In Real Leaders Don't Follow, author Steve Tobak explains how real entrepreneurs can start, build, and run successful companies in highly competitive global markets. He provides unique insights from an insider perspective to help you make better-informed business and leadership decisions. In this edited excerpt, Tobak offers his insights into the myths behind four popular styles of leadership and why not one of them is true.
Some of the...
When no one is around, I can vouch for the fact that leaders do talk to themselves. During those conversations with ourselves, we may be assessing an issue, thinking of a solution or seeing how a response should be best formulated when giving information to make sure it sounds the way it’s meant to sound.
What sets remarkable leaders above all others is their ability to tell themselves these truths everyday, which keep them...
0118Tanya Benedicto Klich
In a market flush with startups, it’s tough to stand out. As a CEO, you likely work tirelessly for that “takeoff” moment by dreaming up viral marketing campaigns or pitching to key investors.
But while focusing on external growth, it’s important to give clear direction to the people who keep your machine running. “People can't follow unless they know where you're going,” says Ian Siegel, co-founder of...
Successful entrepreneurship starts with successful leadership. The ability to create, inspire and motivate a team of people to pursue one shared goal is a powerful thing. It can also be a challenging feat to pull off.
Luckily, we’re here to help. While no two leaders’ management styles are exactly alike, this year at Entrepreneur we’ve uncovered common behaviors, strategies and skills that unite effective leaders (along...
026By Nicole Fallon Taylor
One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a leader is thinking you always need to have the answer. Yes, people look to you for guidance, but part of guiding a team means helping them learn and discover solutions for themselves, rather than feeding them the "right" answers — which may not even be right at all.
Instead, you should strive to be curious, open-minded and inquisitive, which will in turn drive your employees to do the...
138By Chad Brooks
Despite a desire to groom future leaders, many business executives aren't supporting their company's leadership development efforts, new research finds.
More than 30 percent of the executives surveyed said a lack of support from the top leaders in their organization is hampering leadership development, according to a study from Korn Ferry, a people and organizational advisory firm.
"Given the central role leadership plays in the success of...
The holidays are upon us, which among other things means there will be lots and lots of dining with family and friends. For years, we were the only ones in our family with children, so we ended up being the hosts for most holiday celebrations. We didn’t mind -- we love having every one center around the children especially at Christmas. Christmas is for children.
As hosts, it always meant that we sat at the head of the table on...
Clearly, a company’s prosperity hinges on the strength of its leader. Yet while stress and responsibility come with the role, that leader does not necessarily have to face these things alone: A network of friends and family can be a safety net and, on the surface, a means for the leader to balance his or her life.
At a deeper level, those friends and family members can be a huge asset in another regard: Their influence can affect how a...
022By Nicole Fallon Taylor
When you move up to a leadership position, your job becomes helping your team accomplish all the day-to-day processes that keep the business going — the same processes you were likely doing yourself as a lower-level employee.
Many new managers struggle with this transition away from smaller tasks, but it's important to learn how to delegate. The higher-level strategic planning you're now responsible for takes time and energy, and...
From Enron to Volkswagen, we’ve watched in horror as leaders who lack integrity have destroyed businesses time and again. But the real tragedy happens when regular leaders, who are otherwise great, sabotage themselves, day after day, with mistakes that they can’t see but are obvious to everyone else.
In most cases, it’s slight and often unintentional gaps in integrity that hold leaders, their employees, and their companies...
Rarely does someone leave a job because of the expense report policy, the location of his or her workstation or the wall color. Most people quit a job because they can no longer tolerate their boss or they have lost faith in senior management. This is can be especially true in a fledgling company where the actions of a manager or leader are magnified. Conversely, people will stay at a company or in a job during thick and thin if they...
09By Philip H Horvath
Innovation leaders today don’t have an easy job. Tasked with bringing Innovation to their organization, they often face a variety of interpretations of innovation throughout the organization, a lack of comprehensive understanding of what innovation really entails, and what it requires to truly embed innovation in a way that it sustains itself.
To equip innovation leaders with tools for communicating about innovation requires a coherent...
During the last 20 years I've had the absolute honor to grow several very successful small businesses. I'm not a corporate CEO of a stuffy office culture, or someone who lives in the C-Suite realm of leadership. My companies were in ecommerce, where I built a $4 million company selling kitchenware, alternative-health products, fitness items, books and other home items, Then there were vitamin stores, some in the ecommerce realm,...
One of the ironies about being a leader is that you sometimes wield a lot less power than people think. Even a job as lofty (when done right) as president of the United States is seen as powerful, but really isn’t. Sure, at debates, like last night’s great one in Milwaukee, candidates are always asked questions that begin with, “As president, will you...” but we all know that presidents alone can’t really do anything but...
012by Will Yakowicz
Find out some of the out-of-the-box ways businesses help their employees produce innovative ideas.
Although it may be a challenge, creativity--like any other skill--can be mastered.
Tom Kelley, a partner at design firm IDEO, writes in Harvard Business Review about how you can be a creative leader who in turn pushes employees to be more creative. Below, check out the three core principles he says will help you stay ahead of the...
013By Chad Brooks
Although business leaders shouldn't treat all their employees the same, they shouldn't show too much favoritism to their best workers either, new research finds.
Treating some team members much better, or worse, than others can adversely affect a team's performance. However, treating everyone the same can also harm performance, found a study recently published online in the journal Personnel Psychology. Researchers said the key is finding a...
017by Danielle Beurteaux
Taylor Swift, pop music force, wrote a post on her Tumblr last week directed at Apple and its decision to not pay artists during the first three months of the company’s new streaming service, Apple Music.
A short while later came Apple’s response, from Taylor_Swift_3,_2012SVP Eddy Cue, via Twitter, and a policy change.
Swift has spoken out before about what she sees as the inequities in music streaming business model. Last...
036By Nicole Fallon
Of all the resources professionals have at their disposal, a mentor is arguably one of the most helpful. Articles, books, and trial and error can be great teachers when you're navigating your career, but nothing can replace advice from someone who has been there before you.
"The guidance of a mentor can be very important," said Rachel Martinez, founder of the Are You Kidding sock company. "Many times, it is helpful to learn from others'...
I travel around the country every week facilitating leadership development programs. I find that companies of all sizes make significant mistakes when it comes to developing their leaders. If you want to make more money, increase morale and drive productivity, focus on your leadership team. After all, you can’t do it all yourself.
Here are five mistakes companies make that lead to less effective leaders and the solutions for each....
07By Nicole Fallon
If you're a female CEO, you may have experienced firsthand how intimidating it can be to get up in front of a room of male investors or directors and give a presentation. Despite the shrinking gender gap in business leadership, men do still dominate the playing field in many industries, and being a woman in that world isn't without its challenges.
As an African American female business leader, Phrantceena Halres has risen above a double...
Lately, I’ve been hearing from friends who are struggling to make the right decision. “I want to write a book but I don’t know where to start.” “I’d love to quit my job, but what would I do?” “I’ve always wanted to travel, but can’t find the time.” In a way, they’re all saying the same thing: "I'm scared."
Thirty years from now, you won’t remember what cereal you chose at the grocery store. On your death bed,...
Say what you will about opposites attracting -- the fact is that for the most part, we feel drawn towards those who are most like us. This is especially the case in upper levels of management. A quick look at leaders within companies will reveal that there tends to be a common culture -- a workplace not of diversity, but sameness -- in thought and action.
But while it’s only natural to appreciate those who follow and never...
016By Nicole Fallon
At its core, the basic premise of business leadership will never change. There will always be a need for individuals who can motivate, inspire and encourage their teams to work together toward common goals. But the environment in which leaders are expected to accomplish this mission has transformed dramatically in recent years, and those who have been at the top for some time now need to figure out how to navigate the modern business world....
015By Nicole Fallon
Leadership isn't about having a C-level title, a corner office or the power to make important company decisions. The best leaders know that their success or failure depends on their ability to inspire and guide their teams. Meanwhile, official corporate culture statements often highlight traits like "integrity" and "collaboration" as core values from the top down. But do today's executives truly practice what they preach?
According to a...
Over the course of our careers, we've all had our share of terrible bosses and good bosses. I've only had one great boss.
He was the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, and I was a member of his executive team. During his tenure he transformed our company with his hands-on leadership style by demonstrating daily the following five lessons that contributed to our company's success.
1. Customers come first.
While there are many...
Last week, newly-anointed Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced via tweet that he would give a third of his stock options, that's approximately one percent of the total issuance with a market value of $197 million as of October 28, to all Twitter employees.
While he still holds an additional two percent of company shares, this unprecedented act of generosity holds some valuable lessons for leaders.
1. He'll retain Twitter's most...
019By Chad Brooks
Women who want to be seen as better leaders in the workplace, need to be more assertive when working with others, new research finds.
When working in groups, women get more credit for their leadership than men do when exhibiting assertive and take-charge behaviors, according to a study recently published in the Academy of Management Journal.
The natural inclination of the male-dominated teams in the study was to give men more credit for...
By Nicole Fallon
Gaining a leadership position generally means that someone has done something right. He or she has demonstrated the ability to remain graceful under pressure, inspire colleagues and execute plans to move the company forward. But leaders are far from perfect, and like anyone else, many of them need to work on certain things. Here are five common leadership weaknesses and how you can work to improve them.
Accomplishing goals without providing...
One of the biggest challenges small business owners face today is creating a culture where they and their team members can be held responsible for getting the right kind of results. For example, you and your team might project that with current market demands and the right mix of new clients, your company should be able to bring in an additiional 15 percent in business this year.
The challenge is, how do you get everyone, and I mean...
According to the U.S. Small Business Association, nearly 540,000 new small businesses start each month. While half of these new ventures will celebrate a five-year anniversary, 70 percent of them will fail within 10 years.
While much has been made about a difficult economy over the last eight years, the fact is most businesses fail not because of a poor business climate or complicated external market forces. They fail because of...
It is every CEO’s desire, and some would rightly argue obligation, to leave a clear, dynamic, and long-lasting legacy. Although many have successful careers in leadership, not all depart leaving behind clear and easy-to-follow foot prints for the organization to follow.
Legacy-building is hard work, and knowing how to begin can be the toughest part. More than creating fond memories and being a likeable boss, a CEO’s legacy...
While Bill Gates may not be as mythologized in popular culture as Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg, there is no denying his impact on the tech world and beyond.
The man who produced the operating system that would usher in the era of the personal computer is keeping himself plenty busy these days. Through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, he's attempting to develop vaccines and create accessible education programs in...
We now live in a hyper-connected world, where cultural borders have become blurred with the adoption of technology and the increase in diversity in our workplaces. Without a doubt, successful entrepreneurs and managers need not only understand these cultural differences but embrace them as well for the many benefits they offer businesses.
Unfortunately, I too often feel like our business culture is moving backwards faster than it is...
In his book Think Big Act Bigger, Jeffrey Hayzlett shares core lessons you need to tie visions to actions, get ahead of the competition, and achieve your business goals. In this edited excerpt, the author explains why it's critical to get your hands dirty every now and then.
How can you expect people to do the things you want them to do if you won’t do them, haven’t done them, don’t know them well enough to understand...
09Travis Bradberry ,
Once again, Google has topped Fortune magazine’s list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For. This marks Google’s second year in a row at the top of the list, and their sixth victory overall.
Most people assume that Google tops the list because of their great benefits and all of the fun and perks that they pack into the Googleplex. But that’s just part of the equation.
Google knows that people don’t leave companies;...
Travis Bradberry ,
If you want to be a leader whom people follow with absolute conviction, you have to be a likable leader. Tyrants and curmudgeons with brilliant vision can command a reluctant following for a time, but it never lasts. They burn people out before they ever get to see what anyone is truly capable of.
When I speak to smaller audiences, I often ask them to describe the best and worst leaders they have ever worked for. People...
010By Richard Feloni
The Virgin Group chairman has built an empire thanks in large part to his commitment to being a good leader.
Virgin Group chairman Richard Branson has spent his entire career pushing the envelope.
It's resulted in an eclectic and expansive set of companies under the Virgin name, including airlines, a bank, and most recently a hotel chain. He's a self-made billionaire who dropped out of high school and hasn't stopped doing things...
Heather R. Huhman
When middle managers fall short, senior leadership may be to blame. In fact, a January study by Vanderbilt University discovered poor senior-level managers can influence middle managers to become poor managers, as well.
When senior managers treat middle managers poorly, there’s a chain reaction. Middle managers then treat their employees poorly, leading unhappy employees to leave the company.
Don’t treat middle managers...
In stark contrast to the corporate world -- where people in large companies are promoted into leadership roles only after working their way up through the ranks -- leadership development in the startup arena often happens overnight or even by accident.
Entrepreneurs often have to go without management training, development coaching or a course called “CEO 101.” They have to figure out out how to be a leader on the fly.
Empowering team members may seem like a tired topic, but its ubiquity exists for a reason. For startups, it’s a make-or-break proposition.
The simple definition of empowerment -- to enable or permit -- is drab, but the type of empowerment that I find valuable involves inspiring team members to become better than they are today.
These are my strategies for giving employees the confidence they need to succeed and work well...
06Thuy Sindell and Milo Sindell
All of us would like to know the secret to great leadership. Well, here’s the secret: it depends. It depends on what you are good at, what you are terrible at, and what you decide to leverage -- those Hidden Skills that are in the middle.
In our experience working with hundreds of leaders, we have identified 28 skills that are necessary to achieve professional success. What we have also found is that for each...
by Kenneth Mikkelsen and Harold Jarche
As Juan Manuel Fangio exited the chicane before the blind Tabac corner in the 1950 Monaco Grand Prix, he stomped on the brake. It was a counterintuitive reaction for a racing driver exiting a corner — but one that likely saved his life. By slowing down he avoided plowing into a multi-car pile-up, which was just out of sight beyond the turn. In racing folklore, Fangio’s evasive action is considered a miracle....
Ask just about any expert on leadership, and you’ll get the same answer: The leader of any group – large or small, a nonprofit or a for-profit company – sets the organization’s tone and directs its focus. That’s why it is essential that a nonprofit’s leadership development initiatives begin at the very top, with the chief executive officer (CEO) or executive director (for simplicity’s sake, we’ll refer throughout this article to the generic...
By its nature, the hiring and on-boarding process is full of doubts and uncertainty, particularly when that hire will be taking on a leadership role within your organization. One article can't eliminate the difficulty. But we can offer some practical advice that can help you and your organization hire the right leader in the first place and help him or her make the transition into the new job and start living into your Plan A on Day One. Our advice is based...
Everyone has their own ideas of what traits make a good leader. Generally they focus on confidence, integrity, honesty, humility, empathy and so on.
But superior leadership requires going beyond personality characteristics and qualities. Exceptional leaders have developed abilities that, if you didn’t know better, you’d swear were supernatural. The good news is, you don’t have to be born on another planet, bitten by a spider...
017by Kirk Kramer and Preeta Nayak
Call it the “guilt list.” Most of us carry around in our heads a litany of the things we know we ought to do but somehow never get around to. Whether the task is to get back into shape, clean out the garage, or spend more time coaching staff, good intentions must do battle with inertia and old habits, and all too often, the conflict ends in stalemate. That’s certainly the case with many nonprofit leaders. They grasp the...
Becoming a great leader isn’t something that happens overnight, but it can be achieved through discipline, hard work and a commitment to improvement through experience. Great leaders aren’t born, as some people suggest; instead, they are shaped over time. And, while what makes a “great” leader in one application doesn’t always apply to others, there are some general rules that all great leaders follow.
If becoming a great...
Wise businesspeople and leaders listen carefully. They listen to their peers, they listen to their staffs and they listen to their friends and family.
Carefully listening is especially important during business meetings. Many managers and leaders act as though they’re listening to their teams when they’re not. Often, the words spoken in meetings fall on deaf ears.
Listening is an art, after all, and not everyone knows how to...
As a staunch supporter of corporate America, it gives me no pleasure to admit that some of the biggest jerks I’ve known in my life have been senior executives.
Wait, it gets worse.
I was one of them.
Yes, I’m afraid it’s true. Most of the guys I thought were jerks would probably say the same thing about me. I don’t suppose we’ll ever know who the real jerks were. Probably all of us.
If that’s not confusing enough,...