Entrepreneurial authors have a unique opportunity to be leaders. Having a book under your belt automatically raises your esteem in other’s eyes. But not all authors know how to be good leaders. Patricia Fripp, in a presentation I attended last month, said this about leadership: “In leadership, it’s not what you say. It’s what you model, encourage, reward and let happen.”
There is research to back up her words. Career Bliss posted an article earlier this month that shared 7 Essential Qualities of Great Leaders, and many of the tips support her thesis.
1. Lead by example
“Do as I say and not as I do” makes for very poor leadership. People are inspired by leaders who have been where they have been. That’s why telling your story is such an important part of your business. You need to share the challenges you faced and how you overcame them so that people will know you’ve been there, done that. And, they’ll be inspired and motivated, believing that if you could do, so can they.
Many entrepreneurs, in their effort to put on a professional face, fear sharing their long, dark, tea-times of the soul (to paraphrase Douglas Adams). But it is in those moments most human that we build rapport with our target audience. For entrepreneurial authors, leading by example means being authentic in sharing their journey to success.
2. Be warm … not scary
I found it particularly interesting that, according a Wharton School of Business survey of over 3,000 professionals, “people who worked in a culture where they were free to express affection, tenderness, caring and compassion for one another were more satisfied with their jobs, committed to the organization and accountable for their performance.” (This was reported on in the Harvard Business Review.)
What does this mean to entrepreneurs? I believe it means that when you are approachable, authentic and relate-able, you will attract a larger (possibly even higher quality) audience. People will be more apt to follow your lead if they like you, rather than fear you. (Which makes me think of the followers of Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Several of them undermined his authority and helped Harry because they didn’t really believe in him … they were just afraid of him.)
3. Be consistent and clear with your vision
I’ll be the first to admit that this can be easier said than done … and I speak from experience. But, once you can get your vision for your business clear and you can make your goals and achievements consistent with that vision, you will be in an excellent spot to grow your business and be a leader in your industry.
4. Trust your team
No entrepreneurial author is an island. You need a team to grow your business. You need to build that team with individuals who have strengths where you do not. And, you need to trust them to do what they do well. Good leaders understand the strengths and passions of their team and leverage that talent for the good of the business.
So, going back to what Fripp said. Good leaders are a model of their vision, they walk their talk. Good leaders encourage and support their team and followers, empowering them to shine. Good leaders reward desired results and good work. And, finally, they don’t let bad behavior go un-noticed or un-dealt with, for they understand that saying nothing sometimes says more than saying something.
Now it’s your turn:
Do you agree with what Patricia Fripp says about leadership? What are your thoughts about the CareeBliss article? Have you experienced good (or not so good) examples of leadership? What did you learn from those experiences? As always, please share your insights and wisdom in a comment below.