Entrepreneurship and leadership are learned skills.
Too often we think of entrepreneurship and leadership as natural talents. If it's an innate characteristic, then it can't be learned. But if it's a learned skill, like bicycle riding, anyone can do it. That's incredibly powerful.
Admittedly, I at times fail at leadership because I have generally found it to be a mystifying skill set and was under the belief, like many others, that it was a natural trait or required an incredibly headstrong, brutish, type-A personality. Having started to listen to the Entreleadership podcast, I’ve realized that I already encompass some leadership traits and my guess is that you do too:
1. I strive to build relationships with everyone: from office staff to senior leaders and clients. This gives me an understanding of the lay of the land. From a UX perspective, doing this type of work early on in an engagement is critical. There is a small window of time where being the new person, everyone is interested in meeting you and working together.
2. I consciously make the connection between vision and grit: vision is the big picture that everyone needs to believe in, grit are the small things we do to get to that dream. It gives us the foundation for what we do and why we are doing it.
3. I'm endlessly optimistic. There will be obstacles and it will be a rollercoaster but if there is a guiding vision that makes sense and a communicated goal then we feel empowered and nothing can get in our way. Positive thinking is more than a new age mindset, it's a natural characteristic of our species. Our will to move forward has so far safeguarded our survival.
4. Being a UX practitioner and passionate about human behavior in different environments I am obsessed with culture. Cultivating a culture is the most important job of any leader because culture is the source of social norms we find acceptable in said environment. It requires building connections, understanding the temperature of the team, vision, and empowering your people to take on that vision as their own.
To continue improvement I have to ask myself, "what biases and opinions do I have that are obscuring my ability to move forward in the right direction?" Thinking that leadership and business are mysterious crafts was one of those biases. They are skills that can be taught, the sooner we all realize that the sooner people will feel the freedom to seek new opportunity.