5 Hallmarks of Startup Leadership

Leadership qualities

Startup businesses remain one of the most popular entrepreneurial trends in America today. One survey from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor noted that there are nearly thirty million startups in the United States today, and that number may grow in the next several years. If you plan to join these ranks soon by launching your own business, there is more to understand than financial facts and figures. Transforming into an effective leader can be just as vital to your success, and there are several ideals you can incorporate into your everyday life to help achieve this.

1.     Be Flexible

Whether it is realizing you must change some of your business plans in the course of launching your startup or dealing with a difficult customer, being flexible can help you deal with a variety of unexpected business issues on a daily basis. Inflexible leaders who cannot accept change or are not willing to change their way of thinking typically end up frustrated with their startup or watch it fail as changes in technology and entrepreneurship leave them behind.

If you want to learn to be more flexible, start with how you deal with change personally. Keep in mind that running a startup is bound to throw unexpected changes at you, and while some may be difficult to accept, allowing yourself to take out your frustrations on your employees may lower morale. The more you can roll with the changes of business, the more confidence your people may have in you, and this can help your company grow.

2.     Be Decisive

As a business owner, you will have to make dozens of decisions daily: who to hire, where to focus your energy, how to spend your money, and even which brand of office supplies to use. While the idea of making all these decisions may seem overwhelming, remember that it is better to start deciding than letting them overcome you and do nothing instead.

One of the best ways to move forward with making decisions is to break the tasks down into manageable chunks. For example, if you have to make a hiring decision and have six possible candidates, begin by writing down what you hope to achieve by creating this position and how each candidate’s talents might best fulfill those hopes. Do not be afraid to make mistakes because it is always better to make hard choices than let fear sideline your goals.

3.     Be Positive

As a leader, your employees will look to you to set the overall mood of your company. If you are cynical and see your company’s glass as half-empty, your people will likely feel the same way. Because this can seriously affect employee morale, setting a positive example is an important factor in how you run your company daily.

This is not to say that you will not have bad days when it will be difficult to look on the bright side, especially in the early days, when most entrepreneurs struggle to stay afloat. However, maintaining a positive mindset, even when times get tough, may boost employee confidence and inspire them to see past tough times. They may even come up with innovative solutions to help the company move forward.

4.     Be a Good Listener

When you think of business leaders, you may think of extroverted individuals who are not afraid to speak and talk about their ideas to get ahead. However, having listening skills can be just as important as the ability to communicate, especially when it comes to your clients.

If you ignore customer feedback and believe you are always in the right, whether dealing with a dispute or ignoring a suggestion, it could set off a firestorm of negative publicity. Customers have many social media sites at their disposal, and if they air their grievances against your company publicly because you refused to listen, it could be disastrous for you. Take the time to listen, weigh customer comments carefully, and always reach out with goodwill.

5.     Be Tenacious

Launching a startup can be thrilling, but it is not without its trials. Learning to stick with your company, even if others are not confident about your chances of success, is one of the cornerstones of a successful leader.

As you nurture your startup, it may help you to look to other business leaders for inspiration. For example, Eugene Chrinian, CEO of Factory Direct Enterprises, LLC, has always listed a strong work ethic and dedication to his job as two factors in his success. Following in the footsteps of successful business leaders and taking your cue from them can help you stay focused and driven and inspire your employees to do the same.

Launching a startup business may be the most thrilling yet challenging times of your life. Becoming a leader is not for the faint of heart, but when you work to become someone who can inspire customers and employees alike, your path to success can be easier to navigate.