5 Leadership Skills Startup Leaders Must Have
Startups are filled with uncertainty and lots of pivoting. Having exceptional leadership skill is a key to success for major tech companies such as Apple and Google. It is said that Larry Page reviewed every single job applicant until about the 10,000 employee. Being a leader is not easy and requires you to wear many hats in a startup. Below are 5 leadership skills startup leaders must have.
1. Must Motivate
Startups are considered to be fast paced environments where the early employees work endless hours and live on a bootstrap budget. These are talented individuals that sacrificed high paying jobs in exchange to build something huge that they will be apart of.
As a leader, you must be able to motivate the team. You have to be the one that ensures that the team doesn’t experience a burnout. A great way to do this is by letting your employees know what their future will looking like. A big reason why employees lose motivation is because they lost the sense of where they are going to be or why are they even doing this. Make milestone announcements and emphasize on them, even if the milestone isn’t a big one. Have the entire startup feel the excitement that the group actually accomplished something. After that, always let your employees know what your next milestone is and that if everyone works hard, the startup will achieve it.
2. Understand Your Own Product
It doesn’t matter if you are an idea guy or the CTO, understanding your own product is a must have leadership skill. If you can’t explain your product to other people, how are you going to explain your product to potential partners? As a leader, you have to do more than just have a brief understanding of your product, you want to be able to know your product in and out.
Some of the things that you have to understand about your product include, what value does your product bring to customer? What makes your product unique compare to competitors? What makes your product good? What’s the process behind building the product and how are you going to achieve that? And many many more. Learn every little thing you can about your product.
3. Confidence And Passion
We have seen a lot of startups failed because the founders lacked passion and understanding for the product. Confidence and passion goes together and it is considered to be the core leadership skill that a leader must have. If you can’t feel confident about your product, how do you expect your team to be confident.
As a leader and entrepreneur for a startup, you will run into countless problems and setbacks. As a leader, all the big decisions are made by you, so it is your responsibility to put out the fire and be confident that you can do so. Having passion for your product will push you to learn more about your own product and how you can add more features to do. If you use your product more than anyone else, then chances are that you will be able to locate bugs and other errors ahead of time before a customer does. Feel confident, passionate, and driven, then transfer that effect to your team.
Related Read: Tips For Solid Growth Hacking For Your Startup
Usually the person that is selected for CEO already have strong communication skills. Communication skill is a leadership skill that you see in almost every successful CEO. I know a CEO of a somewhat successful startup that was unable to gain another round of funding because his English was limited.
As a startup leader, one day you might be on stage in front of thousands of people explaining your product. The next day you might be in a board meeting room explaining to your investors about your current milestones. Another day, you might be communicating with new partnerships at a Fortune 500 company. Nevertheless, you must have powerful communication skills and you must be natural with it.
5. Listen And Change
It is very important for a leader to listen to their employees and co founders for feedbacks. I’ve seen many leaders that don’t listen to their employees advice. I personally do not consider those people as great leaders. A leader can only know so much, your employees can be considered to be your soldiers. The soldiers know more about the battlefield than anyone else.
Your job as a leader when it comes to feedbacks is to be able to determine which feedbacks are considered good and which are considered bad. After figuring out which ones are good and which ones are bad, you should take the good feedbacks and pivot your startup towards it. Come out with a solution to every problem and seek advice from your advisors. A stubborn leader is never considered a good leadership and should shape up their leadership skills.