As we draw towards the end of what has been 2016, many start-ups have risen to great heights and some did not even pick off from the ground. There is an astounding buzz for entrepreneurship within the Kenyan youth and with each passing day there is a company being registered, someone is starting their own business somewhere. Among the hot topics for start-ups would be what it takes to win a good investor at the pitch and occasionally a conversation about networking will emerge. However, I find it strange that stay-up founders hardly discuss leaderships which is a key performance indicator for any organisation.
Here are some insights on the essence of leadership:
1. Leadership will make or break your start-up: Oxford dictionary defines leadership as the action of leading a group of people or an organisation. When you look keenly at that definition you will realise that it lacks an essential component which is the ability to lead oneself. Many are the times when you will ask someone why the want to run their own start-up and answers like I want to be my own boss and be independent will fly left, right and centre. Unlike the misconception that leading your own business requires less dedication or time intensity than working for a formal employer, running your own firm will require immense dedication and will be absolutely time intensive at least for the first five years. Therefore, a person must start by leading themselves before they can lead anyone else. The discipline that you hope to see in your team must reflect squarely on your behaviour and approach to how you run the show.
2. As the leader you are the vessel for the vision: more often than not when you start your organisation you are the one that knows exactly where you want your business to go. Therefore, it will require an immense amount of passion to pass on that vision to your team. Those that you work with must buy in to where you believe your organisation should be in the foreseeable future because that is the only way you will achieve your objectives in the time that you have envisioned. A team that has a clear understanding of why the start-up exists and what its mission and vison are in practicality is tuned to be very productive and enthusiastic towards reaching the proverbial Promised Land.
3. Being a boss and being a leader is not the same thing: the usual perception of a boss is this towering figurehead of authority that requires things to get down through imposing their powers of supervision and at times micro-management to their team-members. The connotations derived from boss are mostly negative, usually describing the person we dread to see in the morning or get a call from. When we are looking at start-ups, there is so much to done, there is no way that a person can dedicate themselves in micro-managing a team and breathing down the throats of team-members work. A leader will have to take their time empowering those that work with. You must trust that after stipulating the deliverables your team members will deliver on time and in full. This way people will feel intrinsically obliged to act on their responsibilities with more creativity and zeal.
Take time to look at the state of leadership affairs in your organisation. Does it match up to what is optimal for excellent performance?