Children look up to their parents, students look up to their teachers and interns to their seniors. In short, every novice looks up to some kind of mentorship.
The world of entrepreneurship is not short of its own celebrated bunch. From gazillion rags-to-riches stories and success sagas of the neo-female to office with dogs and no dress code, we are caught between award shows and Instagram posts that leave us hankering for a life-like-that! While responsibilities of a follower is a topic worthy of exploration, we’ll restrict this article to discovering the ‘missing-traits’ in the evolution of entrepreneurs. These traits must be honed, chiseled and prepared to be shared with the world.
Empathy can be loosely defined as to observe a perspective from someone else’s point of view. Unfortunately, entrepreneurs while donning many hats fail to enter the shoes of anyone except their own. Many get caught up in the high and mighty (and flighty) airs of a designation whilst others tie an anchor around their feet before nose-diving into work. Both kind end up being insensitive and cold.
Such is not the fate of true success, which can be attain by sharing work, responsibility, problems and solutions. When you find yourself in a leadership role, you must tap into resources like empathy, care and understanding to build relationships. Empathy is to relationships what funds are to business – reliable tools for growth.
Empathy keeps you grounded and display to your staff, stakeholders, clients and partners that you have what it takes to truly care.
Be judgmental. Now that’s a phrase you don’t hear too often. Most consider it a roadblock to freedom of expression. Unfortunately, common day understanding of the term is very restrictive, we don't look to objectively judge. Our lack of objective judgment has allowed poor quality content (written and otherwise) to take over the real and virtual worlds; vendors to be inconsistent, stakeholders of being cowardly and investors for being wishy-washy.
It's important to judge based on evidence, proof, research and come to an objective judgement/conclusion/decision based on facts. This will allow one to judge or understand good writing from bad, good design sense from an amateur one or a responsible employee from an irresponsible one. There is a need to possess a fundamentally sound knowledge of that which you wish to judge.
If you wish to leave behind a legacy, you must be willing to teach the right lessons, encourage right questions and guide people towards the right answer. That’s the role of a mentor and it’s the greatest misfortune of our times that good teachers are missing from both inside and outside a school. A teacher is someone who helps us comprehend and lends a hand while leading us on the path to life.
As an entrepreneur you must be willing to pass down important knowledge concerning character, conduct, ethics and values to your sub-ordinates. Most entrepreneurs focus on making employees out of people, reverse the trend by making them good humans first. That will inadvertently form them into good employees.
If you allow your character to crumble under greed and your intelligence to be mortgaged for being conniving, your actions will not take you far and leave you to infamy. However, if you are a responsible entrepreneur you will be careful in treating your life as a lesson for posterity.
Read also: A guidebook for millennial entrepreneurs.