Entrepreneurs, Managers & Leaders. What’s your style?
There are three essential leadership styles; the Entrepreneur, the Manager and the Leader. What is your style?
Your personality, genes, upbringing, approach, skills, passions, beliefs, stage in life, role in a business, mindset and life experience are all factors that go into making you who you are. They will also define your leadership strength and style. Now, that strength and style can change as you mature and learn, your company grows, or your responsibilities expand. If you know yourself you’re likely to have a core of values that never changes, but your style and how you behave and express yourself may go through transformations over time. I suggest that leadership comes in three different main styles: the Entrepreneur, the Manager and the Leader.
The Entrepreneur – my job is to realize my ideas (it’s all about me)
The Manager – my job is administration (it’s all about an efficient organization)
The Leader – my job is people (it’s all about others).
So let’s take a closer look at the three styles.
The Entrepreneur is an innovator, bringing new ideas. The essence of entrepreneurship is really to get others to believe in your idea – custom- ers, people you recruit, investors and others who you need to make your dream come true. You need to communicate, to be relentless, persistent, energetic and trust that your instincts are right when everybody is trying to prove you wrong – or when they are just plainly indifferent to whatever your vision is.
This has also created the cliché of the lone entrepreneur: a man (and increasingly a woman) fighting against the ignorance of a world that doesn’t care – just to win in the end and become stinking rich. In any case, the mindset of the Entrepreneur is focused on the idea. It’s also a very egocentric mindset. Me, me, me. My idea, my idea, my idea.
There are just as many reasons for starting a business, organization or project as there are entrepreneurs. However, in my experience it’s usually not about the money or the glory; it’s because there are no alternatives. You just have to try that idea that will not leave your head.
When a young company grows, it’s less about the idea and more about managing a growing organization and allocating the resources needed for growth. The Manager needs to decide, together with his board and management team, how much revenue to expect, how much the business will cost to run, what capital you need, how to structure the business and its organization, what people you need and what their roles and titles are – as well as resolving conflicts when people aren’t satisfied with their titles on their business cards. You need to cooperate with people and make compromises, not be a single-minded rebel.
The Entrepreneur who stays with the company becomes a Manager, destined not to their own calling in life but to call budget meetings and performance follow-ups, and to draw organization charts with boxes and lines.
This is also the time in a company’s history when people begin to say, ‘Now we’re getting bigger, we must not lose our entrepreneurial spirit.’ Everyone will feel that the focus of their work is more about managing than entrepreneurship. The mindset of the Manager is administration. This is also one of the critical points in the life of the Entrepreneur who stays on. Do you have what it takes to make the transition from entrepreneurship (me, me, me – my idea, my idea, my idea) to the quite different focus that is the meaning of management (planning, organizing, budgeting, efficiency, controlling, structure)?
I would argue, however, that the long-term success of any organization, group or project will depend neither on ideas nor on management. It will be about leadership, i.e. it will ultimately depend on people, and the company where the people work and spend a great deal of their time. People together make ideas come true.
Leadership is not about yourself (even if you have to know all your strengths and flaws inside out) but about supporting others to grow, about being there for your team and coaching them into becoming winners – into leaders. I wouldn’t say that the Leader’s job is primarily to motivate people (even if that’s sometimes needed), but to develop other leaders who find their own motivation from within.
You are never only an Entrepreneur, a Manager or a Leader: you always have all three characteristics in you, to varying degrees and according to your personal mix. Your mission is to find out where your strengths are, and your leadership profile, and continue building on that understanding. To find your own leadership profile and mix, try our Leadership Profile test here.