Entrepreneurial leadership styles

March 27, 2014


Start-up organizations and small businesses need leadership for the simple reason that it’s a challenging route to build and sustain a successful place. Last week I wrote about leadership for small businesses and why I believe every start-up and organization needs a leader.

Lets dive in to what an entrepreneurial leader does before sharing styles and what works for entrepreneurial leaders. Naturally, a start-up leader is dissatisfied with the status quo and identifies opportunities to move forward. The secret is the ability to look around, identify success ingredients and mix and match them until a new product or service is born.

There are a lot of different leadership styles:

  • The autocratic leader makes all decisions (some say Steve Jobs was one)
  • The transactional leader has a set of clear rules and standards; great in crises but a disincentive to creativity
  • The relationship-oriented leader beliefs in a positive environment and is a good negotiator
  • The charismatic leader inspire others and are respected and admired, like Mahatma Gandhi
  • TheĀ transformational leader is a role model, a motivator who at times is overly confident
  • The participative leader hears everyone out, creating a long decision-making process
  • The laissez-faire leader provides freedom to employees making it imperative to have experienced people involved
  • The task-oriented leader is organized and meets deadlines but sometimes forgets the long-term goal

An entrepreneurial leader, as all leaders, is most successful when incorporating a variety of styles. Before applying any style to a situation, have a look at what is really going on. What personalities are involved? Is there a crisis? Is the vision well communicated? What is the status of the organization or project? Are people inspired?

Key to the ability to lead any organization is to envision, to listen, to communicate and to inspire. These are soft skills that create trust and commitment (essential to all relationships) and enhance the leader’s competency. And largely, be yourself.


Lisette Andreyko

Lisette is the founder of Kaleidoscope and is passionate about start-up leadership, personal growth and women in business (and psst.. about tea!). She enjoys connecting with small businesses through her network. You can find her on LinkedIn.