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Differences Between People Who Run A Business And True Entrepreneurs

Differences Between People Who Run A Business And True Entrepreneurs

There were many other music players out on the market before Apple came out with the iPod, but the iPod soon came to dominate the marketplace surpassing all others. Why is that? Because Apple products were driven by an amazing entrepreneur by the name of Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs didn’t just run a company called Apple, he was also a truly passionate entrepreneur.

So, what are the differences between people who run a business and true entrepreneurs? Here are some qualities that definitely make the difference.

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1. Growth mindset

People who run a business have a mindset of just meeting their minimum expectations. They hope to make their payroll that month, that quarter, or that year, and they hope to reach a certain number. Because of this mindset they do exactly that – they meet their minimum goals. True entrepreneurs have a growth mindset which says “let’s make this a billion-dollar company ” even though at the time the company may be very small. They don’t limit their thinking by thinking so small. They go big or go home.

2. Passion for the business

People who run a business go to the business because “it seemed like a good idea at the time”. They don’t necessarily have a passion for the business. True entrepreneurs, no matter what business they are in, go into a business that they truly have a passion for. They may love the business, they may want to change the world, or they may want to revolutionize a product. Whatever their reason may be, they have a passion for the business that is contagious to all those around them. People who run a business run it to make money, while people who are true entrepreneurs run a business because it is their life’s passion and they can’t not do it!

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3. Looking for new opportunities

People who run a business tend to stick to the business that they have. They don’t want to make waves. This leads to eventually becoming stagnant and not growing. True entrepreneurs have a business, but they are always looking for new opportunities, new product lines, new niches, new growth strategies, and new streams of revenue. They listen very carefully to the customers because customers often have the best ideas for new opportunities for their business. They keep their eye on the present, but they’re always looking forward to the horizon for new opportunities.

4. Open to change

People who run a business tend to cling to the old way of doing things. They are not open to change because they’re afraid it will impact their business negatively. Think of all of the video store owners who didn’t adapt to the change with the streaming video who are now out of business. You could say that Blockbuster “block busted”. True entrepreneurs are open to change and actually will look at how they should change their business on a daily basis. They do not let the sleeping dog lie – they go kick it awake and tell it needs to change its ways.

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5. Vision

People who run a business are the kind of people who when they buy a house, they can only see the house for what it looks like currently. They can see its total potential of what it will look like in the future. True entrepreneurs have a vision of what their company or the organization is going to look like down the road. If you ask them, they will paint a picture of where they’re going to be in 5-10 years. They have the vision to imagine a future which is unlimited and has tremendous growth opportunity for them and for their employees. This allows them to make decisions not only for today, but also to impact the business in the long-term. Walt Disney was able to visualize what Disneyland was going to be, was going to look like, and how it would succeed, long before anyone else believed in his vision.

6. Work ethic

People who run a business act like employees not owners. When it is 5 o’clock they “punch out” and decide to go home because it is the end of the workday. They don’t realize that their minimum effort each day contributes towards having poor results later. True entrepreneurs know that in order to build an amazing business empire, they can’t do that between the limited hours of 9-to-5. They are willing and able to put in the work even if it means working seven days a week for five years in a row. Of course, when they get results and are amazingly successful, people talk about “how lucky they are”, not realizing that for half a decade they worked nights and weekends. As Stephen Covey, the author of Seven Habits, once said: “Private victory precedes public victory.”

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Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek via viktorhanacek.com

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Shawn Doyle

Shawn is a certified professional speaker, author and an Executive and Life Coach.

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Last Updated on June 18, 2019

5 Types of Leadership Styles (And Which Is Best for You)

5 Types of Leadership Styles (And Which Is Best for You)

It takes great leadership skills to build great teams.

The best leaders have distinctive leadership styles and are not afraid to make the difficult decisions. They course-correct when mistakes happen, manage the egos of team members and set performance standards that are constantly being met and improved upon.

With a population of more than 327 million, there are literally scores of leadership styles in the world today. In this article, I will talk about the most common leadership styles and how you can determine which works best for you.

5 Types of Leadership Styles

I will focus on 5 common styles that I’ve encountered in my career: democratic, autocratic, transformational, transactional and laissez-faire leadership.

The Democratic Style

The democratic style seeks collaboration and consensus. Team members are a part of decision-making processes and communication flows up, down and across the organizational chart.

The democratic style is collaborative. Author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek is an example of a leader who appears to have a democratic leadership style.

    The Autocratic Style

    The autocratic style, on the other hand, centers the preferences, comfort and direction of the organization’s leader. In many instances, the leader makes decisions without soliciting agreement or input from their team.

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    The autocratic style is not appropriate in all situations at all times, but it can be especially useful in certain careers, such as military service, and in certain instances, such as times of crisis. Steve Jobs was said to have had an autocratic leadership style.

    While the democratic style seeks consensus, the autocratic style is less interested in consensus and more interested in adherence to orders. The latter advises what needs to be done and expects close adherence to orders.

      The Transformational Style

      Transformational leaders drive change. They are either brought into organizations to turn things around, restore profitability or improve the culture.

      Alternatively, transformational leaders may have a vision for what customers, stakeholders or constituents may need in the future and work to achieve those goals. They are change agents who are focused on the future.

      Examples of transformational leader are Oprah and Robert C. Smith, the billionaire hedge fund manager who has offered to pay off the student loan debt of the entire 2019 graduating class of Morehouse College.

        The Transactional Style

        Transactional leaders further the immediate agenda. They are concerned about accomplishing a task and doing what they’ve said they’d do. They are less interested in changing the status quo and more focused on ensuring that people do the specific task they have been hired to do.

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        The transactional leadership style is centered on short-term planning. This style can stifle creativity and keep employees stuck in their present roles.

        The Laissez-Faire Style

        The fifth common leadership style is laissez-faire, where team members are invited to help lead the organization.

        In companies with a laissez-faire leadership style, the management structure tends to be flat, meaning it lacks hierarchy. With laissez-faire leadership, team members might wonder who the final decision maker is or can complain about a lack of leadership, which can translate to lack of direction.

        Which Leadership Style do You Practice?

        You can learn a lot about your leadership style by observing your family of origin and your formative working experiences.

        Whether you realize it, from the time you were born up until the time you went to school, you were receiving information on how to lead yourself and others. From the way your parents and siblings interacted with one another, to unspoken and spoken communication norms, you were a sponge for learning what constitutes leadership.

        The same is true of our formative work experiences. When I started my communications career, I worked for a faith-based organization and then a labor union. The style of communication varied from one organization to the other. The leadership required to be successful in each organization was also miles apart. At Lutheran social services, we used language such as “supporting people in need.” At the labor union, we used language such as “supporting the leadership of workers” as they fought for what they needed.

        Many in the media were more than happy to accept my pitch calls when I worked for the faith-based organization, but the same was not true when I worked for a labor union. The quest for media attention that was fair and balanced became more difficult and my approach and style changed from being light-hearted to being more direct with the labor union.

        I didn’t realize the impact those experiences had on how I thought about my leadership until much later in my career.

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        In my early experience, it was not uncommon for team members to have direct, brash and tough conversations with one another as a matter of course. It was the norm, not the exception. I learned to challenge people, boldly state my desires and preferences, and give tough feedback, but I didn’t account for the actions of others fit for me, as a black woman. I didn’t account for gender biases and racial biases.

        What worked well for my white male bosses, did not work well for me as an African American woman. People experienced my directness as being rude and insensitive. While I needed to be more forceful in advancing the organization’s agenda when I worked for labor, that style did not bode well for faith-based social justice organizations who wanted to use the love of Christ to challenge injustice.

        Whereas I received feedback that I needed to develop more gravitas in the workplace when I worked for labor, when I worked for other organizations after the labor union, I was often told to dial it back. This taught me two important lessons about leadership:

        1. Context Matters

        Your leadership style must adjust to each workplace you are employed. The challenges and norms of an organization will shape your leadership style significantly.

        2. Not All Leadership Styles Are Appropriate for the Teams You’re Leading

        When I worked on political campaigns, we worked nonstop. We started at dawn and worked late into the evening. I couldn’t expect that level of round-the-clock work for people at the average nonprofit. Not only couldn’t I expect it, it was actually unhealthy. My habit of consistently waking up at 4 am to work was profoundly unhealthy for me and harmful for the teams I was leading.

        As life coach and spiritual healer Iyanla Vanzant has said,

        “We learn a lot from what is seen, sensed and shared.”

        The message I was sending to my team was ‘I will value you if you work the way that I work, and if you respond to my 4 am, 5 am and 6 am emails.’ I was essentially telling my employees that I expect you to follow my process and practice.

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        As I advanced in my career and began managing more people, I questioned everything I thought I knew about leadership. It was tough. What worked for me in one professional setting did not work in other settings. What worked at one phase of my life didn’t necessarily serve me at later stages.

        When I began managing millennials, I learned that while committed to the work, they had active interests and passions outside of the office. They were not willing to abandon their lives and happiness for the work, regardless of how fulfilling it might have been.

        The Way Forward

        To be an effective leader, you must know yourself incredibly well. You must be self-reflective and also receptive to feedback.

        As fellow Lifehack contributor Mike Bundrant wrote in the article 10 Essential Leadership Qualities That Make a Great Leader:

        “Those who lead must understand human nature, and they start by fully understanding themselves…They know their strengths, and are equally aware of their weaknesses and thus understand the need for team work and the sharing of responsibility.”

        The way to determine your leadership style is to get to know yourself and to be mindful of the feedback you receive from others. Think about the leadership lessons that were seen, sensed and shared in your family of origin. Then think about what feels right for you. Where do you gravitate and what do you tend to avoid in the context of leadership styles?

        If you are really stuck, think about using a personality assessment to shed light on your work patterns and preferences.

        Finally, the path for determining your leadership style is to think about not only what you need, or what your company values, but also what your team needs. They will give you cues on what works for them and you need to respond accordingly.

        Leadership requires flexibility and attentiveness. Contrary to unrealistic notions of leadership, being a leader is less about being served and more about being of service.

        More About Leadership

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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