Young: Demands of business leadership require fresh ideas

I have spent time reading and enjoying several books written by John C. Maxwell.

Think about these leadership concepts: To lead people, walk beside them; people who follow the best leaders do not notice their existence;  when the best leaders’ work is done, the people will think, “We did it ourselves.”

I find myself these days never feeling tired to speak about the glory of leadership in our entrepreneurial society, touching the core essence of what leadership is about.

Lately, I have spent time reading and enjoying several books written by John C. Maxwell, an international author and speaker on leadership suggested to me by a good friend of mine in  Kansas City who is the vice-president of a leading US entrepreneurial training corporation.

Reading about Maxwell’s enlightenment brought me to share my thoughts about entrepreneurial leadership and its arrival on new venture stages.

First, leadership is fundamental to entrepreneurship, but in life there are many ways to look at the roles and positions of leadership.

Some people believe that leaders are born and come to a position of influence by virtue of the unique attributes they possess.

But no matter how we might wish to choose and accept from such definitions of leadership, there is a new game in town pertaining to world of entrepreneurial pursuits.

Since the 1980s, an increased level of entrepreneurial activity has been spawned, not only because of the electronics age but also due to a plethora of new products, materials, financial networks, joint venture potential and changes in our society related to economics and politics.

So it’s  imperative for anyone involved in entrepreneurial venture creation to fully comprehend and embrace the importance of sound leadership modalities and their association to “change.”

Let me take a brief journey at my perception of how this picture has formed.

The basis for defining and understanding  entrepreneurs has created a challenging problem for many years for researchers and practitioners alike.

Even today, the struggle continues for an accepted definition of an  entrepreneur, even though much of the literature is replete with criteria ranging from my personal favourites that of “innovation and creativity “to personal traits as “appearance and style.”

The boat-ride through the entrepreneurial research corridor is often both exhilarating and exhaustive as we never seem to reach a final destination.

On the surface, one can associate entrepreneurs with leadership functions such as providing vision to the development of a new product, service or organization.

While a leader has to be entrepreneurial as well, entrepreneurial leadership  deals with concepts and ideas that are often related to problems that are not of an organizational nature, but rather tend to be individual characteristics or behaviours.

These evolve from having a vision, problem solving, decision-making, risk taking and creating strategic initiatives.

Entrepreneurial leadership is a phrase  coined by those who realize a change in leadership style is necessary in order for Canadian business, large and small,  to be competitive in this ever-changing global  economy. For example, there often appears to see a shift from a producer mentality to an entrepreneurial mentality that has led to structural changes in organization and, in effect, new ways of doing business.

One might also question whether entrepreneurial leadership is truly a new style of leadership, an escape from management or even both.

Since the ‘80s, a concern that we’ve all witnessed has been that major businesses have seemingly lost their competitiveness through an emphasis on management rather than leadership.  Scary thought.

It is therefore argued organizations of the future will be in fact, entrepreneurial in nature.  Its leadership, strategies and structure will reflect entrepreneurial thinking with associated characteristics.

The characteristics and behaviours that spell success in entrepreneurial firms and small businesses are now being considered by larger firms.

This  phenomena has coined intrapreneurship,  corporations encouraging staff to have an entrepreneur attitude from within.