The most important quality you need to be a successful entrepreneur is to communicate an overarching vision for your organisation. A leader needs to ensure their employees buy into a clearly defined strategy. A good leader does not get caught up in the smallest details. Instead, you need to empower staff to take decisions independently wherever possible.
Display excellent interpersonal skills
The difference between an average manager and a true leader shows up in the quality of your interpersonal skills. You need to manage people in the way that you would want to be managed yourself. So think about those things that you didn’t like when you were being managed and act accordingly! Communicating well is a vital part of leading people. It is crucial that people understand exactly what you expect of them. A good leader will foster a communal atmosphere that will encourage staff to become really engaged and work more efficiently leaving you with more time to focus on the big things.
One of the most important things Lord Sugar taught me was effective delegation. I initially made the mistake of trying to control every aspect of what people were doing – right down to the smallest operational issues. He showed me how to empower my team, giving them smaller tasks, which gave me more time to take control of the strategy and see the bigger picture. By placing trust in my team their confidence in their ability increased and they were more motivated.
Do the detail
Another sign of a good leader is someone who keeps in touch with the detail of what’s happening in their industry. There’s no single magic bullet that gives one business a competitive advantage over another. But a key reason some new organizations stay afloat while others fail is attention to detail. If you try to grow the business so fast that you lose touch with the details you are running a big risk.
Learn from role models
Advice and guidance from business mentors has been immensely helpful to me. Consulting someone with a wise head on experienced shoulders who can give you an objective view has added tremendous value to my business. Obviously Lord Sugar has been one of my greatest role models. His ability to manage people, maximising their effectiveness whilst at the same time tackling massive tasks has to be admired. Outside Amstrad, I think the scale of Stelios Haji-Ioannou vision’s vision for Easygroup, with its diverse but profitable business strategies, is something you have to applaud. I have huge respect for US TV pioneer Robert L. Johnson and Oprah Winfrey who both overcame adversity to create two billion-dollar empires.
Get your hands dirty
When you’re starting a company, you may run the show but good leadership sometimes means taking on a supporting role too. Being seen to do some of the less-rewarding jobs that are necessary run a business shows your team that the little things matter to you. Help out with addressing the envelopes. Run errands. Take your turn running the company’s social media accounts. Show everyone you don’t mind doing the donkey work and they won’t either.