Are You an Entrepreneurial Leader?

By Dr. Mary Kay

Updated Over a Week Ago

Minute Read

The leadership skills of the entrepreneurial leader are significant to those of a business leader or organizational manager.

Research indicates that entrepreneurs have the propensity to take on more challenges, be more persistent, and engage in a higher level of risk-taking than managers. The purpose of this article is for the leaders of tomorrow to think about being more entrepreneurial. Here are the five defining characteristics of an entrepreneurial leader.


First, an entrepreneurial leader is an innovator. They have a keen sense of envisioning, discovering, and creating solutions to unmet needs that others have perhaps not thought of or considered.

An entrepreneurial leader’s passion is to see possibilities, create new solutions, and pursue a dream that drives them to the next discovery. This defining characteristic of entrepreneurial leadership provides organizations a competitive advantage to pursue business initiatives that others have yet to foresee, encourage, or practice.

Achievement Driven

An entrepreneurial leader is driven by a compelling purpose to make the new discovery a reality. Activities such as brainstorming, mind mapping, and possibility thinking are examples of idea generation that entrepreneurs formulate to generate possible avenues to an envisioned solution.

The intensity and the optimistic manner in which this leader proceeds to theorize and devise potential products or services ignite a collection of options that may or may not be feasible, factual, or data-driven.

This entrepreneurial approach to “strategy formulation” produces possibilities and levels of thinking that may baffle the conventional thinker.

This outcome of confusion in conventional thinkers is a component that distinguishes the entrepreneurial leader from the ordinary leader. In times of confusion, adversity, and anxiety, the type of leader transforms what could be counterproductive emotions to fuel achievement, commitment, and persistence.

An entrepreneurial leader truly enjoys channeling obstacles into getting things done, almost to the degree of being obsessively driven.


Takes Action

Managers have ideas, provide suggestions, and pursue options that data reflects will have a greater chance of succeeding than failing. In contrast, entrepreneurial leaders just do it.  These leaders take action from their gut, intuition, and instinct rather than contemplate whether the decision or recommendation will work.

This ability to take action and engage in risk-taking may work, and sometimes it doesn’t.

Either way, if the decision doesn’t work, the entrepreneurial leader takes action on an alternative decision. This ability to be proactive, implement, and persistently believe in the proposed solution elevates an organization to a higher level of strategy achievement.

Authentic Leadership

Yes, you might think an entrepreneurial leader is generally selfish and can even be a narcissist. In that case, they are not a leader; they are an individual. An entrepreneurial leader is committed, passionate, and direct about their beliefs, core values, and leadership philosophy.

To be authentic is to be true.

Followers respond to leaders that are true to themselves and to others. Research indicates that entrepreneurial leaders are stronger in emotional intelligence components by turning adversity into determination, frustration into motivation, and stress and anxiety into self-reflection.

These leaders express authenticity by communicating their emotions, addressing situations head-on, and expressing their points of view for improvement.

Organizational Builder

When interpreting what an entrepreneurial leader primarily does, researchers concur that an entrepreneur is an organizational builder with skills ranging from business development, growth, and expansion to creating a unison of people that will help him or her fulfill his or her innovations.

With this sense of purpose, this leader works on becoming proficient in organizing and managing the business.

With a global business perspective, this leader differentiates from other managers as he or she is multifaceted in multiple functions of the business and fulfills many roles and responsibilities to ensure the organization succeeds.

How Can You Be an Entrepreneurial Leader?

If you have ideas that you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

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Dr. Mary Kay
Dr. Mary Kay
Dr. Mary Kay is a business leadership strategist, executive coach, trainer, author, and co-founder of the About Leaders community. She’s consulted with hundreds of companies and trained thousands of leaders. Her Ultimate Leader Success course helps managers become more confident, decisive leaders. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
  • M>S.Kannan says:

    Secure the future with features attributing the benefits of the engagement the FAB that drives the Business with clear objectives drawn through progressive road map with milestones of accomplishment to inspire the path of travel to excellence.

  • Stephen B. Carman says:

    Dr. Whitaker, in addition to the items you mentioned, I would add the following:

    – modeling skills, meaning, the ability to prototype a perceived future, either on paper, or in miniature form; and

    – fail fast/often. Entrepreneurs are not afraid of failure, and the best ones design failure into the way they think and work. When they fail, they make it a “speedy” event, so they can move on.

    Too often, those of us not adept at these skills think or talk too much, and when we do venture out, we do not recognize when something is not working and stay with a strategy, approach, etc. too long.

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