When someone decides to start a company, usually it comes either from a place of need or from a place of opportunity. Very few people are trained since a child to take over a company, or to succeed on their own.
Human beings are trained to be part of the crowd, to wait for the right command coming from above on what to do next. This command coming usually from a father, a boss or a deity.
However, once challenged with the responsibility of managing a team of people and a set of financial goals, several startups fade, shrink or implode. Several aspects are studied on why this impact happens but for me it relates entirely to lack of leadership.
Much is discussed about leadership but very few is really done to nurture leaders and generate new ones. The leader might not be the smarter or stronger, but is definitely the one who can adapt more to new circumstances and lead the company into better and bigger opportunities.
A proper leader needs to be able to withhold the bumps in the road, be able to synthesise the push coming from shareholders and the market into new policies and actions and transmit and communicate it to a team in the right tone (it is important to know when to be mad, supportive, critical or cheerful).
The leader is also required to understand the company’s operations, the management style it requires and be able to inspire both team and customers. A company without a inspirational leader may even keep on going profitable, but it may create mistakes in serial mode, and walk into vicious circles in the quest for the long term development. A inspirational leader creates an aura of respect that enables him to coach a team or a client into some direction, helps the credibility and assigns more energy into the story of a company.
The leader must be a master in distinct skills from personalities. Many mistakes are usually decisions that should be taken based on personality traits made focused on skills and accolades or the other way around. Personality is overview and long term, skill is short term and adaptable, leaders.
A professional hazard from a leader is to deal on a daily basis with common sense and romanticism about his function for everyone wants the fame but very few want to play the game. The true leader must exercise the suspension of himself to above this crowd, being able to analyse situations coldly but with passion, vision and priorities. Being able to transition between the macrovision and micromanagement is part of this exercise and helps the leader project success and yet care about the people and humanity that ties him to his inspirational image.
A good leader knows the process, reverse engineer to plan ahead, inspire the team and is strategically humble and accessible, maintaining priorities and keeps himself moving ahead through the obstacles always in search for opportunities and in direction of new, brave successes.