Successful entrepreneurship starts with successful leadership. The ability to create, inspire and motivate a team of people to pursue one shared goal is a powerful thing. It can also be a challenging feat to pull off.
Luckily, we’re here to help. While no two leaders’ management styles are exactly alike, this year at Entrepreneur we’ve uncovered common behaviors, strategies and skills that unite effective leaders (along with a few characteristics that unite bad ones).You’ll find everything from communication tips to bad management habits in Entrepreneur’s top 10 leadership stories of 2015.
“Leaders lead. Followers follow. You can’t do both,” writes management consultant Steve Tobak. His point: Leadership isn’t about traits or habits, it’s about behavior. Effective leaders are good at doing a variety of things really well, from teaching to problem-solving to prioritizing. But there is one thing great leaders aren’t good at doing — and that’s following.
Like any skill, becoming an effective leader requires practice, so it’s important to start developing good leadership behaviors, such as listening to your team and providing constructive feedback. Some actions will come easier than others, but if you push yourself to act more like a leader every day chances are you will start to become one.
One of the most critical aspects of being a leader is the ability to inspire your team. That’s a tall order if surround yourself with toxic individuals who drain your energy, and so it’s time to say goodbye to the people in your life who make you feel like a lesser version of yourself.
The beauty of building children into leaders is that small actions can have an enormous impact. By setting boundaries while giving your children the space to solve their own problems and take risks, you encourage them to develop behaviors that will help them climb the career ladder when they enter the workforce.
The best leadership advice often comes directly from individuals who have walked the walk. With that in mind, we’ve collected 25 quotes from successful chief executives, including Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Ma, Tim Cook, Indra Nooyi and Elon Musk, on how they run their companies.
Want to start a business but don’t consider yourself a social butterfly? That’s perfectly OK. Despite the perception that extroverts make better leaders — what with their excellent networking and public-speaking abilities — introverts bring their own skillsets to the table (in fact, research suggests that 40 percent of leaders are introverted — they’re just better at adapting themselves to situational demands.)
Great leadership goes hand in hand with great communication skills. To inspire a team, you need to connect on an emotional level while making your expectations clear. It’s a challenging task, but if you’re intentional about developing the necessary skills, it’s a highly achievable one.
Being a successful leader isn’t just about what you do — it’s also about what you don’t do. Bad habits can trip up even the most naturally gifted managers, and so it’s important to avoid common pitfalls such as chronically running late, never saying no and delaying hard decisions.
Part of being a good leader is creating an awesome company culture that attracts top talent. For inspiration, we’ve rounded up 10 companies — a list that includes Zappos, Warby Parker and Chevron — that have created positive, creative environments where employees feel safe and welcome.
As a leader, few things are as costly and disruptive as a talented employee walking out the door. It’s your responsibility, then, to make sure that rarely happens by avoiding common management mistakes, such as overworking employees, failing to recognize staff members for their work and hiring and promoting the wrong people.