Tefo’s Confession: Entrepreneurs Don’t Make Great Leaders and Why?

Leadership is a crucial factor that determines the success of the business. A lot of entrepreneurs however seem to underestimate the power of leadership. First of all, being an entrepreneur does not make you a great leader.

Most people have all these great ideas, have the resources and the capital but lack leadership skills to motivate their employees, manage them and keep them productive. They lack the ability to influence their employee’s attitudes, thoughts, performance and behavior in the company. Yet they are good managers. There’s a difference between a leader and a manager.

In the same breath, employees are also the crucial part of the organization and determine its success or downfall, depending on the type of leadership is in place. The best leadership, in my opinion, will be where all employees are self-motivated, loyal, driven and passionate and most importantly productive and given all this, are in good terms with the leader and actually like them. That is good, but also a bit far-fetched. Very few can achieve this. As a leader, you should be able to bring out the best in your employees. They have to look forward to going to work and to putting their creativity and hard work into what they do; and not only do it for a paycheck or to meet the standard set or ensuring they work well within the stipulated times.

People work for a paycheck. Don’t enjoy the work they do and will never work a minute past knock off time, sacrifice 15 minutes out of their lunch break to get work done. And you can be sure that they are at the same time applying for every vacancy post there is out there.

This is especially a problem in this day and age where entrepreneurs are still teenagers and youth under the age of 30 and have to manage a group of employees much older than they are. This can be intimidating. Firstly because of their age and possibly their experience. It becomes a huge challenge to learn how to control this group and weave your way through the cloud of intimidation looming over your head.

If as a leader, you are more concerned with making friends and being the favorite in the office, then this is the type of mediocrity you will get and the best your organization can do is perform average, on a good day. I’m not saying lead by fear and intimidation (although it does work in some situations); there needs to be boundaries. If they are looking for a mere 9-5, then you don’t need them because they are simply just looking for a job; any job. A paycheck. And you can bet that all day they’ll be looking at the clock. If they are not self-motivated and only work best when you are around, then either you let them go or you watch your investments go up in smokes.

A good leader is one where the employees don’t have individualistic visions, are not bothered by the working hours, are self-motivated, self-managed, driven and passionate about what they do and actually work toward progressing with the company and growing with it. And it’s the leader’s job to bring all these qualities out of them; sieve through the company and let go of all those who are not prepared or far from having these qualities and are unwilling to learn; and keeping those that are determined to improve and learn; those that see at least half the vision you do; those that understand where the company is going and also contribute ideas and ways to improve the company; both in your presence and absence.

You do not always need to get employees with 10-20 years of experience. In my opinion, the best employees are those that are eager to learn; with or without experience. And its even great as you would mold them yourself.

The important thing your can do for your company is to establish a culture that is to be communicated to, understood by and enforced by all employees. I read a blog post by a chairman of a some organization and he stated the need to have a strict discipline in his company as this creates consistency and the importance of ensuring that the employees all have the same core values as this increase the chances of success for the business a great deal.

Leaders set a direction for the rest of us; they help us see what lies ahead; they help us visualize what we might achieve; they encourage us and inspire us.  Without leadership a group of human beings quickly degenerates into argument and conflict, because we see things in different ways and lean toward different solutions. Leadership helps to point us in the same direction and harness our efforts jointly. Leadership is the ability to get other people to do something significant that they might not otherwise do.  It’s energizing people toward a goal.” D. Quinn Mills

TEDxKL Special Mention on Learning Leadership from Malaysia’s TEDx event this year;

Get inspired by timeless leadership lessons and broad networking opportunities with people from different fields of work and passion at TEDxKL. TEDxKL is running for the 4th consecutive year this year, setting its history for bringing in TED Fellows to grace our Malaysian stage. For more information, please visit TEDxKL here, to book your early-bird place.

Tefo’s Confession is also a joint-article for Entrepreneurs.my, in promoting the spirit of TEDxKL this year; Interdependent and will be held LIVE on the 14th of July from 12.30 p.m. until 7.30 p.m.