As an entrepreneur, you’ll need to wear a lot of different hats throughout your career. And unless you plan to do everything all by yourself, one of those hats will be that of a leader.
Good leaders have the power to make or break companies. They can lead successful businesses into stagnation and break them out of ruts to reach staggering new heights.
Here are the most important lessons you can take from some of the world’s most influential innovators.
“Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.”
Choosing the right people for your team is an age-old conundrum, one which plagues entrepreneurs just as it did the Caesars. Oprah – the first African-American woman to become a billionaire – urges you to put loyalty and grit at the top of your criteria.
“A company is people … employees want to know… am I being listened to or am I a cog in the wheel? People really need to feel wanted.”
Though he might look like the Paddle Pop lion, Richard Branson is anything but sharp of claw when it comes to the people who work for him. Making people feel valued is a good way to get them invested in their work.
"People become motivated when you guide them to the source of their own power and when you make heroes out of employees who personify what you want to see in the organization."
The founder of The Body Shop believes in showing employees how they can best contribute and acknowledging those who embody the company’s values.
“Ignore the people who tell you it won’t work and hire people who embrace your vision.”
Being selective and backing your ideas can really pay off. If he’d had a different attitude, Dell might never have started his computer hardware company (value as of June 2018: $57.2 billion).
"Just because you are CEO, don't think you have landed. You must continually increase your learning, the way you think, and the way you approach the organization."
Okay, so Nooyi isn’t technically an entrepreneur, but given that she served as PepsiCo’s CEO for 12 years – a tenure that saw sales increase by 80 per cent – we think this masterful leader’s advice deserves a spot on this list.
“Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it's amazing what they can accomplish.”
Leadership isn’t just about getting the right people; it’s also about building them up in their own eyes. Walmart founder Walton needed his team to be the best they could be.
Alexa von Tobel
“One of your biggest jobs as a successful leader is to constantly communicate what you're doing, where you're going, why you're going there, and why it's exciting. If your public speaking skills aren't honed, like most aren't, now is the time to brush up on them.”
Want people to follow you through anything? Listen to the founder of LearnVest.com and beef up your communication skills.
Lisa Cash Hanson
"Leadership is the ability to guide others without force into a direction or decision that
leaves them still feeling empowered and accomplished."
Cash Hanson was a Las Vegas entertainer before she decided to strike out on her own. Now she’s the CEO of her own company and, as an award-winning digital marketer, knows a thing or two about influencing people
(Lead image: Oprah Winfrey / Facebook)