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Entrepreneurial Spirit: Most Employees Want to Be in Charge

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When it comes to the responsibilities of being in charge, most employees think they have what it takes, a new study finds.

Research from the University of Phoenix revealed that while nearly 80 percent of working adults think they would make a great boss, those currently in leadership positions are significantly more confident in their abilities. More than 90 percent of managers, directors and C-level executives said they are, or would be, a great boss, compared with 72 percent of workers who do not manage others.

In addition, 89 percent of managers, directors and C-level executives believe they have exceptional leadership skills, compared with 73 percent of other workers.

[Read related article: Defining Leadership: 8 Ways to Be a Great Leader]

If they were in charge, most employees would put their own stamp on the way the office is run, with 80 percent of those surveyed saying they would do things differently.

The most commonly cited changes employees said they would make include providing more training and education opportunities for employees, creating a more flexible work environment and relying more on teamwork and collaboration.

The desire to be in charge is making Americans want to head down an entrepreneurial path. More than half of the working adults surveyed currently own, or want to own, their own business.

The study found that age makes a significant difference in entrepreneurial spirit, with 55 percent of workers in their 20s who don't currently own a business but who hope to do so in the future, followed by 48 percent of workers in their 30s and 36 percent in their 40s.

Sam Sanders, college chairman for the University of Phoenix School of Business and a former human resources executive, said being a business owner isn't easy, but it can be very rewarding for those who have done their homework and are educated about the different facets of running a business.

"One of the biggest challenges is recognizing what you do not know," Sanders said. "Entrepreneurs may have a solid understanding of a niche or industry, but may not have a lot of experience in other aspects of running a business, including strategic planning, marketing, finance, people management, procurement, and research and design."

Sanders offers several tips for workers who are considering starting their own venture:

  • Learn how to conduct market research
  • Identify target audiences, and understand what motivates them to act
  • Create a business plan
  • Research and understand funding options for new businesses
  • Develop an organization and management structure so the company is poised for growth
  • Network and learn from other successful entrepreneurs.

The study was based on surveys of more than 1,600 U.S. adults ages 18 or older who are full-time or part-time employees, or self-employed.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer who has nearly 15 years' experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.