Expectations placed upon leadership are understandably high. We expect our leaders to have perfect strategy and superhuman decision-making skills. The truth is, some of the most important attributes for a leader are curiosity, learning and a constant desire to iterate and improve. Without the ability to listen to others, to embrace new ideas and to change course in the face of new information, success will always be out of reach.
An enquiring nature and an open mind should be true of any leader, but for entrepreneurial leaders it is of paramount importance. Being able to absorb and assimilate new information gives the greatest chance of success. Entrepreneurs thrive on the new and the innovative and are highly desirable to companies of all sizes to help them generate and test out new ideas and to keep fresh and disruptive thinking at the forefront of the business.
The willingness to change
Being able to take on board new concepts and ideas isn’t always enough to enable effective leadership – sometimes it can effectively take ‘unlearning’ what you think you know. There are many examples of new, exciting things being repeatedly rejected by those who couldn’t accept something radical; for example engineer Steven Sasson of Kodak invented a digital camera in 1975, but the company were not convinced by the new technology. They were couldn’t understand why consumers would want to view images on a TV screen when film was so inexpensive. They eventually made the move to digital 18 years later.
Fostering an open culture
Another skill that can be highly beneficial to leadership is a level of empathy that allows you to pick up on how employees are feeling. Approachable and understanding leaders that balance their skills and expertise with a forthright and open attitude may find that their employees are harder-working and more loyal.
In new markets, start-up environments and areas of business that are being created from scratch, the ability to bring together a cohesive team can make all the difference. As technologies and businesses develop, teams must communicate closely and react quickly to cope with the pace of change.
Confidence is key
Having the confidence to look at a range of options, make sound judgements and be decisive is a key business skill. Experience in business can give you a level of assuredness, but it’s also important to have confidence in the people around you. Entrepreneurial leaders rely on their colleagues to fill gaps in skills and knowledge. By using sound decision-making processes, they increase the chances of success in new fields.
An entrepreneurial mindset isn’t just something certain people have and others don’t. It’s a learned skillset which you can develop, given the right environment.
The University of York has a suite of 100% online Masters degrees in Leadership and Management to develop these skills in aspiring business leaders. As all learning materials are delivered completely online, you can study around work or family commitments whenever it suits you. This in turn means there’s no need to take an extended study break and you can apply what you learn as you go, keeping your current grade and salary. There are pay-per-module options available, to reduce large, up-front costs and also the a government-backed loan for those that are eligible to assist with course fees. With six start dates per year, you can begin your studies and personal growth as soon as you’re ready.