Great Entrepreneurs are Leaders First, Managers Second

The problem with most large corporations today is that they are run by managers rather than leaders. Too often these upper level corporate managers separate themselves from everyone else: they get the best parking spaces, the best offices on the top floor, and the best benefits packages. These managers also eat better lunches, go to conferences in posh locations, and are wined and dined by upper management in other businesses. As a result of this soft, preferential treatment, they often lose touch with the day-to-day business of their company and thus lose touch with their customers, their products, and most of all, their workers. When this happens, their businesses can’t help but falter.

In contrast to this, the hands-on management and leadership style of many entrepreneurs is something that the management teams in large corporations might do well to emulate. So what makes an entrepreneur/leader successful, and what do they do that’s different from the average corporate executive? The answer is probably simpler than you might think.

First, most entrepreneurs think of themselves as leaders first, managers second. Many people can learn to manage, but only a few can become true leaders, marshalling their troops and heading into battle. During his quest to conquer the known world, Alexander the Great was a leader, not a manager. He didn’t separate himself from his men or issue his orders through others. No, he worked on the ground with his men, eating with them, fighting with them, and leading them into battle. When he was done, he wept when he realized that there were no more lands to conquer, and his military feats have never been equaled. Such is the power of leadership over mere management.

Second, successful entrepreneurs feel that being an entrepreneur is a calling, a way of life. Sure, you can study entrepreneurship at some of the best colleges in the world today, but much of what makes an entrepreneur want to be an entrepreneur comes from within. I’ve studied the lives of many successful entrepreneurs, and almost all were involved in little business ventures throughout their youth, and most wanted to do nothing else but start and run their own business.

Successful entrepreneurs also possess desire: a desire to win, to succeed, and to be the best at what they do. It is this inner desire to succeed in running their own business, again often from an early age, that has propelled the most successful entrepreneurs forward.

Great entrepreneurs also work hard, harder than anyone else, to achieve their dreams. In addition to working hard, entrepreneurs are people who run to—not from—problems and challenges, and they are not afraid to take calculated risks. They love solving problems and being the only person or business who can provide a vital product or service to customers who desperately need it.

If you are a budding entrepreneur and you feel that the above describes you—desire, leadership ability, guts, and the ability to work harder than anyone around you—then you’re on the right path, and you just might have what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur.