AN entrepreneur is a good leader. 

As a leader, he/she motivates, influences and manages other people. He/she gets preoccupied with helping others to be the best they can be. He/she shares his/her knowledge, skills and experiences willingly.

In other words, he/she loses him/herself in the lives of others in order to find his/her real self. Like Martin Luther King, Mahatma Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, Kwame Nkrumah, J.F Kennedy, Lee Kuan Yew and other icons, a leader’s destiny gets fused with the destinies of  those he/she leads.

In this article, we look at the characteristics of a good leader:

g Empathetic
A leader shows empathy with his/her team members. He/she does not expect his/her followers to follow the rules and regulations when he/she does not. As an entrepreneur, you should never expect your subordinates to do anything you are not willing to do yourself. If you want them to keep time, you should make sure no one reaches the office before you. If you want them to communicate openly, lead them by example.

g Unquestionable integrity
You should mean what you say and say what you mean. A leader should be tough when he/she must, but have time for humour. Most importantly, he/she must exercise managerial boldness when it comes to implementing tough decisions. In doing this, he/she must exercise impartiality.

g Goal-focused
More than anyone else in the organisation, leaders know why the organisation exists and they often have their goals written down. They have well laid down plans to achieve their goals in good time. They are action-oriented and goal-driven.

g Competent
A leader demonstrates uncommon competence to his/her followers. He/she keeps him/herself updated on most issues, which enables him/her to provide guidance to his/her team on crosscutting issues. He/she must see him/herself as someone capable of leading his/her company to success. This earns him/her unwavering loyalty and unquestionable authority, without which he/she cannot influence or direct his/her team effectively.

g Team player
It is one thing to be a team leader; it is another to be a team player. Having a team of credentialed individuals is the cornerstone for successful entrepreneurship, but unless the leader can guide the team properly through skillful use of both positive and negative reinforcements, the team members’ knowledge and skills will do him/her no good.

g Able to communicate effectively
Communication is key to business success. The leader must be able to communicate his/her thoughts and ideas, goals and plans as well as achievements to all the stakeholders within and outside the organisation if and when need be.

g Approachable and dispensable
A leader must make him/herself approachable and dispensable. Every member of the organisation should have access to him/her irrespective of one’s position in the hierarchy. He/she should make an effort to train his/her immediate subordinates for them to be able to assume most of his/herresponsibilities in his/her absence. Delegation is an important ingredient of good leadership.

g Resilient
A leader does not easily give up in the face of challenges. He/she displays a high level of passion and ambition, and this shows by the language he/she uses around others, especially subordinates. This is often directly related to the leader’s ability to set attainable goals whose achievement demonstrates the leader’s success. As it has often been said, and rightly so, nothing succeeds like success.

g Inspiring
Tied to his/her ability to communicate effectively, the leader must be able to inspire his/her followers. He/she must strive to make the working environment friendly, motivating and rewarding. As one renowned American President once remarked, “A leader succeeds in motivating his staff when he is able to make them work because they want to work”.

g Ambition
Team members should be involved in tasks that build their trust in the leader’s ability to move them to higher levels of achievement. Unless they trust the leader’s ability to deliver success, they cannot give  him/her the necessary support. If the leader does not demonstrate this charisma, the followers wax cold. No matter how turbulent the waters may be, the leader must stay on top!

Medard Kamujuni is an entrepreneurship research specialist.


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