Twitter CEO Dick Costolo made an appearance at TechCrunch Disrupt today to talk about leadership and why it’s important. He says that at the early stage of a startup’s life, if you don’t deal with being a leader, dysfunction emerges and will spread throughout the company.
He provides two ways to help entrepreneurs be effective leaders:
It’s not about getting your employees to like you
As a leader, you need to care deeply about your people while not worrying about what they think about you.
Managing by trying to be liked is on the path to ruin. Costolo says that telling people what people want to hear often creeps into an organization and you need to overcome it. It’s akin to having to give a project or task to one of two employees and you instruct one to do it while the other you tell them that you “wanted them to have the job, but had to give it to another person.” Costolo is adamant that you shouldn’t do it — be honest upfront to your team.
My way isn’t the best way
There are many different ways to be successful — the problem in San Francisco and Silicon Valley is that we lionize people to be our leaders and expect them to be the best and show others how these idols would do it. Costolo says that these people may be frowned upon ten years from now — he suggests that as entrepreneurs begin their companies, they should understand that there are different ways for a company to be successful and that everyone’s path is different.
In short, Costolo quoted Pinterest co-founder Ben Silvermann who told him, “Find your individual superpower and leverage that and be successful in your own way.”
Costolo says that if you follow these two things and care about yourself and your employees, you will be as successful as you can possibly be.
As a leader, you are totally transparent and people are looking at you all the time. If you’re doing something that’s not true to you, people will see through you and lose trust in you.
Photo credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images