When leading a team, there is often a precarious balance between how much you are leading for yourself and how much you leading as a representation of your team. For instance, in politics, you are, ideally anyway, functioning as a figurehead for those who elected you. You are expected to make decisions that reflect the best interest of those who placed you in power. Without their decision, you wouldn’t be in a position of power to begin with. However, business is different than politics. You are not expected to make decisions that represent the best interest of those you lead, but rather you are supposed to act in the best interest of the business itself.
That said, there are many leadership tactics that can seemingly integrate these two ideologies. While when it comes down to it, the business comes first, there is no reason your employees should feel they come second. The key to this perceptive subtlety is to inspire by action. Please keep in mind I am referring to positive inspiration, not motivation by fear of being let go. In my experience, this is best accomplished through a sort of team identification.
You should identify with those you lead so as to concretize a team atmosphere. If you understand what your team needs, and can meet those needs resourcefully, your team will respect you as someone who respects them. Essentially, one hand washes the other. If you help your team, they will help you. While of course you do want to maintain your position of authority in order to optimize company efficiency, you should make it known that not only do you care for those that work for you, but you will help them as well if possible.
Additionally, I’d like to note that while the general stereotype of a leader is one whom is very outgoing and personable, this is not necessarily required. One can speak effectively but if that same individual fails to set team goals that can be achieved, it is for naught. Truly, it is the ability to identify with a team while simultaneously projecting team goals that will bring your co-workers together. Universal objectives that can only be achieved as a result of team effort is what will not only involve everyone, but is what will inspire everyone. Value, and in turn satisfaction, will only stem from from task identification, from understanding what one’s role is in achieving the ultimate goal of profitability. Once the role is understood, your team can find value in a job well-done, because a job well-done means one step closer to achieving the goal. While of course money is the primary, and initial, motivation for work, it soon falls by the wayside if there is no value or self-satisfaction to be had in that work's completion.
There is one more thing I would like to mention: sacrifice. Sacrifice is a pivotal facet of inspiration. When witnessing sacrifice, there is a truly blatant quantification of how much the company matters to you. Your team will see the hours you dedicate to your entrepreneurial dream, and will in turn, if not sacrifice in their own right, at the very least be inspired and proud to follow someone who is so passionate. It would be difficult to complain about a forty hour work week knowing that your boss dedicates 80 hours. Essentially, lead by example. Actually, Tyvi Small had some great things to say on this point here.
Being a leader is a not a formulaic product of various attributes. It is a shifting, dynamic, situational characterization of an individual at any given time. However, there are things that can be done to promote this characterization as part of an ongoing reputation. Things like creating a team atmosphere, or setting team goals, or sacrificing personal time in favor of work are to name merely a few. As human beings, we follow those we respect, and we respect those who share our dreams. Make your dream your team’s dream, and do not just survive. Thrive.