Startup Leadership For Success (For YOU and Your Team)

Your plate is sooo full working on your startup, but are you putting your head down at the detriment of your team (and products and services that you deliver)? Maybe you want to create leadership for success, but aren’t sure how.

What if your passion, drive and vision is not matched by your team and how do you gel together in a cohesive way that inspires them?

Startup leadership has unique challenges; the timelines, ambiguity, complexity – it can be stressful and, at its most challenging, can lead to feeling burnt out. How do you stay ‘well’ and thrive (not just survive) as a startup leader?

I cover all of these questions on my chat with Tom Bosna on the Well Workplaces Podcast

Challenges of Leading A Startup

  • Your drive, your passion is an asset until it becomes a liability (so common). It gets you to where you are but doesn’t help you scale. There needs to be a balance of output to collaboration.
  • You can’t assume that the team will naturally ‘see’ your vision
  • You need a mix of behavioral styles dependent on the growth stage, the roles and the team dynamics. It’s imperative to understand others preferences to keep things working smoothly and finding balance in your team culture and ‘operating system’.


Using a Tool like DISC to Improve Communication and Performance

  • Use a tool DISC to gather data on your team and to learn what the collective makeup of the team is. Discover who is people oriented or task oriented, who thrives in a fast paced or slow paced environment, who prefers an outgoing communication style versus a reflective communication style. Really understand each other to come together and work together in an inclusive, thoughtful way. It’s a tool that will help you be intentional about your culture, from a place of understanding.
  • DISC helps you understand what drives someone’s behavior. It stands for  Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, Compliance.
  • As a leader it helps you approach your team on an individual level and communicate in a way that motivates and engages them. It brings a higher awareness in your team also on how to communicate with each other for higher performance.
  • 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.


Have Flexibility As A Leader

  • Create an environment that is flexible for how others process information. For instance, some folks are going to have ideas to share immediately on a given topic, others may provide their best input an insight with time to think about the issue.
  • Be intentional about creating an environment that allows folks to process 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.


How To ‘Stay Well’ as a Leader

  • Self-awareness about our emotional and energetic capacity helps us know how to balance the many demands of leadership.
  • Experiment with asking these questions?
    • How many 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 i.e. Lots of people or lots of heads down work, being in the weeds, vs the big picture, how do you prepare? How do you fill your cup after?
  • Boundaries are critical.
    • Know what you need to perform your best but also clear your head or stay in a good mental and create way.
    • Do you need exercise every day, a midday walk, a 10 min stretch break, or a few hours not on camera, or a day with no meetings?
    • What is your start/stop to the day? Is that working for you?
  • Stay physical. 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.
  • Plan your schedule in advance and do ongoing calendar hygiene. Practice a ‘Defend 90 Approach’: Set time blocks where you have ‘focused’ work with no distractions. This allows you time to complete the tasks that are on your plate and future time blocks for work that will end up on your plate.
  • Create time for recharging and white space and be ruthless about protecting it. These are intentional time blocks with NO specific agenda. Use the time to close the stress cycle in a way 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.

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OR search for Episode 74 of the Well Workplaces Podcast on your favorite app.

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