4 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Gain More Leadership Training Wishing there were a course called 'CEO 101'? Here's what you can do instead.

By Robert Glazer

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


In stark contrast to the corporate world -- where people in large companies are promoted into leadership roles only after working their way up through the ranks -- leadership development in the startup arena often happens overnight or even by accident.

Related: Leadership Training Backed by Former U.S. Presidents? It's Happening.

Entrepreneurs often have to go without management training, development coaching or a course called "CEO 101." They have to figure out out how to be a leader on the fly.

And because teaching yourself to lead is no easy feat, especially when you're managing a rapidly expanding company, you may well fail. That's part of the reason 36 percent of new businesses fold after just two years and 90 percent of technology startups simply don't make it.

In fact, the most common reasons startups fail -- such as not having the right people on board, lacking a solid business model or using poor marketing -- all stem from poor leadership. Success in a fast-growing company practically demands that entrepreneurs make a steady pivot from self-sufficient autonomy to leading, managing, delegating and holding others accountable.

And for that to happen, personal leadership training is extremely valuable. It's vital for learning how to build teams, hire the right people, speak in public and influence the market. It teaches not only how to set a mission, but also how to communicate that vision to others.

Here are four ways entrepreneurs can seek out invaluable leadership training:

1. Join a group.

Join professional organizations, such as the Entrepreneurs' Organization, which foster connections with other entrepreneurs and offer formal leadership training programs. Hearing the stories and experiences of others offers a great opportunity for personal leadership growth.

2. Find one guide -- or several.

Look for a mentor who can counsel you from a wider perspective. This might be another entrepreneur who has already started a company. Consider establishing a formal board of advisors comprised of successful professionals from diverse backgrounds. This can be a great resource for exploring ideas, and these advisors' advice can help fill in any gaps in personal experience.

Related: 4 Ways to Make Leadership Development Part of Your Company Culture

3. Learn from the successes and failures of others.

Listen to other successful founders and CEOs speak. Attend conferences such as GrowCo to hear and learn from their journeys, which are never as straightforward or easy as they seem. Read what they've written about work to learn the difference between management and leadership. The two pursuits are not the same, yet are equally important. Management involves planning, organization and coordination. Leaders inspire and motivate.

4. Get your investors to invest in you.

Too often, VCs focus on short-term, top-line growth without making the investment necessary to be successful in the long term. Expecting entrepreneurs to be successful at something they've never done without investing in their professional development is not realistic. Lobby to build leadership training into your budget and time line for you and your team, so investors view these efforts as a path to ROI rather than a distraction from daily business operations.

As mentioned, make sure training emphasizes both management and leadership, and be cognizant of the difference; professional development can't be restricted to one or the other. Seeking guidance in these realms requires a sense of humility and openness to new viewpoints and methods.

To that end, don't be afraid to be honest about areas of weakness -- authenticity and vulnerability are two of the most valuable leadership skills, and both are necessary for growth. Openly admitting a lack of knowledge falls outside of most people's comfort zones, but it's a sign of great strength and adaptability in a leader.

While it's possible to pick these skills up without official training, having the right support system in place will make your transition to leadership smoother, quicker and more efficient -- even if it doesn't happen overnight.

Related: 4 Ways to Make Middle Managers Better Leaders

Wavy Line
Robert Glazer

Founder and CEO of Acceleration Partners

Robert (Bob) Glazer is the founder and managing director of Acceleration Partners, the founder and chairman of BrandCycle and author of the book, Performance Partnerships. He has extensive experience in the consumer, ecommerce, retail, online marketing and ad-tech industries and has partnered with brands such as Adidas, ModCloth, Reebok, Target, Gymboree, and Warby Parker. He writes inspirational Friday Forward posts each week at www.fridayfwd.com.

Editor's Pick

A Father Decided to Change When He Was in Prison on His Son's Birthday. Now His Nonprofit Helps Formerly Incarcerated Applicants Land 6-Figure Jobs.
A Teen Turned His Roblox Side Hustle Into a Multimillion-Dollar Company — Now He's Working With Karlie Kloss and Elton John
3 Mundane Tasks You Should Automate to Save Your Brain for the Big Stuff
The Next Time Someone Intimidates You, Here's What You Should Do
5 Ways to Manage Your Mental Health and Regulate Your Nervous System for Sustainable Success

Related Topics

Business News

After Being Told They Could Work From Home Forever, Employees Made Major Life Changes. Then, a New CEO Ordered Them Back to the Office.

Farmers Group CEO Raul Vargas is facing backlash for the change, but he says being in the office brings more "collaboration" and "innovation."

Business News

Hedge Fund Pays NYC Interns $20,000 a Month on Average, Sent to Lavish Palm Beach Kickoff

Citadel is known for its over-the-top parties and company retreats.

Business News

'I've Got the Bug for Business': See All of Mark Wahlberg's Entrepreneurial Endeavors, From Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch to Wahlburgers

Mark Wahlberg owns businesses in several categories, including entertainment production, apparel, fitness, and nutrition.

Business Ideas

The 13 Best Jobs for People With ADHD

Want to find the perfect profession as a person with ADHD? Check out this review of the best jobs for people with ADHD if you need ideas.

Money & Finance

What Is a Tariff? Here's an Overview of the Basics.

Keep reading this article to discover the world of tariffs, their impact on global trade and their role in international relations.