Becoming a social entrepreneur requires more than a deep desire to see change and challenge the status quo, it also requires strong leadership. As leaders we must be able to inspire, guide and develop others in order to run a successful social entrepreneurship.
There is significant evidence to indicate that leadership can affect the success or failure of an organisation, particularly for small to medium organisations. So it is important that we continually look for ways we can grow and learn. Leadership skills and techniques can be learned, very few people are natural leaders. So be committed to learn and develop leadership skills and qualities.
8 Qualities of a Great Leader for Social Entrepreneurs
1. Have Vision. “The future belongs to those who see possibilities before they become obvious.” John Scully (Former CEO of Pepsi and Apple Computer)
Leaders have a clear sense of where they want to go and how they intend to get there. Vision leads the leader and it paints the target. Leaders see the big picture, then strategically create a plan to achieve these goals.
2. Develop the Entrepreneur in you
This can sometimes be difficult for social entrepreneurs because their main focus is on the change they want to see. However, you need your social entrepreneurship to become financially sustainable to accomplish your vision. Learn how to generate a mindset for success, develop business plans, use social networking strategies, develop a brand and learn from their failures.
3. Good Character. “Leadership is the capacity and will to rally men and women to a common purpose and the character which inspires confidence.” Bernard Montgomery
The character of a leader can be seen when they face the difficult circumstances that life throws at them. When we face challenges we can choose two paths: character or compromise. Have you ever been in a situation where it would be a lot easier to compromise? I have…I wish I could always say I followed the path of character! One thing I have learned though, is when we go the path of character, we gain great respect but it is quickly lost through compromise.
Leaders must be trustworthy before others will follow them. The qualities that establish trust are competence, constancy, being caring, authenticity and reliability.
True commitment inspires and attracts people. It shows them that you have conviction. They will only believe in you if you believe and are committed to your cause. The Law of Buy-In states, people buy into the leader first, then the vision. Commitment will always separate the doers from the dreamers. Social entrepreneurs are big dreamers and visionaries, they want to see change, but we need to stay committed. It is during the difficult times, that our commitment will stand as an anchor in the storm.
5. Makes Decisions
“Never ‘for the sake of peace and quiet’ deny your own experience or convictions.” Dag Hammaarskjold, Nobel Peace Prize Winner. Leaders aren’t afraid to make the tough or unpopular decisions because they have confidence in themselves and in their abilities. They know their indecision wastes opportunities and resources. I have made plenty of wrong decisions over the years, as a leader, but the key is to learn from them and move on.
People will not follow you if they don’t know what you want or where you are going. Good leaders have the ability to convey their ideas to diverse individuals and adjust their styles to meet the needs of the people they lead. Convey your message clearly and seek a response to ensure you have been heard. Developing good listening skills is a big part of communicating…I’m talking about really listening, not thinking about what you are going to say next!
To cultivate competence, leaders need to keep improving and learning. They have a desire to continually learn and grow and are open to new ideas. Leaders follow through with excellence. Willa A. Foater remarked, “Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.”
8. Help others succeed
Leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders. ~Tom Peters. Leaders are not just satisfied with their own success, they empower others to achieve their full potential. They build productive teams through training, inspiring and motivating them. Just as leaders need a mentor or role model, they need to mentor others.
As you become the leader you should be on the inside, you will be able to become the leader you want to be on the outside. People will want to follow you. And when that happens you will be able to tackle even the biggest problems in the world!