Some people think that being super aggressive and speak in war-like metaphors is the way to go, when it comes to showing leadership in a start up.
I would suggest it shows more of a profound insecurity that you’re trying to hide by bluster.
Trying to hide things is borderline poisonous no matter how or why you do it.
Therefore, try showing of your insecurities. Or at least abstain from trying to hide them.
Getting something good up and running and making a success of it is super hard work with a lot of moving parts, and there are a ton of things that can go wrong and most likely will.
There’s no shame in acknowledging that.
Trying to hide that fact will ultimately just reflect bad on you. In addition to that it will make it super hard for people to help you, where you need help. And you and your company may suffer as a consequence.
Back in the day I had a very experienced direct report who I used as a sounding board for thoughts and ideas to bring forward to executive management.
We would meet in my office (even though technically I didn’t have one), and we would go through the arguments, I had thought of making.
If I was off track, he would say in a very calm voice, while quietly shaking his head:
“Mads, that is junior behavior”.
And then he would follow it up with his interpretation of what senior behavior, aka the right sort of behavior, mingling, getting my point across needed to be successful with that particular project in that particular organization would be instead.
I listened. I better; he was usually right.
Since then I have always treasured having a sounding board and someone to lean on when things become a big hectic.
It is a nice contrast to my normal passionate, energetic ‘give-it-my-all-(alone)’-approach I often find myself (inadvertently) taking.
What I probably should become better at is making sure that I use the sounding board, when I need to and don’t leave it too long. But that too is a journey and learning experience waiting to be converted.
In the documentary the importance of the debrief is touted; when you have been undercover and alone for years, you need to have someone you can talk to about your experience in order to get back to normal and – to some extend – keep your sanity.
I think the same goes for entrepreneurs;
Entrepreneurship can be an extremely lonely game. There are a lot of times, where the challenges are mounting, they need to get solved in a good way – and the only one on deck to make sure it happens is you.
It brings not only long, long hours. It brings sleepness nights. It brings detachment from your loved ones, because you’re thinking about the fix you need to come up with rather than be present in what you’re doing.
It is lonely. L-o-n-e-l-y.
A lot of time you may feel like you have little to win but everything to lose, and the pressure just build and build.
Unless you have an outlet for it. Someone to talk to.
Someone in charge of your debrief.
Someone on point to keep you track, sane and balanced in your life. So you can keep up doing what you’re doing (and most likely love doing anyway) without crashing against the wall.
So make sure you have a great debriefer in your life. It is that important.
If you’re stuck in whatever you’re doing or trying to accomplish, look outside your team and get an outside view on what you’re doing and where you should be taking things.
True, the person you approach may not be a subject matter expert like yourself. But on the other hand the person is also not so deep into the matter, as you are and may thus very well be able to see things a lot more clearly.
And it is that new clarity that you need for yourself, your team and – ultimately – your business. It may be just what the doctor ordered in order to get you out of your current predicament and onto a greater and better trajectory.
I have been fascinated by some time by the idea of being able to somehow predict who will stand out from the crowd in a couple of years time as founders of a great startup, and I want to pursue the idea further.
So, if you could spare a few minutes of your time, I would love for you to help me answer a few questions in this survey. The tradeoff is simple: You help me get better insights and move forward on the work, and I give you a final short report about how things look from the survey, which you can use to benchmark yourself against.