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How to apply successful leadership to your business start-up

Posted by : Premraj | Posted on : Friday, January 8, 2016

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Running a start-up business brings with it many challenges that can test any entrepreneur to his or her limits.

When you start a business you obviously have the main aims and goals clearly in sight, but along the way you will also have to dig deep and find management skills and talents you maybe didn’t even know you had.

One of the most important of these is likely to be leadership style. Most of the biggest start-up success stories you can name will be associated with a strong and motivating leadership figure, and that’s because it is an essential requirement for any project aiming for the top.

Modern leadership styles

The essential definition of leadership is the act of guiding (or leading) a group of people towards achieving a common aim. However, there are actually many different types of leadership styles that have been identified by researchers over the past 80 years or more.

Initial studies by a group of researchers led by psychologist Kurt Lewin in 1939 found there are three basic leadership styles.

— The autocratic style sees a single person take control who makes decisions for a team of others to follow. This is the approach many start-ups take; however, Lewin’s study found it the least successful with the test groups.

— A democratic leadership style still sees one person take control who invites elements of input from group members, with some collective decisions being made. The leader essentially guides rather than directs.

— Finally the laissez-faire approach sees the person supposedly in charge taking a step back and doing nothing. Unsurprisingly perhaps, Lewin’s research found the result of this was a disorganized and unproductive group.

Techniques

This original research also found that leadership skills could be taught and learned, so anyone who thinks they may be lacking in natural ability can take advice in order to lead their start-up positively and productively.

In more modern research Peter Economy known as “The Leadership Guy” has a list of attributes and skills he thinks are essential for a leader. These include decisiveness, awareness, the ability to focus, accountability and empathy.

Man Management

A large part of effective leadership is understanding how to manage staff and colleagues. This is where empathy comes in, but it’s also important to understand how effective an inspirational stance can be. This is particularly so in the case of a start-up, where results can be some way off in the future and motivation needs to be handled carefully to get the best out of the whole team.

Decisiveness

The importance of being decisive as a leader cannot be underestimated. It’s the old ‘the buck stops here’ question, but it also means having the ability to move quickly to make the most of opportunities as and when they occur.

US financial legend Warren Stephens is a perfect example of this type of leadership. Not only has he proved himself repeatedly decisive in a crisis, he also exemplifies the kind of leader who knows exactly when to make a move to achieve the biggest impact. Stephens’ record of having turned disaster into triumph in the global banking crisis sets him apart from his peers and rivals, many of whom took years to recover from the devastating fallout of the global recession.

Start-up leaders

Recognizing your own inherent leadership style and skills is the best place for a start-up leader to begin managing employees.

Fully understanding the different leadership styles and studying those people who have used to them to great effect, is a perfect way to develop your own character and in turn to inspire and develop your staff to push on to success.

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