Entrepreneurial Leadership: What Schools Can Learn from Business Leaders

The U.S. education system is becoming increasingly modernized. Efforts in the business world to improve leadership were ignored by school administrators for a long time, but this is beginning to change.. Researchers are scrambling to propose models that would steer the education sector to new heights. Most of the efforts to improve leadership have sprung from the fact that now, more than ever, there is increasing pressure on school leaders from the government, communities, and various highly placed observers, all of whom are concerned about the state of education in America. This is especially true in light of reports that have found American education lacking when compared with other developed countries.

One of the new ventures being considered as a leadership solution is entrepreneurial leadership. One aspect of entrepreneurs that stands out is their positive influence on creativity and economic growth, both of which are commodities in high demand globally. School leaders can draw valuable lessons from entrepreneurs when it comes to being innovative, motivated, and goal-oriented.

Many studies have been dedicated to entrepreneurial leadership in the business sense, especially for small enterprises, but few have linked it to school leadership. Perhaps this is due to the fact that school leadership has traditionally been seen as separate, likely because the success of a school is not measured in dollars. However, among many other similarities, schools and businesses share an emphasis on obvious, measurable results.

The entrepreneur’s drive has been the main focus of many research studies. Schumpeter describes this drive as “the will to conquer,” “the dream and the will to found a private kingdom,” and “the joy of creating and of getting things done.” While these developments accurately describe an entrepreneur’s desire to succeed, they do not explain where the so-called “Schumpeterian entrepreneurial endowments” come from. This will be the basis for our focus on entrepreneurial leadership.

Recently, researchers have recognized that entrepreneurs do not successfully build new ventures without possessing effective leadership behavior traits. A good example of this is the requirement that business founders create a vision for their firm, and inspire or influence others to see and understand their dreams. This is a good trait for attracting employees and acquiring the necessary resources for growing their ventures.

Entrepreneurs have to set the initial goals in a way that rewards workers. They need to show leadership because they are founders of their ventures; there are no established standard operating procedures or tried and true strategies that they can fall back on when starting from scratch. This is the main difference between entrepreneurs and corporate managers, since the latter often have more well-defined goals, objectives, structures, and work procedures to guide them. This may be an advantage to entrepreneurs, since the problem of substitutes and/or blockers of leadership that are usually associated with the larger and more established organizations are less of an issue.

Though the importance of leadership in entrepreneurship has been established, there has been a lack of research on the forms of leadership behavior that are required, and which prove most effective. Additionally, much of the entrepreneurship literature on this kind of leadership has been one-sided, focusing mainly on empowering leadership behaviors. The failure to include the conditions caused by other behaviors, such as directive leadership, may be harmful to any entrepreneur. More specific research is needed to explore the benefits of entrepreneurial leadership for schools; after all, an educational breakthrough could be just around the corner.

0 Replies to “Entrepreneurial Leadership: What Schools Can Learn from Business Leaders”

  1. I see where entrepreneurial leadership can teach schools. Entrepreneurs positive influence on creativity and inspire others to see their dreams. These are two big traits that can lead to great success.

  2. I don’t really see how comparing business entrepreneurs and schools is really relevant, personally. There are great traits that entrepreneurs do possess and utilize to succeed, but I think that schools may need to hone in on different traits to really make a splash in the education world.

  3. Entrepreneurial leadership qualities are ones that are excellent for all leaders to possess. I think it’s obvious that these traits in school leaders could help schools have a positive environment where employees are excited and eager to do a great job teaching students every day.

  4. Having a background in both Business and Education, it’s obvious to me that there are a variety of areas where the idea of ‘leadership’ overlaps. When we look at the qualities that an effective entrepreneurial leader possesses (positive influence, goal-oriented, visionary, etc.), a school leader must embrace these same traits in order to motivate and inspire their staff and students to continuously improve.

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