Startup CEO: Does your behavior, your leadership, inspire people and give them hope and reasons to eagerly come to work? Or is the real you demotivating so people dread coming to work again?
Are your employees looking forward to Mondays or Fridays? Try that test on your startup.
Here is an example in today's Wall Street Journal's Venture Capital Dispatch that explains what I am talking about:
Tackling Football And VC - While the New York Jets were eliminated yesterday by the Indianapolis Colts, its fearless coach, Rex Ryan, remains a model leader, says Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures. He’s referring to Saturday’s New York Times article that describes Ryan as having “changed the way people felt about coming to work.” Says Wilson: “That’s what great CEOs do. They inspire people to come to work with a bounce in their step and a desire to do great work.”
Did your test reveal you are on the right inspirational track?
If yes, I congratulate you. Continue and you'll come out a winner.
If not, start asking why not. Here are some reasons startup CEOs I have worked with became dreaded leaders:
- Lost faith in the startup. When you lose hope, it radiates and is catching. Time to pack your bag and move on. Employees are already packing theirs, starting with your best talent.
- You long for the great corporate world. The terror and disappointments have gotten more than you can bear. Time to go get a job. That's not shame, it's wisdom in action.
- No one loves you. Yes, it is lonely at the top. If you want to party and be loved, look elsewhere than the board of directors and employees.
- Nothing goes right. Are your plans turning into activity instead of results? That is the sign of a person who is not a CEO. Find your replacement, right now. The board of directors is already working on it.
- That's tough, but it's just the way I am. Think about the freedom of choice of employees: in this global market for the best people, they expect to be treated as guests, not wage slaves. If you think not, you are living an the wrong century.
BOTTOM LINE: I have good news for you: CEOs who realize they are deflating people's hope can turn the situation around. How? Start with asking a mentor what is happening. Then ask your best friend. Then ask the board member you trust the most. The picture in the mirror may not be what you want to see, but it can give you a reality you can do something about. If not, expect the royal boot soon. CEOs who know how to continuously inspire employees and the board of directors become winners, build the next gorillas, and become eagerly sought after (by investors and employees) and emerge as wealthy serial entrepreneurs. It is part of their unfair advantage. Don't leave home without it. Don't do a startup without it.
I wish you The Best on your Adventure!