs, read through the following 15 tips, which expand more on the ideas above.

Prev1 of 16

Continue Reading

Leading

Being A Born Entrepreneur Doesn’t Automatically Mean You’re A Born Leader

The person who has the vision to start a company might not be the person to grow the company.

William Harris

Published

on

born-leadership-skills

More often than not, we tend to think of entrepreneurship and leadership as synonymous qualities.

Entrepreneurs are expected to break new ground, be innovative, start something new. It only stands to reason they would naturally take charge of what they’ve created and lead it.

However, it turns out that the required skills of an effective entrepreneur are almost entirely different from the required skills of an effective leader. As many CEOs of growing companies can tell you, there’s a vast difference between creating a business and growing one.

One of the primary reasons great entrepreneurs including Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Henry Ford were so influential was precisely because they were both master entrepreneurs and leaders.

Related: Leadership: Honesty Is The First Chapter In The Book Of Wisdom

To successfully grow a business, an entrepreneur must learn how to become an effective leader. Here are the five leadership skills every entrepreneur must master:

Delegation

Entrepreneurs, and especially solopreneurs, who run growing businesses are eventually shocked to realise it is impossible to do everything by themselves. Most entrepreneurs are uncomfortable with the idea of delegation. They want to do everything themselves because they have a natural sense of ownership over their work. They find it difficult to believe anyone else would do what needs to be done. After all, they were the ones who built the business from scratch all by themselves.

The reality is, though, as a business grows, so does the amount of work that needs to go into running it.

Leaders understand their own time and energy are finite resources. Great leaders understand that, to be most effective in the company, they must play to their strengths and delegate their weaknesses to others who are more qualified.

Steve Jobs famously played a very small part in building the OS and designing the original Apple computers. He knew how to grow a business, so he focused on what he could do and wisely left it to Steve Wozniak and his team to execute his vision.

Communication

lone-wolfThe perk of being a lone wolf is that you know exactly what needs to be done and the right way to do it. But, that has to change when you find yourself a leader.

We all have horror stories of working for a manager who didn’t communicate instructions effectively, which inevitably leads to confusion and frustration from both parties. As a leader, you’ll need to clearly and succinctly explain everything from your vision to administrative tasks to your employees.

But, communication is not a one-way street. You need to know what to say and how to listen. Effective leaders don’t simply give orders. They accept feedback and criticism, as well.

A constant bridge of communication between a leader and an employee not only reduces inefficiencies but also leads to a healthier and more productive workplace for all.

Related: The One Leadership Trait That Will Ensure You Succeed At Anything You Do

Inspiration

Entrepreneurs seldom lack in the inspiration department. They were passionate enough to start a business themselves, but not everyone shares their enthusiasm. A key skill of any good leader is to inspire the people around them.

It’s not enough to simply tell people what their job is and expect them to do it. To get the most out of your team, you have to make them believe in your vision and feel like they’re actively making an impact in their role. This is especially important when working in a start-up.

The good news is that anyone can become an inspiring leader as long as they create a clear culture around the company’s vision, values, and beliefs.

When Howard Schultz returned to Starbucks as CEO, he quickly realised the majority of his employees were no longer focused on providing customers with a positive experience. This led him to shut down 7,100 stores one day to retrain all baristas on making an espresso. This bold move not only sharpened his employees’ technical skills, but also quickly brought Starbucks’ ultimate vision back into focus.

Coaching

As an entrepreneur, you should be well aware of just how powerful a mentor can be to personal and professional growth. As a leader, if you want your employees to be as effective as possible, you need to do more than just give them orders.

Along with giving them the resources they need to do their job well, you also need to be able to help them move forward in their own careers.

This can be as simple as offering them training in skills they are interested in, giving them more responsibilities, or spending more one-on-one time with them. Leaders should be able to do more than just lead from the front; they have to be able to provide support from behind as well.

By adopting a coaching mentality, you can be assured of your employees’ loyalty to you and your vision. Plus, helping your employees achieve their full potential means they’re more likely be an asset to you and your business.

Related: How To Make Speedy Decisions As A Leader

Adaptability

It should go without saying that being innovative and adaptive is key for entrepreneurs. But, instead of only using their knack for problem-solving on market opportunities, leaders are also focused on providing solutions for problems within the company.

A large part of running a growing company is learning how to deal with internal problems like employee disputes, disorganisation, or a lack of motivation. Employees will always look to the leader to solve these issues.

When no clear-cut solutions are present, leaders need to be able to think outside the box. One surefire way to quickly lose both the respect and trust of your employees is to outsource the solution to someone else or avoid responsibility by blaming others.

Last-minute changes and mishaps happen in any business, so it’s up to the leader to adapt quickly and show everyone else the right way to handle these situations.

If entrepreneurs who have the passion and innovation to start their own businesses can develop these five skills of great leaders, they will be most effective in leading those businessess into growth and a bright future.

Read next: What Kind Of Leader Are You?

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

SPOTLIGHT

Advertisement

Recent Posts

Follow Us

Entrepreneur-Newsletters
*
We respect your privacy. 
* indicates required.
Advertisement

Trending

FREE E-BOOK: How to Build an Entrepreneurial Mindset

Sign up now for Entrepreneur's Daily Newsletters to Download​​