The Chief Executive Officer is the captain of the ship or the captain of his or her team. While it might appear as if entrepreneurs just become leaders when they sign their paperwork and file their LLC, in reality it takes a lot to be a leader of a business and to be the person in charge. Entrepreneurship is a marathon and for those ventures that are able to sustain and grown the test of time, it is through the vision and outlook of a great and strong leader that it happens. It is easy to look at a person and say him or her is or is not a good leader, but when forced to break down and explain the actual ingredients of a leader it becomes more and more difficult to manage.
In order to lead, someone has to follow. Without followers, a leader is not a leader. Harris Glasser, the author of It’s My Money & I Want It, says that “a good leader sets an example to follow. A good leader needs to be the example of what a good leader is.”
Leaders actually care about how their team or group is doing. They try to see the world through others eyes. Citing his book Think Like A Black Belt and his exercise with the junior instructors in his martial arts program, Jim Bouchard said “leaders need to be strong, but “empathetic and have the best interest of his or her followers at heart.” Rather than just doing whatever they want, great leaders seem to be able to see the world through the eyes of others.
This could arguably be the most important aspect of leadership, if a leader doesn’t listen how can they truly know what their followers want? Mark Herschberg a leadership teacher at MIT said a good leader “listens both to his group or constituency as well as those outside of it and then promotes a course of action based on understanding and backed by integrity.”
What separates leaders from others is that they don’t have the guts or courage to just do it. Bouchard said that courage is “that quality that allows us to act in the face of our fears.” He said that his junior instructors ”understood instinctively that without fear, there is no authentic expression of courage”
Leaders must be able to direct people to where they are going. As Billy Arcement said, followers “must know where [they] are going before [they] can successfully lead others to a destination.” Betty Shotton says that leaders are able to “rally and lead others towards accomplishing a common goal in the future, something greater than the individual.