Are Entrepreneurial Leaders also Symmetrical Leaders?
I have recently discussed the concepts of Entrepreneurial Leadership and Symmetrical Leadership. When one thinks of the words involved, Entrepreneurial and Symmetrical, you might wonder how they are related, if at all. The purpose of today’s post is to compare and contrast the two concepts with one another. In order to do so, a short review is in order.
Symmetrical Leadership involves balance. Here are the basic tenets of Symmetrical Leadership or SymLead from an earlier post:
A Symmetrical Leader is one who is balanced and responsive to the situation at hand. This does not mean that you are only reactive, but it does mean that you are flexible and able to analyze the situation or task at hand. Experience is key in becoming a Symmetrical Leader. (Posted 1/7/10)
Here is more on Symmetrical Leadership:
Leadership is an art and a science. The best leaders are flexible and able to adapt, anticipate and react to situations as they occur.
The best leaders have symmetry in their approach, hence they are Symmetrical Leaders because they are as effective in the Proactive sense as they are in the Reactive sense. (Posted 1/4/10)
Let’s contrast this description of SymLead to Entrepreneurial Leadership:
Entrepreneurs are typically trying to do something new or better than those before them. They don’t have directions, or if they do, the directions are wrong or need to be modified. Being the leader in this kind of venture requires someone with the following characteristics:
I am sure I can think of a few others, but these four come to mind first. Let’s talk a little about each.
The confident leader doesn’t have it all figured out. in fact, he or she is confident in where they are going, but they may not have all of the routes figured out yet. Part of this confidence is not only internal, but there is an external component that knows who to trust and when to trust them. The confident entrepreneur also has probably failed before and has learned a few lessons from scrapes along the way.
Independence is a complement of the confident leader. Most leaders I know, especially entrepreneurs, have been told more than a few times that they are wrong, crazy or just plain stubborn. These traits can be a blessing or a curse; it just depends upon when you decide to exhibit them. The independent leader knows when to break away from the pack. As the old adage goes, the view never changes unless you are the lead dog. Quite a picture for my mind.
Perseverance; there just never is enough to go around. We live in a world of instant gratification and we want it “now” and easy. Life just doesn’t work out that way. The things I most appreciate in my life are those I worked hardest and longest for. One example is my experience in helping to build a new YMCA. That was a 6 year journey with many ups and downs. We had a solid core group who had a clear vision of what we had in mind and we didn’t let anything deter us from the goal we had in mind. There were many times we could have thrown up our hands and said “no mas” but God was with us and we stayed the course. That is a trait of an entrepreneurial leader.
Focus is the last trait I will discuss today. We all know focus when we see it, but having focus is much more difficult. We live in a world with much clutter and it is easy to let this stuff distract us from the goal in mind. The number of “time eaters” I deal with is painful, but the best word I know to keep my focus is the word NO. Knowing how and when to say no is a learned trait for me and one that has proven to be more valuable every day, week and year. The focused leader knows not only what he or she wants to do or has in mind, but they also know when to say no or avoid traps that will lead to dead ends. (Posted 1/27/10)
Where are the similarities? What are the differences?
Symmetrical Leaders gain their strength from Experience. So do Entrepreneurial Leaders. Experience is by far the best teacher for many traits of successful leaders. I could describe so many situations that support this statement, but I think most will agree with this assertion.
One major difference is that Entrepreneurial Leaders may not always have the balance that SymLeaders have. This balance is critical at certain times, but Entrepreneurial Leaders may be a little more driven and proactive than SymLeaders. It comes with the territory.
Enough on this today. We’ll come back to this more in future posts.
What do you see as a major difference between Symmetrical Leaders and Entrepreneurial Leaders.