3 Types of Leadership Strategies That Distinguish Outstanding Entrepreneurs
There are many styles of leadership, but your particular style might fall into one of these three categories: internally, externally or strategically focused. The strongest of these styles is the strategic leader.
Entrepreneurs are constantly faced with new challenges, and while you may naturally lean toward one style, it’s important to stretch your capabilities. You may need to adapt your leadership or management style to better deal with unexpected situations.
The most resilient entrepreneurs maintain a positive attitude and develop their leadership skills over time. Find your style and see what you can do to improve, below.
1. Internally focused entrepreneurs.
Leaders who are internally focused run their businesses based on their needs or those of their team. In their work, they emphasize the priorities of their staff members, colleagues and investors rather than those of their customers.
If you are an internally focused entrepreneur, you might find yourself becoming caught up by everyday responsibilities. It might be that you never seem to find the time to grow your business and take it to the next level. Instead, you’re busy with email, staff meetings and other office obligations.
These entrepreneurs are often well liked by their staff members because of their considerate and attentive leadership style. While team management is an important aspect of running a business, it’s important to disassociate from certain day-to-day activities.
Instead, dedicate time to the larger goals of your business. Focus on the formulation and dissemination of viable strategies for the company. If necessary, delegate your internal responsibilities to a trusted manager or use your skills to train other team members to fulfill those duties.
Develop boundaries with your staff and encourage a culture of creative problem solving. Set office hours to eliminate “urgent” to-dos throughout the day.
If employees aren’t able to stop by your office to ask a question, they’ll begin to adapt and manage challenging issues on their own. When you empower employees to make decisions, you develop a more capable and independent team. This will increase productivity and give you more time to focus on long-term goals.
2. Externally focused entrepreneurs
Externally focused leaders are driven by outside forces that influence and affect their company. They are often deeply concerned about the strategies of new competitors, changes to the economy and customer satisfaction.
These entrepreneurs react more than plan and execute projects. They often see new challenges as obstacles in the path of their success rather than opportunities for growth.
While business leaders can’t always predict or control external influences, they can prepare for likely outcomes. To avoid a reactive approach to leadership, concentrate on your company’s core goals. Don’t allow relatively small challenges to derail your focus.
Instead, task a few employees to manage unexpected situations such as negative feedback from a customer. Then dedicate the majority of your resources toward achieving long-term strategic objectives.
3. Strategically focused entrepreneurs.
A strategically focused leader develops and executes a practical strategy for his or her company. These entrepreneurs are rarely distracted or influenced by other factors, either internal or external. Instead, they’re driven by a desire to create a clear brand identity and develop profitable products and services.
Businesses who are led by strategic thinkers are juggernauts and extremely difficult to compete against. These entrepreneurs aren’t overly concerned about negative client feedback or the new products their competitors have released. Instead, they fold customer criticism and competitor ideas into their core strategy.
To create a balance in your business between strategic goals, internal pressure and external risk, maintain a flexible plan. Be open and adapt and make adjustments as needed. Once you’ve developed your core strategy, share it with employees. Keep your team motivated as you execute your plan.
Finally, always use your company’s strengths -- its team, resources and network -- to build momentum and fulfill your strategic goals.
Jacqueline Whitmore is an etiquette expert and founder of the Protocol School of Palm Beach in Palm Beach, Fla. She is the author of Poised for Success: Mastering the Four Qualities That Distinguish Outstanding Professionals (St. Martin's Press, 2011) and Business Class: Etiquette Essentials for Success at Work (St. Martin's Press, 2005).