The importance of developing leadership skills in a start up


Why do we need to invest in leadership skills early on in a start up or high growth environment?

What would happen if you built a house with no foundations?

It might look great on the outside but over time it would sink.

Foundations provide stability, they distribute the load, they can keep the house standing even during the most turbulent of times.

Great leaders do exactly the same for a business as it grows.

That said, we often find in start ups and high growth environments the focus is on hiring, getting more hands-on deck as quickly as possible to build the product, or deliver the work. Whilst this helps to grow the business and deliver on VC expectations or KPI’s, it doesn’t support the entrepreneur at the top to empower their people and get the most value from their team, nor does it equip or up-skill the new leaders that have never managed before, or those that haven’t simultaneously grown a team whilst also taking something new to market.

Leadership support and development is proven to improve communication, emotional intelligence and resilience. All of which are vital in creating the best version of yourself and building the confidence to empower, grow and lead others to success.

So how can you start to develop your leaders?

Self-awareness is critical and where the journey starts, so here are 3 ways you can develop this for yourself and also a task that you can do with your own leaders:

1.      Ask for feedback – we are looking for our blind spots here so asking someone who would be comfortable enough to give honest feedback is key. Someone you have a relationship with; parent, partner, friend to start off with. Keep the questions varied, small and big, and most importantly be ready to take the feedback on board, now is not the time to be defensive, we are looking for other perspectives to consider. Finally, spot the positives and learns from the task itself and things you might like to change or address moving forward.

2.      Assess your values regularly. What are they? Do they still underpin your decisions daily? Choose a time to reflect on these daily/weekly and give yourself a score out of 10. Having an awareness of the things that really matter to you helps you to understand what can cause you to be distracted by the things that aren’t.

3.      Play the ‘Who am I?’ game.

From an interpersonal perspective:

– What is your self-talk, what do you say about yourself?

– What are your rules/should do in life?

– What are your beliefs, what is true to you?

– What emotions do you regularly experience/avoid?

– What judgements do you make?

Write down all of the answers in as much detail as possible and then read them out loud.

Having heard yourself – what do you want change?

To some degree, some people are born as great leaders, however there are lots of skills that can be nurtured and developed to create fantastic empowered leaders. My advice is to invest in the growth of your leaders as you hire to grow teams, in order to really support the onboarding process and the first few moments someone has in your business.

If you would like some help in growing confident and self aware leaders that have the coaching skills to empower, grow and retain their people, please feel free to book a call with me here to learn more about the “Empowered Leadership Method”

About me

Hi, I’m Sarah James - Coach, Trainer and Disability Inclusion Business Leader. I work with my clients to identify the changes that they need to go through to become and develop conscious leaders in their business. To increase retention, drive efficiency and in turn grow a life full of health, wealth and happiness.