At the outset of first, second or just about any entrepreneurial venture, founders have to make a crucial decision on which leadership style they should ideally stick to. The choice of entrepreneurial leadership style can make a big difference. What should founders of a bootstrapping business entity do?
People with good business acumen decide early on how they’re going to manage their new ventures. A bootstrapping business is much different from an established enterprise with ongoing cash flow and proven business processes. Building a new company from ground up takes brains, sweat, dedication, and leadership.
While most founders are natural leaders, they are not always aware of their leadership style. Here’re the two main leadership styles that startup founders can be categorized into:
Such business leaders stick to their personal vision and make sure everyone else in the company gets aligned with it.
How Steve Jobs inculcated the unique design culture at Apple Inc. is a fine example of assertive leadership.
In this leadership style, founders drive all of their team members to meet a given set of goals. In most cases, the top management comes with well defined goals (WHAT) and lays down a set of methods (HOW) on achieving these goals. Great leaders made after dinner sessions to understand goals of the organization to their subordinates.
An empowering leader does not centralize leadership roles. Instead, he focuses on making every team member an active part of the decision making process.
The goal in this case is to get the best out of every person involved in a project.
Many businesses employ this leadership style at various levels to ensure maximum involvement of their early employees in decision making.
Here is a good story on on Leadership Qualities Entrepreneur Must Have.
What’s best for Bootstrapping Businesses?
A startup needs to stick to the vision. All founders and early employees need to have a clear idea of where they want to be in let’s say 2 years. They cannot afford to lose the focus especially if they are trying to do something, which hasn’t been done earlier.
So, during the early days, assertive leadership style works the best. Done right, it results in a organization culture.
What would have happened if Apple Inc.’s designers and software developers did not comply with the vision Steve Jobs had for the company?
But, as a ‘bootstrapping’ business moves towards a ‘sustainable,’ and finally a ‘profitable enterprise’ stage, it cannot always continue with assertive leadership style. Leading business speakers (like these speakers from Promotivate) can also help getting into success with new Strategies
A growing company has to introduce new processes every few weeks as it hires more people, gets new clients onboard or prepares to scale. During this stage, assertive leaders can set goals but ultimately, it’s a team of empowering leaders within the organization who can deliver results, time and again.
Assertiveness wins early on but with time, bootstrapping businesses must create a fine combination of the both. A founder may, for example, indicate the set of targets (WHAT) that a team of 20 employees should focus on but how these targets are to be achieved, gets more complicated as the organization grows bigger. This is precisely where empowering leadership can save the day.