This Is How the Smartest Entrepreneurs Lead Teams

June 28, 2016, 11:30 PM UTC
Colleagues in meeting room discussing project
Photograph by Ezra Bailey via Getty Images

The Entrepreneur Insiders network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in America’s startup scene contribute answers to timely questions about entrepreneurship and careers. Today’s answer to the question,”What leadership style should every entrepreneur try to adopt?” is written by Aaron Harvey, founder of Ready Set Rocket.

The fast pace and complexity of today’s world means that leaders need to be more purpose driven, supportive, and flexible than ever before. Trends are constantly shifting and shaping companies’ goals. New channels for reaching and interacting with consumers are being developed daily. In this age of expansion, change is the new constant. For entrepreneurs to stay on top, they must create and maintain a leadership style that adapts to these unpredictable times.

There are four key leadership aspects that will help you navigate change while keeping your employees focused on what you set out to do:

Every company needs a vision—a distinct purpose that runs through all aspects of its business. For some, it’s philanthropic. For others, it’s about user experience or content creation. No matter what yours is, remain unwavering in your dedication to it, but flexible in your means of getting there. Problems will arise that steer your team off course. This is inevitable. However, if your business is aligned around a core belief, everything else will fall into place.

A purpose-driven company will also attract and retain the best talent. Consumers aren’t the only ones craving authentic experiences. Employees do, too. Companies with distinct and recognizable visions stand out to potential hires and keep current team members engaged and passionate about their work.

See also: The One Quality Most People Want From A Leader

Smart leaders empower their employees to make tough decisions, engage in controversial thinking, and seek outside learning opportunities. Give your team the room to make mistakes, and the responsibility of fixing them when they happen. Micromanaging hinders employee growth. Too often, employees rely on upper management to clean up the mess when something goes wrong, which results in teams feeling marginalized. This approach can be very damaging to employee confidence, and in the long run, will keep your staff from developing important risk-taking skills.

Don’t limit empowerment to the office. Push your staff to get involved in outside learning opportunities and life experiences. After all, the most well-rounded individuals make the strongest employees. Encourage your staff to go out into the world, engage in experiential learning, and bring that newfound knowledge back into the workplace. That’s what we do at Ready Set Rocket, and it’s done wonders for our employees’ growth within the company.

Stress management
No one in a company fully understands the intensity and breadth of daily stress that an entrepreneur is under. There is pressure from all angles. Whether it be landing a new client or hitting a financial metric, you are reminded every day of the team of people relying on your success. Your ability to lead well depends on managing and controlling these anxieties.


Develop tools and habits that help you bubble out of the day-to-day stress and see the bigger picture of where your company is going, and what you need to do to get it there. If you don’t learn how to do this, you’ll become consumed by your anxieties. When things go wrong, it’s emotional. But learn to ask yourself, “What can I do right now to solve this?” If the answer is nothing, push it aside and focus that energy on something else. Your leadership style is ultimately defined by how you act when the stakes are high.

Everything ties back to balance: how you balance work and pleasure; how you balance being too hands off vs. too hands on; how you balance your drive and passion for your business with priorities in your personal life. It’s important to remember that working longer doesn’t always mean working smarter. You need to give yourself the space and opportunity to think clearly so you can work efficiently and make smart decisions. Find out what you enjoy doing, what helps you manage your anxiety, and create time for it. For me, surfing and spending time by the ocean clears my head and gives me the perspective I need to run my business. The more you forbid yourself of this release, the more you and your business will suffer in the long run.