If you asked 10 random entrepreneurs why they decided to go into business for themselves, you’d likely hear at least 3 common answers from each:
- The freedom of not working for someone else.
- The adventure of building something from the ground up.
- Being in ultimate control of their income level.
Whatever your reason, be it one of those mentioned above, or something completely different, you need to bear in mind that no company can survive or thrive without a solid leader at its helm.
Here are 5 good reasons your company can’t survive without effective leadership:
1. Leadership establishes and maintains order
When it comes to the human condition, there’s no more scary a scenario than bringing together lots of people from multiple different backgrounds. That’s because we’re not all destined to get along and work together efficiently.
Some of us come from rural backgrounds, where life is slow and predictable. Others come from the mean streets, where one never knows where danger is lurking around the corner. Many others come from a destitute upbringing, where they never knew where their next meal was coming from.
Essentially without order, employees will inevitably spend much of their time and effort competing with each other to get ahead. Many in the company will find it hard to establish common ground, creating friction and unrest.
Quality leadership establishes this sense of order and forces the team to focus on the goals of the company (ie., earn their paycheck), rather than trying to usurp one another all the time.
2. Failure is (almost) imminent
What facts and figures have you heard about how many startups fail inside the first year? 8 out of 10? 9 out of 10? It really doesn’t matter if you have a 10% chance at success or a 20% chance. The odds are definitely stacked against you.
You’re essentially doomed to fail. But here’s the big kicker: Since you’re the head honcho, you have the most to lose. Therefore, you’re the last resort when it comes to heading off failure-inducing thinking and practices.
You’re the one person in the company that sees the vision more clearly than everyone else. If you line up everything just right and stay vigilant, the inevitability of failure goes from imminent to highly improbable. Without you, the team is nothing more than a bunch of overgrown children playing a game of ‘business’.
3. A leader puts the puzzle together
The modern startup landscape is VERY unforgiving. Even the best ideas can still be doomed from the start without proper execution: ie., putting all the little pieces required to run the company effectively and get your products to market, in the most effective way possible.
Again, great ideas aren’t enough. They’re just dreams until you’ve sold your multi-million dollar business and are sitting on the beach in Cuba soaking up the sun with a mojito in each hand. Strong, effective leadership is needed to bring your ideas to market. You need to bring it all together.
You’re counting on it and so are your employees. Research and development, outsourcing, accounting, marketing, fund sourcing, and much more are all elements that need a leader to oversee and make changes as needed.
4. Managers are not actual leaders
In case you’re thinking “I own my company and I’m also the manager,” let’s rethink your role as manager for a second. A manager’s role is to receive orders from higher up, delegate appropriately and at the end of the day, generate more profits than losses.
Managers aren’t CEOs; they’re not the be-all, end-all.
Leaders are the big picture people. You can manage a company and be a leader too, but the goal should always be to pass the torch to someone who can manage the day-to-day for the company, while you work on things like networking and expansion efforts.
5. Most people are born to be led
And they’re lost without someone to point them in the right direction. That’s one of the biggest reasons so many entrepreneurs fail several times before hitting their successes. So few are up to the task of leading, and it’s a skill that isn’t easy to learn either.
Your employees expect to be led. When things go wrong, the first person they’ll blame is the leader, the boss, the owner. The good thing about this is that when solid leadership is given day-in and day-out, employees will follow your lead and do what you say. They’ll also force you, the leader, to be accountable for your decisions and actions.
If you make the right choices, the business will succeed. When you fail, your employees will help you learn from those failures and politely remind you when similar circumstances arise in the future. Good leadership leads to more efficiency within the startup and increases your chances at success.
Very few leaders can cover all the bases when it comes to launching and running a successful startup. There will be bumps along the road that you cannot possibly foresee. Make sure you have at least one mentor, if not several.
And don’t be afraid to lead: The success of the business is counting on its leader!