Entrepreneurs are touted for their grit, innovation, and risk taking. Professional Managers, on the other hand, are known for their oversight in an established business setting, as someone who leads their direct reports through their daily activities, makes decisions, establishes routine and is often risk averse. While Entrepreneurs and Managers are often placed in two completely separate boxes, it is important to recognize there are key competencies Managers can learn from Entrepreneurs to ensure success.
It’s no question that entrepreneurs have problem-solving mindsets, as most businesses are started as either a proactive or reactive measure to a business problem that has been identified for a target audience. Often times, entrepreneurs are required to come up with creative solutions to problems without having a lot of information readily at their fingertips and also without a superior whom they can ask for help. For this reason, successful leaders are required to make effective decisions quickly.
This isn’t a skill that is reserved solely for entrepreneurs; the best people managers are often required to do the same. Great managers are able to make decisions on their toes and are able to think strategically both when they have been given abundant information and when the surrounding details are ambiguous in nature. Both managers and entrepreneurs alike need to be creative and decisive in the decision making process in order to be successful. Not only should leaders be able to create solutions instead of asking for them, they should also be able to collaborate with their teams to come to the best solution.
At Abilitie, we foster an environment of collaboration and communication that is strongly encouraged by our leadership team. Not only does this ensure that we are pulling ideas from every area of business and utilizing the expertise and background of all of our employees, it also keeps our team engaged and excited about the work we are doing. While final decisions are often made by the executive team, each Abilitie team member has fingerprints all over the work that we do, and much of that has to do with the leadership that we have at the highest level. The ability to collaborate with a group of individuals and applying the best input and ideas to the final solution is a key component of effective leadership.
Act under conditions of uncertainty:
In an article on Forbes written by Greg Satell, he states that “every executive in business today must confront an industry that is being disrupted”. The world is changing rapidly. With the introduction of new technologies to the workforce, entrepreneurs are having to make decisions in an ever changing corporate landscape with very little knowledge or insight into what the future holds. Ambiguous decision making is nothing new from an executive perspective, but how does this help managers? From my experience, having a manager that is comfortable with ambiguity has made me more adaptable which in turn has made our organization as a whole more open to new processes and procedures. Managers who lean into uncertainty can make more thoughtful decisions from a place of clarity, and allow their direct reports to embrace uncertainty and ambiguity in the same manner.
Embrace critical conversations and feedback:
From day one, entrepreneurs are forced to engage in critical conversations and give and receive feedback. These conversations are essential to recovering from mistakes, propelling the business forward, finding the right team, and negotiating and securing capital. In order to navigate these conversations successfully, there is a necessity for entrepreneurs to have the same level of emotional intelligence that we have found to be so crucial for effective people management.
Anyone who has worked in corporate America in the past ten years has heard the phrase “emotional intelligence” at least once. The reason being that emotional intelligence is a key element of effectively working with people. People are a necessary component of a successful business, but they are also the most unpredictable commodity on the planet. No two people are alike; we communicate differently, we receive messages differently, we work differently, the list could go on. The best managers are the ones that are able to identify those differences, deliver crucial feedback and have critical conversations with their direct reports in a way that is beneficial to both participants in the conversation. According to an article by Sameer Bhatia in Forbes, one way that both entrepreneurs and managers can do this successfully is by “listening and offering feedback.” Leaders must be willing not only to give in a critical conversation, but also to receive.
Steve Jobs was famously quoted saying, “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” It is no coincidence that Jobs was also one of the most successful entrepreneurs of our time. Great entrepreneurs and managers alike are able to delegate work effectively. A great manager is able to identify each employee’s skills and encourage them to use those abilities to the betterment of the organization. Both managers and entrepreneurs need to be able to lead their teams by setting a vision and allowing their people to help them reach their goals.
At Abilitie, we have the privilege to not only work for great managers, but also help organizations grow the competencies of their management teams with our New Manager Program as well as our Management Challenge simulation. If you are interested in learning more about our offerings, feel free to check us out at www.abilitie.com or reach out to us directly for a consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org.