The time-saving tips and tricks to learn great leadership fast!

Jordan Brompton, co-founder and CMO of myenergi, discusses the importance of inspirational leadership in driving long-term business growth – from achieving start-up success to accelerating internationalisation

The time-saving tips and tricks to learn great leadership fast

Ok, I lied – this isn’t a life hack-style list of tips and tricks to learn leadership fast. In fact, it isn’t about learning leadership at all. But why? Well, for the average entrepreneur, leadership should be way, way down your priority list. 

Hear me out. Before even thinking about building and inspiring a team, you’ll need to come up with a truly disruptive idea, a clear USP, a realistic route to market, a handle on legal requirements, a clear strategic plan and, most important of all, an extensive support network.

If you can successfully tick each of these boxes, you’ll probably want to start thinking about prototyping, securing the required funding to bring your dream to life, developing the infrastructure needed to sell your products/services and an understanding of marketing strategy to get your brand ‘out there’.  

Once you’ve reached this point, it’s perhaps worth pausing for breath and thinking about how best to curate a high-performing team for the future. It’s likely, however, that this will remain somewhat an unachievable pipedream while you’re battling through the ups and downs of getting your idea off the ground. It certainly was for me when I co-founded myenergi – those early stages were some of the most challenging months of my life.

However, as you begin to scale, onboarding and leadership becomes increasingly important. So many entrepreneurs face the common blocker of struggling to let go and delegate responsibilities – the only solution for avoiding this pitfall is to bring in people  you trust to take the weight off your shoulders. 

But with entrepreneurs wearing so many hats, how can you attract the right people and harness inspirational leadership to drive commercial growth? Joking aside, are there really any tricks or tips to accelerate the process? Are there any books you can read, podcasts you can listen to or models you can replicate? 

Can you really ‘learn’ leadership?

Before I co-founded myenergi, I wouldn’t have said that I was a leader, let alone an inspirational one. After all, real leaders need decades of knowledge, multiple non-exec roles, internationally-acclaimed mentors and a style perfected by completing hundreds of academic courses, right? 

In hindsight, I’m not so sure. If I think about some of the most inspirational leaders I’ve ever met, most couldn’t tick one of the boxes above, never mind all of them. A fair percentage haven’t gone to university… some were even kicked out of school. 

Instead, inspirational leaders seem to have one simple thing in common:  belief. They believe in their business. They believe in their vision. They believe in what they’re selling and, most of all, they believe in their team. This belief is almost infatuating, so much so that you can’t help but be thoroughly inspired by the success they’re creating. 

Almost absent mindedly, they’re creating a following. By believing in their business, they’re naturally leading from the front. They might not necessarily be the dictionary definition of a ‘perfect leader’, but they’re leading perfectly.

I found this out first-hand as I began my own business growth journey. After all, we started myenergi in a small workshop in the heart of the Lincolnshire Wolds. Seriously remote, rural vibes. We didn’t have a massive team, or expensive equipment, or even the infrastructure to ship out products – we were sending them by hand from the local Post Office! Instead, we had great ideas and real passion for change. 

Did I need to be a leader? Not really. They few team members that we had were already 100% bought-in to the dream and collectively intent on building a better future. We celebrated our successes together, we lamented our disappointments together; we were a wonderful team, but one that almost led itself through passion and enthusiasm. 

As the business began to scale, we brought in more people, we invested in new tech, we relocated our HQ to a state-of-the-art facility in Stallingborough and we even started opening subsidiaries worldwide. I wasn’t proactively thinking about being a leader, I didn’t have time! I was simply flying by the seat of my pants, working around the clock to make ends meet and keeping everyone positive through sheer determination and an unwavering belief in what we were trying to achieve. 

In hindsight, I’d almost subconsciously started to become what I most admired in other leaders. Belief was acting as an inspirational motivator to our team, as well as those who wanted to join our journey. 

I hadn’t worked it out yet, but I was naturally leading through my infectious passion for the business that we’d given up everything to build. While I wasn’t the oldest, the most experienced, the most well-read or the most extensively educated, I was the inspirational leader that the business needed. 

This hit me like a tonne of bricks. I’d been so intent on putting myself down about not being a leader, that I’d stumbled accidentally on the real secret – inspirational leadership isn’t a learnt behaviour. Instead, it’s part of who you are. 

In all honesty, I’ve continued to work hard on myself and tried to perfect my leadership style. But, in reality, I’ve found that not over-engineering the idea of a good leader is the best approach. Teams aren’t expecting perfection – they want guidance from a real person who really believes in what they’re trying to achieve and really cares about making a difference. They want to join you on your journey and be part of something special. They have the opportunity to go anywhere and work with anyone, so the fact they chose you speaks volumes.

Rather than emulating other leaders, I’ve learnt that the most effective approach is trying to be the person that I’d want to work for myself. I’m completely honest and transparent, through the good times and the bad. I have a clear vision for the future and I’m relentlessly positive about getting there. I’m naturally empathetic and believe in each and every member of my team – both professionally and personally. 

But I’m not the perfect leader. Not by a long stretch. I make mistakes and I take things to heart. I forget best practice and I kick myself about it. However, rather than letting it get you down, it’s important to remember that no-one’s the perfect leader, or the perfect entrepreneur, or the perfect business owner. We’re all people. We’re all imperfect and we’re all learning.

Being a good leader is really about showing your weaknesses and being genuine. This makes you relatable, it makes you humble and it keeps your feet firmly on the ground. This is what your team needs – an inspirational leader, not an aspirational leader. It’s true that leadership is key to creating a successful business, but maybe you’re already far more inspiring than you think.  

Jordan Brompton
Jordan Brompton

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