Definition and Characteristics of an Entrepreneurial Leader
Entrepreneurial leadership in education requires dealing with challenges and crises of current organizational settings. It has been increasingly applied to improve school performance in the UAE. An entrepreneurial leader is someone who can influence or motivate a group to meet the objectives of an educational institution by using his/her leadership skills. According to Pihie, Asimiran, and Bagheri (2014), an entrepreneurial leader should have a combination of personal qualities and functional competencies.
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Characteristics of a leader are proactiveness – being active, motivated, and exploring new opportunities; innovativeness – creative thinking, ability to invent practical ideas and utilize resources; and risk-taking- the readiness to face difficulties. The functional characteristics relate to their task-performance abilities such as efficient use of human resources and influencing groups of people. Thus, an entrepreneurial leader should have a list of personal characteristics including excellent communication skills, alertness, ability to create opportunities, motivation, courage, and creativity along with necessary technical skills.
The Difference between Economic and Social Entrepreneurial Leadership
In the modern world, the concept of entrepreneurship has various definitions and is applied in economic, business, and social fields. According to Brüggemann (2014), entrepreneurial leadership “creates visionary scenarios that are used to assemble and mobilize a ‘supporting cast’ of participants who become committed by the vision to the discovery and exploitation of strategic value creation” (p.6).
Economic entrepreneurship is usually motivated by profit and aims at using originality, and innovation to improve commercial markets. Whereas, social entrepreneurs are driven by social good; through leadership, development, and maintenance of creative organizations, they wish to increase social capital. However, there are some fundamental similarities in the two types of leadership: both create value, use local efforts, have committed leaders, experiment, and both are either supported or seek support from local people (Hjorth, 2015). Thus, economic and social entrepreneurial leadership use the same tools in pursuit of improvements in society and the business sector.
Entrepreneurialism as Type of Leadership Style
Today, many people successfully apply entrepreneurialism as a kind of leadership style. Any business or organization requires the implementation of a management style. As explained by Davey (2012), entrepreneurs needed a different style of leadership that would fit their conditions, and thus, this style emerged and was used in practice. Renko, Tarabishy, Carsrud, and Brännback (2015) analyzed its definitions from the last couple of decades and defined entrepreneurial leadership as the utilization of entrepreneurial opportunities to influence and lead a group of people to achieve a common goal. Its elements encompass the characteristics of a leader mentioned previously. This leadership style shares similarities with transformational leadership, and distributed leadership styles.
Entrepreneurial Leaders and Emotional Intelligence
In the media, entrepreneurs are usually depicted as heartless, goal-oriented leaders. Indeed, entrepreneurs can be selective and demanding for their colleagues. Based on the analysis of millions of emotional intelligence profiles, Bradberry (2015) found that entrepreneurs of high-ranking positions have low levels of EI because they tend to focus on results and want their business to stay out of emotional context. Moreover, organizations disapproved of the expressions of emotional intelligence in the workspace.
However, emotional intelligence is positively linked with mental health, excellent job performance, and contributes to the development of leadership skills. According to Ngah and Salleh (2015), “The power of emotion would help entrepreneurs to be good leaders and thus able to inspire and motivate their employees to be innovative and creative in their organizations” (p.290). Thus, many experts agree that emotional intelligence is a key factor contributing to the entrepreneur’s activities as they need it for creativity and innovation in the organization.
Bradberry, T. (2015). Why Leaders Lack Emotional Intelligence. Web.
Brüggemann, H. (2014). Entrepreneurial leadership styles: A comparative study between Startups and mature firms. Web.
Davey, S. (2012). Entrepreneurship as a leadership style. Web.
Hjorth, D. (2015). Entrepreneurial leadership. Web.
Ngah, R., & Salleh, Z. (2015). Emotional intelligence and entrepreneurs’ innovativeness towards entrepreneurial success: A preliminary study. American Journal of Economic, 5(2), 285-290.
Pihie, Z.A. L., Asimiran, S., & Bagheri, A. (2014). Entrepreneurial leadership practices and school innovativeness. South African Journal of Education, 34(1), 1-11.
Renko, M., El Tarabishy, A., Carsrud, A.,& Brännback, M. (2015). Understanding and measuring entrepreneurial leadership style. Journal of Small Business Management, 53(1), 54–74.