13 Entrepreneurial Leadership Characteristics To Develop

Updated February 3, 2023

Three people in discussion around a table with a laptop.

Business leaders might espouse different values and characteristics depending on their leadership style. Identifying these leadership styles can be a useful way to determine which style you want to cultivate in your leadership development. If you're hoping to become an entrepreneurial leader, consider learning how to develop certain skills commonly used by these types of leaders.

In this article, we define entrepreneurial leadership, list 13 characteristics that define this management style and describe its benefits to help you succeed.

What is entrepreneurial leadership?

Entrepreneurial leadership is a mindset that emphasizes the strategic management of risk and dynamic, changing systems. Entrepreneurial leaders look for new opportunities and ways to innovate as individuals and as part of a team. These qualities often contrast with traditional leadership methodologies that emphasize following processes and procedures in an orderly, predictable way to minimize risk.

Related: 9 Entrepreneurial Traits To Develop for Career Success

13 entrepreneurial leadership skills

If you're interested in developing entrepreneurial leadership skills, or if you're looking for these qualities when hiring leaders for an organization, it's important to understand the attributes these leaders share. To help you achieve your own career and organizational objectives, here are 13 common characteristics and skills of entrepreneurial leaders:

1. Effective communication

Entrepreneurial leaders communicate effectively with other leaders and members of their team. They use this skill to convey their own ideas as well as listen actively to the ideas of others. Entrepreneurial leaders also usually work to foster productive communication between other team members, departments and organizations.

Related: FAQ: Why Is Communication Important in the Workplace?

2. Confidence

Entrepreneurial leaders are confident in their ability to make good decisions and lead their organization into productive, growth-oriented activities. They usually gain this confidence in leadership experience that includes successes and failures that serve as learning opportunities. Often, leaders pair this confidence with humility and self-awareness of their abilities, skills and limitations.

Related: Confidence vs. Arrogance: Definitions and Key Differences

3. Self-efficacy

Besides confidence, entrepreneurial leaders also show self-efficacy or the belief that they have the skills required to manage any situation when it arises. Entrepreneurial leaders also motivate and empower members of their teams to cultivate self-efficacy as well. Self-efficacy can boost confidence, improve a leader's ability to take initiative and lead to better workflows in an organization.

Related: How To Practice Self-Efficacy at Work (With Tips)

4. Collaboration

Good entrepreneurial leaders work together with others in leadership positions, as well as members of their team and external stakeholders, to achieve their organizational goals. They share credit for successes with those who contributed to them and nurture opportunities for growth and improvement.

Entrepreneurial leaders often take a visibly active role in their company's operations. For instance, they might position their work area in a central location or even circulate among team members' offices instead of working from their own office exclusively.

Related: How To Demonstrate Collaboration in the Workplace

5. Growth mindset

growth mindset is the belief that you can learn any skill with adequate focus, persistence and effort. Entrepreneurial leaders often personify a growth mindset and encourage their team members to do so as well. The growth mindset can help them achieve challenging organizational objectives, as they're committed to continual personal growth and development.

Related: Fixed Mindset vs. Growth Mindset: Differences and Examples

6. Determination

Strong entrepreneurial leaders persevere when encountering challenges in their careers and their organizations. They commit to achieving their objectives and foster a sense of dedication and perseverance in their teams.

Determination helps leaders develop new plans, respond well to challenges and continue working hard even if things don't progress as planned. This characteristic can contribute to a positive work environment where others feel like they have room to make a mistake.

Related: What Is Determination? (With Definition, Examples and Tips)

7. Optimism

Entrepreneurial leaders choose to believe with optimism that challenges are solvable. They leverage this optimism into creative problem-solving, innovation and determination. When paired with a sense of realism and the right tools and resources, this can help entrepreneurial leaders achieve their organizational goals.

Related: 23 Strategies To Become More Optimistic

8. Curiosity

Effective entrepreneurial leaders often allow themselves to wonder about solutions and alternative ways to achieve their goals. Curiosity establishes them as leaders who are comfortable with change and who can leverage dynamic ideas into productive strategies. Curiosity can also help entrepreneurial leaders see and take advantage of new opportunities and ideas.

Related: 7 Tips for Developing Conscious Leadership Skills

9. Risk awareness

A primary characteristic of entrepreneurial leadership is the ability and willingness to evaluate and leverage risk as an opportunity for growth. This means entrepreneurial leaders always assess risk and can expect its implications. While they assess organizational risk, they also feel more comfortable taking risks that may lead to greater success.

Related: 5 Risk Analysis Methods and How To Use Them

10. Comfort with ambiguity

Entrepreneurial leaders are comfortable with ambiguity and fluid circumstances. This means they can navigate situations with multiple correct responses or perspectives with ease.

Entrepreneurial leaders also encourage their teams to develop a strong level of comfort with uncertainty. Since entrepreneurial leaders may work in a start-up company or in a volatile industry, this comfort equips them to thrive in any circumstance.

11. Ownership

Effective entrepreneurial leaders instinctively claim ownership of their new ideas, projects and products. They take initiative in visualizing a final product and guide the action required to achieve that vision. These leaders frequently also take part in the steps they identify as necessary for achieving the goals of their organization.

12. Initiative

Entrepreneurial leaders actively plan to manage and address challenges and new projects independently and as members of their teams. They take action when encountering challenges and motivate their employees to do the same. Taking initiative can mitigate risks, reduce challenges and lead to more productive organizations.

Related: Initiative Skills in the Workplace

13. Persuasiveness

Most effective entrepreneurial leaders are highly persuasive. This helps them motivate their team and convinces other organizations to follow through with actions that support the organization's best interests. Many strong entrepreneurial leaders use sales and management skills to support their leadership operations.

Related: How To Write a Persuasive Email in 7 Steps

Benefits of entrepreneurial leadership

To decide if the entrepreneurial leadership style is right for you, here are some benefits to consider:

  • Adapting quickly to dynamic circumstances: This can be a valuable asset in industries that change often or during times of general organizational, social or cultural change.

  • Generating industry change: Their ability to motivate and inspire sweeping changes can help their companies and entire industries progress.

  • Innovation: The ability to think creatively and develop innovative solutions to challenges can help companies and organizations stay competitive.

  • Centralizing responsibility: Many practitioners of this style prefer to make important decisions that shape their company's direction toward success, which concentrates responsibility in that leadership role.

  • Succeeding in uncertain environments: Their strength with ambiguity and risk management can provide a strong foundation for resilience in their organizations.

  • Setting ambitious goals: They maintain high standards for themselves, their employees and their companies, which can help organizations achieve their objectives.


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