April 30, 2007 Leave a comment
Entrepreneurial Leadership in Action…
Last year I wrote a posting in this blog that defined the identity of an “Entrepreneurial Leader”. I am going to further shape this concept, which will equip you with another tool for your leadership toolkit. Understanding and embracing the essence of entrepreneurial leadership will allow you to be a more powerful and effective leader.
I liken Entrepreneurial Leaders (“E-Leaders”) to coaches of sports teams. The best coaches are keenly aware of their team’s overall strengths, weaknesses, and potential. They are also in tune with each player’s skill set, temperament, and how they can best contribute to the overall success of the team. These coaches are ambitious and confident not in their own ability to play the game, but in their ability to position their players to maximize their collective talent to win the game.
E-Leaders pursue new opportunities and tackle organizational problems in a similar manner to how sports coaches lead their teams. Both E-Leaders and coaches focus on three critical coaching components: 1) personal preparation, 2) player development and 3) game management.
1) Personal Preparation: A leader can’t lead any of their players anywhere they have not already been – even if it’s only mentally. E-Leaders keep their eyes on the big picture, namely the intended outcome of each game (i.e. projects) and their relevance to the entire season (i.e. fiscal period). They recognize that their players look to them for inspiration and direction, so they do whatever it takes behind the scenes to keep their competitive edge. They set the tone for their team by how knowledgeable he/she is about them, as well as how they match up against their competitors. They push themselves to maintain their level of expertise in their area of specialty, as well as gaining at least a minimal level of familiarity in other subjects.
2) Player Development: E-Leaders understand that the long-term success of the team will depend on the overall development of the players. They are able to effectively assess the developmental progress of each player and then determine what each player needs to help them grow to reach their potential. They also understand that each player motivates differently, so they are adept at knowing the right buttons to push for each one. Furthermore, E-Leaders constantly look for teaching moments, whether it’s before, during, or after a project.
3) Game Management: Coaches don’t win games… players do. E-Leaders recognize that they need the contributions of all of their players in order for the organization to accomplish its goals. E-Leaders design the best strategies, systems, and processes that will position their players to manage and complete their projects efficiently and effectively. They are keenly aware of various situations that may dictate certain decisions, such as reorganizing the players in the game, substituting a player, or changing the game plan.
Successful E-Leaders are able to effectively balance all three of these components. They are not hands-off delegators, that just let their players to do whatever they can to win, nor are they micro-managers who oversee “people-robots” who are afraid or unable to make heat-of-the-battle decisions. These leaders know when to be more engaged versus when to let their players figure out their own solutions to problems.
You can become an effective Entrepreneurial Leader if you: 1) Embrace the fact that just because you are a leader does not make you a superstar. Without your players, you will have minimal success; 2) Create environments that empower individual players while at the same time boosting the team as a whole; and 3) Learn your team well enough to know how to position them to win the game.
Coaching your team to success takes an unwavering commitment to the fact that every player matters. You may be able to accomplish a lot by your own efforts, but you’ll be able to accomplish so much more with the right team in place. I look forward to seeing your team win!
Paul Wilson, Jr.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about how we can help you become an Entrepreneurial Leader.