Why you need to train your employees to have an entrepreneurial mindset
Hearing the word “entrepreneur” brings to mind the visionary founders and business leaders you look up to, so you’re no stranger to getting inspired by their innovative ideas and drive to succeed.
You may not imagine your staff members needing that same ambition and stake in the company, but having employees that have an “entrepreneurial mindset,” working for you is a good thing as it means more involvement in the organisation, and needs to be encouraged.
That’s because staff members that do:
- Think creatively
- Discover innovative solutions to problems
- Can handle multiple tasks at once
- Don’t get as easily bored with their role because they work across different areas
You don’t need to be fearful of employees who want to achieve something great for themselves–you must encourage them to channel their drive and desire to contribute meaningfully to your organisation’s journey towards your goals.
What is an entrepreneurial mindset?
An entrepreneurial mindset is a personal belief system that consists of interrelated beliefs, assumptions, and knowledge used to learn and understand information, inform decisions and guide behaviour.
People with this mindset believe there’s a better way to live and work to improve on their own terms. They know they can learn, adapt and grow to reach their goals. Traditional workers needing to earn more money take it as a sign to update their resume and look for better opportunities, while entrepreneurs will look for ways to start or grow a business.
People with an entrepreneurial mindset spot opportunities despite any resource constraints, work to manage multiple kinds of risk and take action on their ideas. These individuals are the self-starters on the team who are present, motivated and creative about the work they do.
In short, not everyone with an entrepreneurial mindset wants to leave an organisation to start their own!
When staff members with an entrepreneurial mindset are committed to the objectives of the organisation, they pursue opportunities as they spot them and readily take responsibility for any adverse effects of their calculated risks.
For business leaders, it’s about realigning that viewpoint towards finding team members with this mindset and how people like this will likely be a good fit within an organisation–not getting caught up in the fear of employees who show initiative and resourcefulness.
The (many) benefits of an entrepreneurial mindset
Often, leaders complain that their team doesn't take the initiative or think differently when handed a task. Instead, they expect to be told what to do and then just do it. That’s why an employee with an entrepreneurial mindset can ease the pressure a business owner is feeling and start to be a leader.
There are many benefits of encouraging an entrepreneurial mindset among staff, and their key attributes spell out an organisation that is dynamic and primed for growth.
Entrepreneurs are fuelled by their curiosity, so people with this mindset engage with their surroundings and are interested in how things work. This helps them solve problems better because they aren’t limited by what’s in front of them; they study a challenge multiple times from different perspectives and ask questions that lead them to get even better results.
This complements their initiative to not only address challenges head-on but also to look for ways to improve ways of working and prevent similar situations from happening in the future. This sets them apart from their traditional employee-minded colleagues, who may move on to another task on their list after they have resolved the original problem assigned to them.
Entrepreneurial minds see all failures as learning experiences and can get over mistakes quickly. They think about the mistakes made, figure out how they can apply what they’ve picked up from the setback and move on to their next project, instead of getting trapped in their frustrations and what they ‘should have done differently,’ at the moment.
Resilience also keeps entrepreneurial minds from getting caught up in their mistakes or letting setbacks paralyse them when things get tough. All self-starters have ideas they want to pursue, but soldiering on despite possible roadblocks sets the successful performers ahead.
Even in an everyday setting, entrepreneurial minds are an asset because they know how to set goals and how best to work to achieve them. Employees of this mindset have the sense to allocate their time responsibly by tiering responsibilities by urgency and taking on their work accordingly. They manage their projects with tact and careful intention.
Aside from their self-management, entrepreneurial minds aren’t scared of people smarter than themselves. They see the benefit of surrounding themselves with team members who can consistently challenge them to do better, and welcome healthy competition to boost their own professional skills. This good sense and humility help employees with entrepreneurial mindsets realise their ambitions and bolster better work towards the organisation’s goals.
Encouraging an entrepreneurial mindset keeps employees engaged and motivated
Supporting staff members with an entrepreneurial mindset is beneficial for your organisation as a whole, especially given how now more than ever, employees will look for other opportunities if their work doesn't inspire and challenge them.
Leaders need to ensure the work assigned to staff members is meaningful–this means making a genuine effort to value your employees. Your leadership style must create an environment that encourages staff members to foster this entrepreneurial mindset.
By demonstrating key leadership qualities and consistently building rapport, you make them feel more comfortable expressing their ideas and taking more ownership of the work they do within your organisation.
You need to involve them in the vision you’re working towards; when entrepreneurial minds believe in it as strongly as you do, they’re more likely to apply themselves to this end and utilise their skills to contribute in a more impactful way than just doing what you tell them. This way they are also placing their trust in you, and are motivated to keep working with you.
Recognise that their skills mean you can empower them to be more independent about their work, and provide enough opportunities to challenge them so they can push themselves further. As a leader, you can manage and motivate your team so they won’t rest on their laurels and anticipate work that helps them grow, both in your company and as individuals.
When you lead with the intention of developing leaders within your team, you get closer to attaining your business goals, while also engaging your employees to stay in the organisation.
How to build an employee’s entrepreneurial mindset
Fortunately, employee mindsets can be transformed into entrepreneurial ones if business leaders know how to create the environment that best fosters their growth.
It can seem abstract at first, but it’s most effective when you start and maintain a constant conversation about how everyone on the team can benefit from and create an entrepreneurial mindset:
- Boost confidence. Teaching someone to believe in themselves is a gradual process, but you can begin by asking the team how they think their self-esteem at work manifests, and if they’ve experienced any negative self-talk that you can address.
- Allow team members to take full ownership of their roles (and tasks). It’s hard to feel like an idea or task is yours if a manager is hovering over your shoulder trying to tell you how to do it, so trust employees to fulfil their role and complete tasks alone.
- Ask team members for their ideas and opinions. You hired your staff for a specific reason, so ensure that you involve them in your decision-making process and get their opinions, especially if these are choices that affect the entire organisation.
- Give them responsibilities that reinforce their strengths. Picking up new skills is a good way to engage staff, but it’s easy to get overwhelmed if they constantly have to learn things, and it helps to let team members do the work they’ve been hired to do.
- Seek their thoughts when you’re not sure about something yourself (as a leader). Embracing vulnerability is the mark of a leader brave enough to lean into the courage, get your team on the same page and work together to face challenges.
Leading to create more leaders supports staff members’ growth while also giving you more freedom to explore areas where you can scale your business, so don’t be afraid of a staff member or two who wants to take on more responsibility or float a few new ideas with you.
Pushing employees out of their original employee mindset and encouraging an entrepreneurial one encourages innovation and creative thinking to boost your business.