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Leadership is a versatile and a complex phenomenal to which psychological and organizational research has been done. This is because it is one of the most significant resource input in building a nation. It is a nation’s leadership that develops it in the economic, political, social sectors, scientific as well as all other remaining sectors. Leadership style or form is the style or behavior exhibited by a leader during subordinate staff supervision. There are lots of leadership styles which include: autocratic, democratic, bureaucratic, charismatic, laissez-faire, participative, transactional, situational, transformational and entrepreneurial leadership. Different forms of leadership are needed depending on the prevailing situation and the use of a particular style of leadership should be known by each leader. Similarly, there is no leadership form that is ideal for all situations. There has always been a lengthy debate among researchers and scholars as to whether entrepreneurship is also a form of leadership style and whether an entrepreneur can also be a leader and vice versa.
Therefore, this study emphasizes on the relationship between leadership and entrepreneurship in a business context. Interestingly, both leadership and entrepreneurship passed through the same historical revolution. At the early stage, leadership and entrepreneurship focused on demographic characteristics and personality traits to differentiate leaders and entrepreneurs from other individuals. Hence they both addressed behavioral factors needed by leaders and entrepreneurs to motivate a group of people successfully to achieve a particular vision.
Entrepreneurship and Leadership
An entrepreneur is a manager or the owner of a business enterprise who takes initiative and risk to get money or gain in exchange. Yang (2008) refers to entrepreneurship as a form of leadership, although in a dynamic and economic context. He argued that an entrepreneur leads an organization or a firm as well as demonstrates leadership attributes by appointing managerial staff. The ability to build a strong team and possess managerial skills is fundamental leadership qualities for entrepreneurs who want to become successful in life. Entrepreneurial speed calls for experimentation, agility, rapid response and adaptation so as to be the first and best in the market. Experimentation consists of analysis, strict consideration of details, and thoroughness through willingness to sacrifice speed in addition to review.
In contrast, Chen (2007) called such a definition as a parsimonious and simplistic explanation of the term entrepreneurship. This is in view of the fact that according to reports by Gupta, et al. (2004), entrepreneurs establish an enterprise from a scratch while leaders operate in an already existing firm. Therefore, entrepreneurship aids in coming up with a new business enterprise and leading to its growth and development successfully. Moreover, entrepreneurs lead in situations that are extraordinary and are complex in skills and personality traits. According to Chen (2007), entrepreneurs characteristically initiate new technologies, innovate, generate new services or products or even increase productivity and efficiency. They act as catalysts for general economic change. Research shows that entrepreneurs are very creative people who are capable of imagining new solutions through generating opportunities for reward or profit. However, leadership is not solely the responsibility of an individual in a whole organization but also each and every person who share the mission and the vision. For that reason, leadership is a state-of-consciousness instead of a set of skills or personality trait.
Entrepreneurial as a Form of Leadership Style
In progressively more competitive and turbulent environment faced by firms currently, a new type of leadership that is different from other managerial leadership behavioral forms is required hence this calls for entrepreneurial leadership style. Previous research findings by Surie and Ashley (2008) indicate that in spite of all the arguments, the most important issue is how leadership skills can be taken advantage of by entrepreneurs to enable them deal with a variety of challenges of creating a new business enterprise as well as increasing chances of success in the current business world. In turn, how entrepreneurial capabilities can benefit leadership to cope with highly competitive and tensed organizational environment. Thus, categorically, Yang (2008); Gupta, et al. (2004) pointed out that scholars integrated entrepreneurship and leadership into a new term as entrepreneurial leadership so as to understand both terms better as well as utilize the synergy for the sake of enhancing both disciplines.
Surie and Ashely (2008) defined entrepreneurial leadership as the process of entrepreneurial vision creation and team inspiration to endorse the vision in uncertain environments and in high velocity. This definition is composed of 3 main components of innovativeness, pro-activeness and risk taking. Innovativeness is the tendency and ability to develop useful and novel ideas as well as to think creatively in resource utilization, opportunity recognition and solving problems. It is actually the unique attribute differentiating people who are just self-employed from entrepreneurs.
Pro-activeness on the other hand, refers to being active to lead and influence the future instead of waiting for it to influence you, accept failure responsibility and exploit opportunities. Thus, it is the ability to anticipate problems in the future, improvement and the necessity for change. In fact, entrepreneurial leadership refers to pro-active response to the opportunities in an environment. Risk taking refers to the willingness to take responsibility burden and absorb future uncertainty. Entrepreneurial leaders’ common characteristics are calculated risk taking and prudence mostly at the beginning of entrepreneurship process. Significantly, people have to develop all the above mentioned qualities to have the ability to perform entrepreneurial leader’s roles challenging tasks successfully (Okudan & Rzasa, 2006). Entrepreneurial leadership involves opportunity recognition and social interaction. It occurs in a transformation process of the knowledge gained from social interaction and experience in identifying opportunities for business creation and personal development. Gupta, et al. (2004) postulates that significance of entrepreneurial-leadership on performance and success of a business was recognized by scholars after an increase in the rate of failure of new businesses.
Attributes of an Entrepreneur Leader
Although a lot of entrepreneur attributes have been emphasized by many researchers (Yang, 2008; Gupta, et al., 2004; Okudan & Rzasa, 2006; Chen, 2007), there is need for entrepreneurs to develop extra interpersonal and personal abilities to lead a new business enterprise successfully. Hence, there are various specific leadership qualities of entrepreneurial leaders that include: (a) Taking initiative and energizing their colleagues by making every effort to be a market leader - control and own the most important technology in every action that you take. Use better technology available regardless of whether other people are not using it thereby, being the first. (b) Demonstrate entrepreneurial inventiveness, seek and pursue new opportunities by thinking big and starting small - beginning with simple things and later advancing to extra complex tasks. This entails the future and not only today or tomorrow. For instance Steve Jobs dream of putting a ding in the world. (c) Take risk by initiating new business enterprises, inspiring employees and giving strategic directions (d) Accepting team failure responsibilities, learn from such failures and take advantage of them to ultimate strategic achievement and success. Entrepreneurial leadership focuses on skill and knowledge development in fundamental leadership areas which includes innovation, motivation, teamwork and communication skills. Perhaps, a good leader might not know his capabilities till he tries something new. Entrepreneurial leaders try out without waiting for any form of blessings whatsoever. Entrepreneurial leadership independence calls for action and trust. However, in reality, entrepreneurial innovativeness, creativity and risk taking is not that simple. Yet entrepreneurial-leadership abilities are necessary in the creation, success and performance of any new business.
Entrepreneurial leadership entails instilling-confidence to behave, act and think with the intension of fully realizing all stakeholders’ beneficial growth and intended organization purpose.
Okudan and Rzasa, points out those necessary entrepreneurial leadership skills especially for exploiting and identifying opportunities to a large extent, can be learned only by experience, though several scholars pointed out that entrepreneurial leadership skills can be acquired through education. The opportunities are particularly identified by gaining deeper information about entrepreneurship leadership as well as its general relevance in the present society. Recognizing an opportunity is more of exploring an existing idea by enhancing operation of present activities or developing a new idea using already acquired knowledge. It does not only involve technical skills such as market research and financial analysis, but it also entails forms of team building, creativity, leadership and problem solving that are less tangible.
Entrepreneur leaders possess consensus forming abilities and strong- negotiating skills.
In conclusion, entrepreneurial leadership plays a very important role in coping with the existing environmental turbulence and complexity. Entrepreneurial form of leadership, if applied effectively, it may become very vital in achieving prosperity in any type of business. In fact, entrepreneurial leadership has become of great importance in this time of environmental complexity and rapid change than earlier on. An entrepreneurial leader must draw on many new qualities and should be someone who is capable of developing colleagues or subordinates into leaders, energizing individuals to take action and transform them into agents of change. Hence, leadership and entrepreneurship are intertwined for the realization of business growth and prosperity.