It’s a common mistake to think that you have to be born with a certain number of personality traits in order to be successful. And while yes, having an innate inclination for organization or business is incredibly helpful, most of those skills can be developed later in life. You can learn them in college, by observation or with a little bit of discipline. But could the qualities that make you a good entrepreneur also make you a good leader?
Many people have posed that very same question. And while many people who venture into business on their own certainly possess certain qualities that could allow them lead a whole industry sector, not every one of them is a natural-born leader. Are leadership and entrepreneurship all that different?
They aren’t. In fact, they share a couple of traits in common:
Leaders see a goal and are able to motivate a group of people to work together in order to achieve it. Entrepreneurs went through a long process before they launched their business. They were able to identify that one niche where their venture could be successful. Both are examples of how the same quality is applied in scenarios that could be combined: that same entrepreneur could use that focus to guide their collaborators to any goal they pursue.
Launching a business can be emotionally exhausting. Setbacks, deadlines, you name it: the mere idea of failure can bring anyone down. However, those who persevered and were able to finally open for business were driven by their own long-term goals. They were able to inspire themselves even after the gloomiest of days. If someone is able to inspire themselves, they could easily translate that ability and inspire others, which is basically what leaders do.
Any startup demands a certain level of flexibility. While you may have very clear goals and ideas for your business, chances are that they may not be your best option once you are faced with the reality of the market. Some of your original thoughts might not even be practical. And while some may need to be abandoned altogether, most will need to be adapted. Ideas need to evolve and you, as the captain of the ship, will need to oversee the process.
Leaders need to adapt not only to those changing tides of the market, but also to the personalities and abilities of those in their team. Working with others requires the same level of openness to discussion and ability to adapt that any business owners use every day.