Lesley Hayes has built and subsequently exited three successful businesses. She now works as a mentor and has started to look academically at how entrepreneurs define leadership. Coming from an entrepreneurial background, Lesley is able to approach the study from a different angle than most academics.
The Paper Napkin she shares with us contains the result of some of her research; in it is a diagram to help us think about entrepreneurial leadership and how we lead from the inside out.
The diagram is a reflection of the work Lesley’s being doing regarding Entrepreneurial Leadership. She’s been asking questions like: Are all entrepreneurs leaders? How do we as entrepreneurs help each other develop our leadership? There’s a lot of academic research on leadership, says Lesley, but very few people have tried to get their arms around defining entrepreneurial leadership.
From her research and the work she’s done with others, Lesley believes that the thing that makes us entrepreneurial leaders is the core that we have, those core values from which we operate. People are always changing, behavior changes, but the stable core of values you have are not likely to change. You can mature, you can get stronger, you can change, but your core doesn’t often change. As is shown on the napkin, surrounding your core are different elements of approach on of thinking about leadership: Engagement, Execution, Feeling, and Thinking. Those elements are the way through which you interact with the world around you. In order to be truly effective leaders, we have to make an effort to be balanced in each area. In making sure each of these four elements is developed, you create a balance for yourself. Balance allows you to be a more fulfilled and effective leader.
“Balance allows you to be a more fulfilled and effective leader.”
Lesley shares how she used this model in observing her own leadership style. Through observing her own leadership style, she realized that she led primarily through engagement but often failed to execute because she felt that engagement and execution were the same thing. “Engagement is not execution,” she says. She learned that relationships are important but unless people have clarity around exactly what’s required by the organization, and what their piece of it is, they can’t deliver what’s necessary. The value in the model Lesley shares with us is that it helps clarify our thinking. Lesley says she uses the model to help her see herself, clarify her thinking, and ask herself questions. Try looking at your own leadership through the lens of the model. What might you discover about yourself?
Listen to my conversation with Lesley here: