15 Effective Ways for Entrepreneurs to Improve their Leadership Skills


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15 Effective Ways for Entrepreneurs to Improve their Leadership Skills

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15 Effective Ways for Entrepreneurs to Improve their Leadership Skills

Entrepreneurs seeking to sharpen their leadership prowess will find valuable insights in this collection of fifteen seasoned perspectives. Featuring advice from founders and CEOs, our experts share wisdom from learning and avoiding repeating mistakes to honing skills through freelancer teams, offering a diverse toolkit for effective leadership enhancement.

  • Learn and Avoid Repeating Mistakes
  • Prioritize Self-Care and Mindfulness
  • Inspire and Steer Your Startup
  • Encourage Open Communication and Empowerment
  • Embrace Vulnerability for Collaboration
  • Focus on Weaknesses to Improve
  • Use Narrative to Inspire Teams
  • Start with Authentic Small Steps
  • Delegate to Empower Your Team
  • Balance Strategic and Hands-On Leadership
  • Communicate Clearly to Align Teams
  • Welcome Feedback for Growth
  • Be Willing to Make Hard Decisions
  • Practice Candor to Build Trust
  • Hone Skills Through Freelancer Teams

Learn and Avoid Repeating Mistakes

In a startup environment, you run on strict timelines with limited data. You are bound to make mistakes, which is perfectly alright. No one will judge you if you accept them with empathy. But it would be wrong to repeat them. As a founder, be prepared to sign up for a skewed learning curve with several bumps along the way, but if you are making progress overall, that’s what matters in the end.

A quick cheat code to avoid mistakes: Hire people smarter than you.

Abhinav YadavAbhinav Yadav
Founder, Wavel AI

Prioritize Self-Care and Mindfulness

Self-care and mindfulness are indispensable aspects of leadership that I’ve found incredibly valuable in my role as an entrepreneur.

First, prioritizing self-care is not a sign of weakness but a pillar of effective leadership. As leaders, we often put immense pressure on ourselves, and neglecting self-care can lead to burnout. I’ve learned that taking time for self-care activities like meditation, yoga, or simply disconnecting from work allows me to recharge and make better decisions.

Mindfulness is equally transformative. It keeps me present and empathetic in leadership. Being fully engaged in the moment helps me make more thoughtful choices, reduces stress, and ultimately enhances leadership effectiveness.

Echo WangEcho Wang
CEO and Founder, Yoga Kawa

Inspire and Steer Your Startup

Think of your company as a ship sailing toward a distant island. You, the entrepreneur, are the captain with the map and destination in mind. But it’s the crew, fueled by your leadership, who navigate the storms, raise the sails, and keep the ship moving forward. You’ll need to gather a talented team, motivate and engage them.


Sometimes, you will need to make tough decisions and navigate challenges. Leadership encompasses a multifaceted skill set, and while you might have a brilliant idea and passion for your venture, it’s your ability to lead and inspire others that will ultimately determine your success. Don’t underestimate the power of strong leadership in steering your startup toward its bright future.

Ronan HannanRonan Hannan
Principal, Proven Partners

Encourage Open Communication and Empowerment

One valuable insight from my experience to help entrepreneurs enhance their leadership skills is the significance of fostering a culture of open communication and empowerment within their teams. According to FreshBooks research, 54% of entrepreneurs cite communication as the most critical skill in the workplace.

As COO, I encourage my team members to express their ideas and concerns, and feedback creates a collaborative environment that makes them feel valued. It has always helped us to boost morale and cultivate a sense of ownership and commitment among team members.

In addition, effective leadership comes with a strong work ethic and a commitment to the organization’s values. Transparency in decision-making and admitting mistakes also build trust and credibility.

Cultivating open communication and empowering team members are essential for entrepreneurs looking to enhance their leadership skills and build successful, motivated teams.

Kirill ChabanovKirill Chabanov
COO, aqua cloud

Embrace Vulnerability for Collaboration

Consider embracing vulnerability. This might seem counter-intuitive, but showing your team that you don’t have all the answers can be powerful. It invites collaboration and shows you value their input.

Scott GabdullinScott Gabdullin
CEO and Founder, Learo

Focus on Weaknesses to Improve

Understand your weaknesses more than your strengths. Being an entrepreneur is not easy, and to make sure your decision is right, knowing where you need help and creating self-awareness about it, instead of neglecting it, is very important.

When I started, I wanted to seek every opportunity. This led to overcommitment, and without knowing it, it became one of my weaknesses. This resulted in not giving proper attention to each project and a feeling of being overwhelmed, while losing focus on tasks. Working on my weaknesses helped me lessen the load. If the deadline was too tight or the expectations were unrealistic, I communicated with the client about the events, which helped me create a transparent relationship with the client as well.

Surely, your strengths are a major positive boost for you and your work. However, being aware of your weaknesses in the workplace helps you make your work better, while acknowledging them. This helps in setting the right example while being a great leader.

Dan FriedDan Fried
CEO, Specialty Metals

Use Narrative to Inspire Teams

In my journey, I’ve learned that narrative leadership is pivotal. Once, during a critical project phase, I noticed my team’s morale was low. Instead of resorting to conventional motivational speeches, I shared a personal story about how my early CPR training helped save a life at a local park.

This story not only demonstrated the real-world impact of our work but also connected with my team on a human level. It taught me that sharing experiences, rather than just directives, can profoundly inspire and guide a team. This approach has since become a cornerstone of my leadership style, fostering a more engaged and motivated team.

Haya SubhanHaya Subhan
General Manager, CPR Training

Start with Authentic Small Steps

Start with small steps, rather than doing something incredibly inorganic by trying to emulate a leadership style you learned in a course or workshop. Your team will always be able to tell if you are not being authentic, and this can cause people to keep their guard up around you as they can tell they are being “led” or “managed.” It has likely happened to you at one point or another, and I imagine it was as uncomfortable for you as it was for me.

Think of leadership as a skill to hone over time, and start with one or two small actions that you can build upon, like working on your active listening or improving the clarity of your communications to your team.

Greg ListopadGreg Listopad
Consulting Partner, November Consulting

Delegate to Empower Your Team

My advice is to delegate effectively. As a leader, it’s tempting to try to handle everything yourself, but delegation is key to efficient management. It allows you to focus on strategic planning and allows your team to grow and develop their skills. I’ve learned to trust my team with responsibilities and empower them to make decisions, which has not only improved my leadership skills but also boosted team morale and productivity.

Shawn PlummerShawn Plummer
CEO, The Annuity Expert

Balance Strategic and Hands-On Leadership

From my experience as an online entrepreneur in the travel industry, a key to effective leadership is the ability to balance strategic thinking with a hands-on approach.

While it’s crucial to set a clear vision and long-term goals for your business, actively participating in the day-to-day operations allows you to stay connected with the challenges and opportunities at the ground level. This hands-on involvement not only builds credibility with your team but also enables you to make informed decisions based on real-time insights. Striking the right balance between visionary leadership and practical involvement helps create a dynamic and responsive business environment, fostering innovation and adaptability in the fast-paced world of online travel entrepreneurship.

Ronan McLoughlinRonan McLoughlin
Founder, Dream Overwater Bungalows

Communicate Clearly to Align Teams

Effective communication is essential in leadership as it helps in creating an environment of openness and trust. As an entrepreneur myself, I’ve found that being clear and transparent in my communication is key to setting the right expectations with my team.

For instance, when discussing a specific project, I ensure that every team member understands their role and the project’s objectives. This clarity eliminates confusion and aligns everyone’s efforts. This approach also encourages them to voice their thoughts and concerns, which leads to a more collaborative, respectful, and cohesive team.

Bayu PrihanditoBayu Prihandito
Certified Psychology Consultant, Life Coach, Founder, Life Architekture

Welcome Feedback for Growth

One golden nugget I’ve learned is to embrace feedback like a long-lost friend. It’s a game-changer. When your team feels comfortable sharing their thoughts, a lot of interesting things can happen.

Don’t just nod and smile; actively seek feedback, and when you get it, listen to it! It’s your secret weapon for improvement. It might sting a bit sometimes, but that’s where the real growth happens. So, welcome feedback with open arms and watch your leadership skills soar.

Sarah BossSarah Boss
Clinical Director, The Balance Rehab Clinic

Be Willing to Make Hard Decisions

One realization that helped me get over my fear of leadership work is that, when you get right down to it, it’s just like a lot of other tasks in any organization: It’s just work, and somebody has to do it.

In a lot of situations, simply being willing to step up and make those hard decisions, run those boring meetings, and have those difficult conversations will take you a long way. Sure, there’s some amount of talent involved, as with most things, but talent ultimately doesn’t matter nearly as much as sheer willingness to do the work. Get started. Dive in. You’ll make mistakes, but you’ll learn from them. Leadership isn’t magical; it’s just work.

Nick ValentinoNick Valentino
VP of Market Operations, Bellhop

Practice Candor to Build Trust

As a Founder and CEO, I’ve learned that effective leadership is deeply rooted in practicing candor with your team. It’s easy to fall into the trap of only sharing successes and painting a perpetually optimistic picture. However, I’ve found that being transparent about the challenges we face as a business fosters a stronger bond of trust.

Your team is perceptive; they can sense when things are off, and not being open about difficulties can erode their trust. More importantly, openly discussing challenges invites diverse perspectives and innovative solutions. It turns obstacles into collaborative problem-solving opportunities, enhancing the collective strength and creativity of your team.

Brett UngashickBrett Ungashick
CEO and CHRO, OutSail

Hone Skills Through Freelancer Teams

One of the smartest things you can do is form a team of freelancers to complete a project. Create rules for yourself; one very important one is that they have to do the work, and you can’t jump in and save them as an individual contributor. Doing this will force you to hone a number of skills critical to leadership: delegation, building quick rapport, facilitating collaboration, budgeting, communicating clearly, and a host of other smaller skills.

Trevor EwenTrevor Ewen
COO, QBench

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