5 Unforgettable Leadership Qualities for Successful Entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurs are a different breed of leader. Renegades, rebels, world changers, innovators, black sheep, risk takers, workaholics -- these are just a few of the names we are called by both those who love us, and those who don’t understand us.
One thing successful entrepreneurial leaders have in common is a high degree of emotional intelligence, or the capacity to be aware of, control and express our emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships fairly and empathetically. It can be argued that emotional intelligence (EQ) is more important to your happiness, health and success over your intellect (IQ).
The following is my personal list of the five pillars of leadership for entrepreneurs, which is probably quite different than you would expect. As you grow your business and make your mark on the world in your own unique way, I think you will find it useful to keep these qualities top-of-mind when defining your own leadership identity. These pillars are fundamental and unforgettable for success.
1. Responsibility: If it is to be it’s up to me.
Personally, I like to look for a “win-win” scenario in every situation, no matter what. In order to create this win-win, especially in challenging interactions, I always remind myself to come from a place of respect and love. It doesn’t matter what frame of mind the other party is in, I get to choose my actions and reactions.
Mother Teresa exemplified this sort of leadership responsibility and captured it eloquently in this quote written on the wall in her home for children in Calcutta:
“People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway. If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway. What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway. Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.”
2. Possibility: 100 percent is possible 100 percent of the time.
You will be tempted to say no to opportunities you don’t want to pass up when you are feeling overwhelmed. You are the master of your emotions and your reactions and when you come from a mindset of being unstoppable, you will find a way to make it all happen.
This is the hustle, the difference between being the best you can be and half-assing it. If you want to say yes to an opportunity but feel you have too much on your plate, don’t doubt, just take action and find the support you need to make it happen. Leave everything on the field, every day.
3. Integrity: My vision and my commitments dictate my ways of being and my actions.
We are defined by our vision and our commitments (our word). When you revisit your goals, mission statement and vision daily you will be in alignment with your highest potential more often. Naturally, there will be days when circumstances get the best of you or throw you off track, but if you stay attuned to your vision you will rise above the petty details time and time again.
4. Urgency: I live as if my life and the lives of others depend on it.
This is a precious life. Every second wasted will never come back.
When I wake up I am thankful for another day to experience it and to share my gifts. When you go all out and share your passion with others, what distinguishes a leader from the average person is the sense of urgency to do everything we can with this one day, this one hour. You may not have tomorrow so you need to take action now.
5. Risk: Learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable.
The only way you become an entrepreneur is to take a risk. You risk your time, safety, money, security, reputation and so much more. So what? Let fear be your compass. Follow it all the way through to the end and see to it that your business and your life are nothing short of extraordinary.
Lewis Howes is a New York Times bestselling author of The School of Greatness and The Mask of Masculinity. He is a lifestyle entrepreneur, high performance business coach and keynote speaker. A former professional football player and two-sport All-American, he is a current USA Men’s National Handball Team athlete. He hosts a top 100 iTunes ranked Apple podcast, The School of Greatness. Howes was recognized by the White House and President Obama as one of the top 100 entrepreneurs in the country under 30. Details magazine called him one of “5 Internet Guru’s that can Make You Rich.” Howes has been featured on Ellen, Good Morning America, The Today Show, The New York Times, People, ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Men’s Health and other major media outlets.