In modern graduate business degree programs, leadership is an increasingly important focus of study. Leadership is integral to managing of any group of people, yet, in the growing world of entrepreneurs and start-up businesses — where emphasis is usually placed on drive, creativity, passion and innovation — leadership skills often get overlooked. This is unfortunate, as combining strong leadership with the entrepreneurial mindset can yield great results for both developing and established businesses.
If you are planning a start-up or working in business management at any level, studying entrepreneurial leadership in a master’s degree in business administration program can give you the skills to effectively lead your employees and maximize your business’s potential.
What Does Strong Leadership Look Like?
There are many styles of leadership. Many people think of leadership as an inherent quality, but good leadership is a combination of practical skills and knowledge, all of which students can and should learn.
The many forms of leadership share common traits. A leader needs to be knowledgeable in their field and a resource for their team. Communication skills are absolutely essential to good management, such as clearly articulating job descriptions, performance expectations, and a unified vision, as well as conducting constructive reviews and evaluations. A leader should select the best candidate for each position, delegating tasks and roles according to the individual’s strengths and building upon weaknesses.
These are just a few aspects of effective leadership. However, and perhaps most importantly, the leader is a role model, the standard of behavior and performance that team members will look up to. A leader should be able to teach others how to communicate well, achieve goals efficiently, and take risks to innovate. The most effective leaders empower their team members or employees to lead themselves.
Why Is Leadership Important for Start-Ups?
Although many start-ups begin with one or two people, the aim of most entrepreneurial ventures is to grow. Inevitably, this means curating a team of employees with unique skill-sets and responsibilities. Strong leadership is especially important in turbulent environments where growth and success rely on creativity and risk-taking. The rapidly changing world of modern business and entrepreneurship certainly fits in this category.
What Is Unique About Entrepreneurial Leadership?
The concept of entrepreneurial leadership is fairly recent. In “Entrepreneurial Leadership: What Is It and How Should It Be Taught?” authors Muhammad Azam Roomi and Pegram Harrison define it logically as a “fusion” of entrepreneurship and leadership: “having and communicating the vision to engage teams to identify, develop and take advantage of opportunity in order to gain competitive advantage.”
If you are running a start-up, you will need strong leadership skills, as described above, while also focusing on and articulating the big picture of your company’s vision, goals and success. You need to be conscious of your staff’s performance while staying current on market trends and potential opportunities. The entrepreneurial leader models risk-taking, review and revision to instill the evaluative feedback loop in employees.
As a leader, you strive to create an environment where employees feel invested in the company. Leaders encourage employees to be creative and innovative. They are also constantly and searching for ways to improve upon the business while evaluating the results of new ideas and adjusting operations accordingly.
The Responsibilities of Entrepreneurial Managers
In the management role, you are also responsible for appropriating and allocating funding to promote such innovations. Of course, you also need to monitor the return on those investments, ensuring benefit to your company’s stakeholders. Ideally, the entrepreneurial leader drives the business as a whole and enables their employees to do the same in their specialized roles.
By combining the passion and creativity of entrepreneurship with highly developed interpersonal and organizational leadership skills, entrepreneurial leaders can maximize the potential of their staff and resources. This may seem like a lot for one person to manage, but the best leaders create the most effective teams, delegating responsibilities and inspiring high levels of performance and self-management. In a way, effective entrepreneurial leaders reduce their own workloads, enabling them to invest more time and energy in their own creativity and the pursuit of opportunities for company growth.
Learn more about the LSUS online MBA in entrepreneurship program.
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