For many people entrepreneurship sounds like an unattainable, distant dream. It is something that we would like to aspire to, but it feels like a goal that is achievable for people in the movies, rather than us. If we think about it, the spirit of entrepreneurship is something that can definitely be cultivated. People in modern work environments always emphasise the point of growing leaders in a space, however even though it is spoken about, not much is done about creating an environment in which entrepreneurs thrive and grow.
The good news is that with a little effort and forward-planning creating an environment conducive to entrepreneurship is definitely possible. More so than the environment it is the ethos of the people within it that will need to adapt in order for a culture of entrepreneurship to be created. If you are a person with decision-making power within a business environment, here are some very real ways in which you can create an environment that allows people to step up and become leaders.
“There is a difference between listening and waiting for your turn to speak.”- Simon Sinek
Listening is a skill that is often underestimated in the business space. At grass root level, let’s face it, people are often jockeying for power and position and don’t listen to each other. Therefore on a management, leadership level it is important to create a space in which you listen to all of your people. Listening and allowing people to have a voice in any business environment promotes feelings of well-being, allows people to be themselves and displays empathy and trust.
“When you say yes to others, make sure you are not saying no to yourself.”- Paulo Coelho
It might be tempting to keep adding work to a person’s calendar. But consider the quality of the work that you will get back. People are always battling with the matter of how to say no and then overcommit at the expense of their mental health and wellbeing. As a result, the quality of work suffers and burnout occurs. Within reason, allow people a chance to say ‘no’. Contrary to the fear of underperformance, this will help people develop healthy professional boundaries and really become masters in their areas of expertise.
“The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.”- Steven Spielberg
In every business environment, there are people who stand out with particular talents and skills. It is easy for people to want to hoard their skills in order to get the edge on a colleague. But the true spirit of an entrepreneur shines through in the ability to share skills and help others grow. This works from both perspectives. As a leader, ensure that you are personally in charge of grooming and mentoring people and also identify and partner up people in your environments who can learn something from each other.
“The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood.”
The words ‘soft skills’ probably sits oddly when it comes to entrepreneurship and leadership, but did you know that it is essential in business environments? Soft skills are those subtleties that often go unnoticed such as how to grow good communication skills, showing empathy, conflict resolution and negotiation. Business environments need not be as tough as nails. At the end of the day, the leadership roles that are so coveted all require soft skills.
“Everybody has talent, it’s just a matter of moving around until you’ve discovered what it is.”- George Lucas
Let’s be clear, you don’t want professionals in an environment who are overcommitted and burnt out, but you do want to encourage a level of cross-functionality in careers. As a manager or leader, you will have the power to bring people together so that they can collaborate, coordinate and share ideas. Encourage the people in your business environment to enrol in leadership training courses that speak to entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship, to further strengthen and develop their skills.
Let’s be clear, the entrepreneurial spirit is one that needs to be deliberately grown and cultivated. It is not something that happens overnight and it certainly isn’t something that can be done without authenticity. Entrepreneurially-minded people strengthen the business from within and externally also contribute to the economy. Not to mention the number of rewarding personal development and growth opportunities that it offers.
Media professional, senior writer and blogger at Educor Holdings.