As Katelyn and I grew Worldgate from a four-person startup to a full-fledged firm that offered consulting and staffing services to public school districts, the two of us had to evolve in our leadership roles. To this day, I’m the ‘driver’—action-oriented and focused on sales and implementation. Katelyn’s leadership style is complementary to mine—she keeps the ship steady by keeping our operational structure running like a well-oiled machine.
As a leader, you’ll be most effective once you’ve identified your style of leadership. For instance, I’m a relational and facilitation leader. This means that I’m at my best when I’m spending time with Worldgate’s managers, partners, and clients.
Visionary leaders never blindly head towards their intended destination and hope for the best. Rather, they make sure that all stakeholders of their organization share their vision and that everyone knows what they need to do to make it a reality.
A handful of practices will maximize your impact on your organization as a leader:
- Delegate tasks and responsibilities that others can do. This also gives your employees an opportunity to increase their skills and become invested in your vision.
- Encourage initiative, creativity, and risk-taking. Instead of putting down or discounting others’ ideas, let your people run with their ideas—even if they’re risky. Whenever possible, reward your employees’ creativity.
- Coach the right way. Be sure to coach your employees before they start a task they’ve never worked on before. If you can, make coaching a regular part of their schedule. In your role as coach, be sure to guide and instruct, rather than hurt their self-esteem.
- Share knowledge and information with your team liberally. The more your employees know, the better they understand the ‘why’ behind everything that they do. Plus, the easier it is for them to access information, the better they’ll be at making necessary adjustments.
- Support without dominating. It might be tempting, but avoid micromanaging your people. Instead, apply techniques from coaching and other areas to support them while empowering them to act independently, creatively, and joyfully.
As you might imagine, these practices are far from simple steps in a cookbook that you can run through without second thought. Rather, you’ll have to apply a ton of social skills and emotional intelligence to effectively lead as the visionary you aspire to be. The good news is that becoming such a leader is within your grasp—you just have to be willing to be not just an entrepreneur, but a people person.