Are You A leader Or A Founder? Are You A leader Or A Founder?
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The growth of technology and globalization has witnessed a great number of people with different backgrounds turning into entrepreneurs. United States is the leading country with a big number of startups followed by India and the UK. In Africa, Kenya, South Africa, Egypt, and Nigeria are the leading countries with a big number of startups. The growth of startups has resulted in a new common title in the startup industry which is “ CEO and Founder.”

Starting a company is not an easy task and it requires the full commitment of a leader of a startup to ensure everything works as planned. Unknowingly many founders have assumed the role of being a CEO and also a founder without measuring their abilities to lead a team as leaders. It's not enough to be a CEO or a founder if there's a gap in leadership skills. According to CB Insights,70 % of upstart tech companies fail. One of the reasons for the failure of startups was the lack of having the right people in the founding team (including the founder). We should understand that being a leader is beyond the title of a CEO or a COO.

Leadership is the core skill that unifies the founding team together and also a bridge that connects the startup and the funders or external stakeholders including customers and suppliers. CB Insights mentions that 35% of the reasons for the failure of a startup were related to the people and culture of the company. People management and company culture are the two components to be taken care of by the founding team before looking for funds. As a founder, do you have what it takes to create a company culture and manage people operations?

What Makes A Founder A Good Leader?

The continuous effort to learn the basic skills in leadership such as emotional intelligence, people management, team building, and company culture is what creates a difference between successful founders and founders with fancy titles. Founders should always understand that being a founder is not a qualification of being a good leader. They should strive to learn every day to acquire what it takes them to lead their startups.

The leadership skills of a leader can predict whether the company will succeed or not. According to the Havard Business School research, 82% of startups failed in 2019 because of poor management and leadership. Most of these failed startups had a good product, service, or founders who were extremely knowledgeable in their industry but still, they failed. There's a difference between having technical skills and soft skills such as leadership. many of the founders are good at hard skills but they don't understand that soft skills are the driving forces of the startup.

The success of a startup is the combination of both technical skills and soft skills. A founder who has both is one step away from success. I think sometimes is good for founders to step down on their roles as top leaders so they can have a chance to learn from others. Having a founder who has a fixed mindset can be harmful to the growth of the company. The ability to learn and grow the mindset of a leader to blend technical skills and soft skills is what makes top startups stand out.

Anybody can be a founder, COO, or CEO, but it takes a great leader to successfully run the startup. Are you a founder or a leader?

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Justine Massaba
Written by

Justine Massaba

Justine Massaba is the co-founder of Eagle Lead Africa, a company which focuses on nurturing the generation of leaders in Africa. His mission is to empower companies and businesses to utilize the power of leadership in maximizing productivity and efficiency at workplace.

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