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It might be something of a cliché, but it certainly holds true. A company is only as good as the people who work for it. But a solid team of employees does not materialize on its own. Great employees are created by great leadership.

This is a truism that’s critical for first-time entrepreneurs who are new to leading a work team. Employees look to their company owner as a role model. That might be an ego boost for some, but it is a scary proposition for others. Whatever the case, excellent leadership plays a critical role in the success of a new company. All entrepreneurs should consider these key leadership principles:

You Must Work Hard for Employees to Work Hard
The best leadership is leadership by example. The most successful entrepreneurs are the hardest working people within a company. Working hard is leading by example. When employees see how much effort you are putting in, they’ll strive to emulate that example.

Hire Good People
Yes, it may be easier said than done. A talent for spotting talent and hiring good people is what created success for some of our most legendary entrepreneurs. A prime example is Bill Gates. He was well-known for his amazing ability to recognize people that were smart and motivated. When he saw someone he liked, he pulled out all the stops to hire that person.

Professional Development
Successful Florida entrepreneur Paul Herdsman has built a career on motivating employees. He is the founder and COO of NICE Global, a nearshore outsourcing service provider. He said what truly motivated employees have a sense that they can advance to higher levels of pay and position in their jobs. They need to have the feeling they are “getting somewhere.” Offering employees continued education, and advanced training improves their skills. It gives them the feeling that their job is more than about “just a paycheck.” 

Respect Is Earned
You may be the boss, but you must endeavor to earn the respect of your employees. That means treating them with respect by listening to and valuing their opinions. Empower them to evolve into the highly trained experts you want them to be. Then get out of their way and trust them to do their jobs well.