Exceptional leadership is the core requirement for the success of any business. A great leader in your startup will acts as the catalyst that makes all the other things work together.
Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.Vince Lombardi
Manager Vs Leader
Let’s see it this way; in order to grow, a business needs to achieve efficiencies in multiple areas, and to do so, you need clear lines of communication, responsibility allocation and transparent accountability. A good manager can get things done. But wait! …….. Which things? Even the best manager would need someone to provide him the vision and the direction.
This is where the leadership role comes; a leader is someone who doesn’t just develop the strategy, but also ignites people’s passions and creativity. As a result the teams perform better and better.
Technically, a great manager may not be a good leader, and a good leader may not have enough managerial skills. In simple words;
- A manager without leadership skills lacks vision, clear set of values and ability to keep the team focused on a common goal.
- A leader without managerial skills lacks execution efficiency, process consistency and systematic communication.
Why a Startup Needs a Manager in a Leadership Role?
An organization can have a leader who strategizes the plans and a manager who connects the dots and get things done. And, this type of hierarchy may work in a corporate and enterprise setup, but not at all in startup culture.
Unlike enterprises, startups have limited resources and time. Moreover, they cannot afford multiple layers of management for a variety of reasons. So, it is crucial for a startup to have their managers in leadership role.
The more leaders (who also have hands on managerial skills) you have in your startup, the better and faster it will progress.
The next big question is….
How to Get More Leaders in Your Startup?
To be concise, there are two ways to develop a team for leaders for your startup;
- 1- Seek help of a professional service provider that has expertise in leadership positioning and get a leader onboard.
- 2- Turn your existing employees into leaders.
If you opt for the first method, make sure you deal with a reputable service provider like Thinking Heads that positions leaders who have a particular area of expertise. In case if you opt for the second one, stay calm and work hard, as it is going to take parallel time.
How to Turn Your Existing Employees into Leaders?
Developing leaders in an organization is a long term process and it requires planning, investment (in terms of money as well as time), and consistency. You should know the fact that not everyone can become a leader the same way.
Each employee has a different personality than the other, so you cannot have one size fits all policy for developing leaders. But, here are few important guidelines your startup can follow in order to produce future leaders.
1- Start Early:
Leadership development in a startup should start as soon as possible, right after hiring an employee. Ideally, you should assess and analyze the strengths of each employee periodically (quarterly or monthly) and pick you potential future leaders.
Use big data to discover which employees have what skills and talents and position them accordingly.
2- Rotate Employee Positions:
You may not find leadership qualities in an employee in the first few periodic assessment, but the next assessment may reveal some hidden talents. To find their hidden talents, you need to keep rotating them on different tasks.
Position rotation has proved to be successful for many innovative startups as it exposes the employee to a great deal of different environments and opportunities. As a result one gains more knowledge, develops additional skills and finds new motivations.
3- Challenge Your Employees & Offer Sufficient Support:
Challenging your employees by assigning them unfamiliar tasks is a great way to improve their problem solving skills, which is the key feature of a leader. While you challenge them, do consider that they have enough powers (in terms of access to right tools and resources) to do so.
Challenging them alone may not work at times, so make sure that proper support is available for them. Either guide them yourself or direct them to someone who can help.
4- Provide Relevant Education & Training:
On job training and part time courses are great way to develop your future leaders. There are tons of free online courses and webinars which can help your startup team refine their leadership skills.
Moreover, investing in employee training is never a bad idea. You can organize in-house workshops or gift them a paid course.
5- Improve Their Networking:
Networking to leaders is like water to fish. Encourage your employees to improve their networking skills through training and by letting them interact with current leaders.
Find and create networking opportunities for them, i.e. have them in the trade shows and other events, invite guest speakers in your organization and so on. Even the small networking opportunities can improve their perspectives and stimulate their passion about the job.
The Bottom Line:
A startup can grow faster and better with effective leadership and autonomous teams. Develop passion in your employees and they will become the biggest factors in the success of your business. But remember, this is a continuous process and you need to reevaluate and rethink your efforts periodically.