Project Management

Entrepreneurs As Leaders

From the Servant Leadership: Serve to Be Great Blog
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This blog is about leadership as it applies to projects and project management, but also as it applies to society in general. The bloggers here manage projects and lead teams in both business and volunteer environments, and are all graduates of PMI's Leadership Institute Master Class. We hope to bring insight into the challenges we all experience in our projects and in our day-to-day work, providing helpful tidbits to inspire you to take action to improve—whether in your personal life, your business/work life or on your projects. Read, comment and share your experiences as we share ours. Let’s make the pie bigger! Grab a slice!

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Cameron McGaughy
Catalin Dogaru
Mike Frenette
Suzan Cho
Jonathan Lee
Tolga Özel
Graham Briggs
Cecilia Boggi

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Over the last two years, I met a quite number of entrepreneurs looking for investors to present their ideas. A few of them were successful in finding funds for their projects. The reasons are very much linked with their leadership competencies. I became aware that the journey of an entrepreneur shows quite a few similarities with the journey of a leader.

Entrepreneurs are, by nature, people who step forward to achieve an idea. This is a fundamental leadership skill. In addition, like leaders, they need to have a great vision, need to influence people and need to engage people to achieve their goals.

Great entrepreneurs, in both social and commercial domains, often start the journey when they are dissatisfied  with the present and develop a vision for a better future. The degree of innovation, business benefit and social impact will increase the chance of engagement with others around the vision.

Good entrepreneurs engage people to achieve their goals. They find partners, ask advisors, recruit staff, engage investors and, most importantly, engage customers. This requires, asin leadership, strong influencing skills to attract people first on their vision and later with  high rates of progress and excellent value delivery.

Good entrepreneurs are also good at performing.  They plan and coordinate tasks,  and are able to break the journey down into smaller sub-journeys. They cultivate people, mentor and delegate to bring the team to peak  performance. They walk with the followers (partners, staff, investors, customers and  society) to achieve the goal.

The journey of an entrepreneur is filled with uncertainties and risks. Like leaders, entrepreneurs need to have a sense for the unknowable and be able to foresee the unforeseeable.

I believe the success of an entrepreneur is very much linked to leadership competencies. What would you share on this?


Posted by Tolga Özel on: February 16, 2016 01:02 AM | Permalink

Comments (7)

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Yes Leadership is utmost important. Along with the same business acumen and business strategy knowledge would add important experience and exposure to make the business success.

Great Information and subject.


Entrepreneur: "One who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise"

I think you are spot on, Tolga! Organize, manage and take risks. Sounds like a leader to me! In fact, I would think that entrepreneurs who are not good leaders either end up failing, or at least not growing their business or enterprise.

That begs the question, given the name of this blog - How many entrepreneurs who are successful turn out to be SERVANT leaders as opposed to other sorts of leaders? It might be an interesting study!

Great article .

I also believe that the success of an entrepreneur is very much linked to leadership competencies.

Indeed there are some overlaps between entrepreneurs and leaders.
There also are significant differences:

Entrepreneurs are mostly seen as pursuing economic goals, they prioritize progress, funding, success and use any kind of resources to achieve their targets. Mostly they think about products / outputs, maybe customers. Entrepreneur do not need ethicial behavior as a success factor.

Leaders are seen as pursuing goals to be achieved with people. Project management leaders and servant leaders in particular are first looking at the satisfaction of the team, enabling the team by inspiring them. Outputs then are achieved by the team in the best case without the leaders further intervention. Leaders on can succeed if they act ethically.

The entrepreneur is able to see and open a path where others see nothing.
The leader is able to let others follow that path behind him with enthusiasm.
The servant leader is who comes back to encourage and help the last to overcome himself.

Dear Tolga
Interesting is your perspective on the topic: "Entrepreneurs As Leaders"

Thanks for sharing

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