Leadership for Success
Your plate is so full working on your startup, are you putting your head down to the detriment of your team (and the products and services that you deliver)?
Startup leadership has unique challenges; the timelines, ambiguity, and complexity – at best it can be overwhelming, and at its most challenging, it can lead to feeling burnt out. How do you stay ‘well’ and thrive as a startup leader?
I cover all of these questions in my chat with Tom Bosna on the Well Workplaces Podcast
Leadership for Success in Startups and Small Business
- Drive and ambition are common traits found among startup leaders. The relentlessness and determination have helped many of them get where they are today.
- Want to know a secret? Drive and ambition may only get you so far.
- Drive and ambition are powerful tools, however, they are a bit of a solo mission. Building systems, creating a vision, and leading with purpose are required to scale.
- Collaboration, mentoring, and selfless leadership are the relational skills that really scale.
- It’s imperative to understand yourself (invest in your EQ) and others (and do so with empathy) to keep things working smoothly. Don’t skip this step in the early days!
1. Use DISC to Improve Communication and Performance
- Use a tool like the DISC assessment to learn more about your team and to learn the collective makeup of the team.
- With DISC you can discover who is people-oriented or task-oriented, who thrives in a fast-paced or slow-paced environment, and who prefers an outgoing communication style versus a reflective communication style.
- DISC helps you understand what drives someone’s behavior. It stands for Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Compliance.
- As a leader, DISC helps you approach your team on an individual level and communicate in a way that motivates and engages them. It brings higher self-awareness to your leadership and to your team’s collective awareness.
- Knowing this data will help you be more intentional in meetings as well, not only with the agenda but with communication, asking questions of your team, and getting their input.
2. Have Flexibility
- Create an environment that is flexible for how others create, execute, and process information. For instance, in meetings, some folks are going to have ideas to share immediately on a given topic, while others may provide their best input and insight with time to reflect and think about the issue.
- Be intentional about creating an environment that allows folks to process information, participate in conversations, and make decisions in their preferred way.
- Stay open to other ways of doing things outside of your style so that the team can perform their best work in their style.
3. Prioritize Well-Being
- Self-awareness about our emotional and energetic capacity helps us know how to balance the many demands of leadership.
- Experiment with asking these questions.
- What number of meetings per day is your max?
- How many days per week can you be “on”? Vs. off camera, heads down doing work, doing big picture thinking
- If you have a highly taxing day ahead of you, how will you prepare and how do you fill your cup after?
- Boundaries are critical.
- Know what you need to perform your best, be grounded, and feel well.
- Do you need exercise every day, regular meeting breaks, a few hours not on camera, or a day with no meetings?
- What is your start/stop for the day? Is that working for you?
- Keep moving. This could be as simple as getting up from your desk once an hour. Even a walk around the house and off of a screen allows for a bit of brain reset.
- Do ongoing calendar hygiene. Set time blocks where you have ‘focused’ work with no distractions and guard them.
- Create time for recharging and white space and be ruthless about protecting it.
- Plan for quiet time that works for you, meditation, creative endeavors, or your own priorities.
- Charge your body the same way you charge your phone. You wouldn’t tolerate your phone getting to 10% battery midday. Recognize and react to the signs your body is giving you, plan ahead for needed rest and recharge, and protect yourself from getting in the red zone. Act before you get 10% the same way you would for your phone.
OR search for Episode 74 of the Well Workplaces Podcast on your favorite app.