“The process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task.” Although this is the definition of leadership, it is also the fundamental embodiment of entrepreneurship. In the course of everyone’s life [personally or professionally] there is an opportunity … to lead. Leaders make determinative steps towards fulfilling their purpose and helping others do the same. Could the same be said of entrepreneurship?
Entrepreneurs are the best example of leadership. But the lingering question is not always so simple, “Are entrepreneur’s born … or can they be made?” There are leadership theories that support multiple sides of the issue. Several notions on leadership, also referred to as the 8 Theories of Leadership, suggest a person’s capacity for leadership is reliant on one of the following theories:
- Great Man Theory: Leadership is inherent – great leaders are born, not made.
- Trait Theory: People inherit certain qualities and traits that make them better suited to leadership.
- Contingency Theory: Certain variables related to a person’s environment influence their style of leadership.
- Situational Theory: People choose the best course of action based upon situational variables.
- Behavioral Theory: One can learn to become a leader through teaching and observation.
- Participative Theory: Ideal leadership is taking the input of others into account.
- Management Theory: Effective leadership is based on a system of rewards and punishments.
- Relationship Theory: Leaders motivate and inspire people by helping group members see the importance and higher good of a task; also seeking to promote an individual’s potential.
Interestingly enough, research suggests that a person’s tendency toward entrepreneurial endeavors is 48 percent genetic – influenced by your genes. The study of successful leaders, indicated that specific traits are actually commonplace:
- Adaptable to situations
- Alert to social environment
- Ambitious and achievement-orientated
- Dominant (desire to influence others)
- Energetic (high activity level)
- Tolerant of stress
- Willing to assume responsibility
While commonalities exist among most successful entrepreneurs, it might be said that anyone with a passionate and fervent desire can succeed in leadership and entrepreneurship. Could it be that you were born an entrepreneur while others had the determination to make themselves one? The debate continues…
Source: Entrepreneurs, Born Leaders, [Oxford University Press, 2010]; Leadership: Theory & Practice, Peter G. Northouse
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