Leadership has many attributes but enabling courage may be the big kahuna.
As you build out your company, you invariably will add new employees and for some of you, you might be managing those employees for the first time. It is time for you to think about what leadership qualities you want to embrace.
You might consider leading with:
- Communication–in this trait you make sure that everyone is on the same page and use a variety of tools to reach your goal.
- Transparency–everything that is going on (good and bad) is shared and open for all to see and comment on.
- Ability to Delegate–difficult for some Alpha types, in this trait you concentrate on relinquishing control and pushing responsibility to others.
- Accountability–a lofty trait but difficult to manage for 1st timers, here you strive for every employee to be accountable for their actions and promises to the team.
- Optimism–rah rah . . . here you are the head cheerleader and work hard to provide the team with the energy to muscle through difficult periods.
- Focus–startups have hundreds of decisions and your leadership style is to keep everyone focused on the handful of tasks that are critical to the company’s success.
These leadership qualities are solid and you would be well served to embrace any one of these. My advice is to take the one that fits your personality best. But in many ways these are qualities that serve the company in more of a growth phase then the startup phase.
I want you to consider another trait that in many ways is more critical in the first days of your startup; enabling courage with your teammates.
Courage can be defined as “strength in the face of pain or grief”. Startups are painful as the chaos of choosing product, customer, strategic and financial direction pulls the team in a variety of brain bashing paths.
Your job as CEO is to enable your team to face those decisions with courage. Courage to call B.S., courage to change one’s mind, courage to battle through the fear that comes with the unknown, and courage to park everyone’s ego and make decisions based on the good of the company.
If you can find ways to enable your team to find that courage, you will find the ultimate startup leadership quality.