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Entrepreneurs have leadership skills, but lack empathy

Studies show that entrepreneurs are more advanced than most when it comes to leadership and interpersonal skills, but often lack planning skills and even empathy.

abusive small business optimism

small business optimism

Entrepreneurs succeed based on their skills

A recent multi-variable analysis conducted by the Harvard Business Review1 shows that entrepreneurs tend to possess the same set of skills, at an advanced level, that determine whether they’ll succeed or fail. Those qualities, which seem to come naturally are: persuasion, leadership, personal accountability, goal orientation, and interpersonal skills.

When the subjects’ personal skills and performance were compared against a control group, the five distinct traits listed above were able to predict with over 90 percent accuracy which people would become serial entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurs lacked in some areas

The study also revealed a similar set across the board in which those same entrepreneurs seemed to be lacking. They include analytical problem solving, empathy, planning and organizing, and self-management.

Analytical problem solving was one of the traits in which entrepreneurs scored below average. They focus on the future gains, monetary returns on investments and ideas, so they tend to make quick choices instead of weighing pros and cons in the decision making process. It’s definitely not all bad, however, as long as they realize the tendency to make off-the-cuff decisions and adjust their actions accordingly. Partnering up with a critical thinking analyst may also be of value.

Many lack empathy, organizing skills

Another skill that entrepreneurs seemed to lack was empathy. Actually, it’s one that they seemed to lack the most. According to the study, entrepreneurs are focused on the return for their investment – and not much else. Empathy is critical when inevitable failures come up and things go wrong. If they can look beyond the failed task and to the person… they may be able to connect on a relational level and really ignite a passion in their cohorts.

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Planning and organizing are skills that entrepreneurs received lower scores, which makes sense because they tend to look at the big picture which blurs the smaller steps needed to achieve that goal. Perhaps hiring help to plan, organize, and keep them on schedule may help balance and further propel success within the company.

The answer to many problems is answered by hiring choices

The last skill that entrepreneurs lacked was self-management, meaning that they may feel personal everyday tasks detract from accomplishing larger company goals. While juggling many projects, entrepreneurs often overlook or ignore the importance of the “small things.” Again, this is where hiring an assistant to help manage those tasks would be beneficial.

Since entrepreneurs are quite adept at the most common “leadership skills”, the most practical step in securing that role and promoting success is to make sure you’ve hired people to lead.

1 Harvard Business Review study

Written By

Tasha Salinas is a staff writer at The American Genius, holding a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications and Journalism from Northeastern University. She is an info geek who reads, talks, & thinks way too much. You don't want to know how long it took her to write this bio.

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