No matter who you are or what you do, when you are in a leadership position, there are people who look up to you, people who expect you to take charge. Times are changing, and we need great leaders in 2021 who can navigate their teams through the rough seas. Below, we have shared some key takeaways you can learn about leadership from the successes of famous CEOs.
“There is a formula to winning” – Aman Bhutani, CEO of Godaddy
Aman Bhutani is of the opinion that winning is neither a fluke of luck, nor is it random. In fact, there is a formula with which you can gauge success. First, he advices leaders to find a collective belief with their team, then decide if the idea is worth keeping, and finally continue going through this process until they can funnel the collective belief down into something small. If you can succeed with this small vision, you will be able to work collectively with your team towards bigger goals. This formula helps leaders work hand in hand with their teams to work smartly, more intelligently, and meaningfully.
“Be a servant leader and work towards ensuring the success of your employees”- Dan Springer, CEO of Docusign
Springer returned to work after a four year hiatus to take care of his sons and realized that he needed to help his subordinates advance their careers and grow into better versions of themselves. He is a huge proponent of the servant leadership style and believes in ensuring the success of his employees above anything else. A servant leader is always working towards the professional development of his employees and welcomes all perspectives and opinions. He believes in moving forward through creating an atmosphere of loyalty and trust at an organization-wide scale.
“Hire the best for your team” – Steve Jobs, Founder of Apple
Steve Jobs always attributed his success to his team. He often used to say that every project he undertook wouldn’t have been successful without the hard work and acumen of his skilled employees. The key to being a great leader is not to master the ability to wear many hats or try to excel at everything; the secret to success is to surround yourself with people who are better than you, holding better skills and more experience in their specialized areas, and then allow them to shine.
“Don’t let fear of failure lead to rigidity” – Chris Hyams, CEO of Indeed
People who are too rigid often end up in more trouble. The key to being a great leader is to find that perfect balance between certainty and conviction. The fear of failure can be immobilizing; it can make us undermine our own efforts to avoid the possibility of a larger failure. As a leader, you need to remember that you are in it for the long haul and that the best of leaders are tunnel-vision-focused. Success doesn’t come overnight, these things take a long time. You just need to be patient.
“Leaders often have to choose between two equally great ideas” – Noam Bardin, CEO of Waze
As a leader, you will often come across two equally valuable and brilliant ideas, but you will have to choose only one. In such a situation, you will need clarity of mission and vision. If you and your team have your mission clarity and are on the same page as to what stage of the mission you are in, it will make the choice easier. It will make it easier to say no to ideas that might seem worthwhile but aren’t right for that moment.
“Have Three mentors you trust at every point in your career” – Sarah Friar, CEO of Nextdoor
Friar is of the opinion that one should always have at least three mentors guiding them and leading them in the right direction, at every stage of their career. One mentor should be a colleague at your current job, who can give you advice specific to the role you’re in and help you get better at your job. Another should be a past colleague who can give more honest and harsher feedback they might have bitten down on when you worked in the same environment. The third mentor should be someone who is close to you, someone who will always be honest and transparent with you, and look out for you no matter what.
“Successful business plans are built with everybody in mind” – Cynt Marshall, CEO of Dallas Mavericks
At the Mavericks organization, every employee gets an equal opportunity to contribute to the processes and put their ideas and their energy into a new way of operating. Anyone can raise questions at any time and doubt the viability of an idea or a new process. According to Cynt, It needs to be okay for anyone internally to ask if a particular process is working as well as expecte.d
“There is no secret sauce to success as an entrepreneur” – Henry Schuck, CEO of ZoomInfo
Like many leaders and successful entrepreneurs, Schuck would often toss and turn at night, wondering if he was doing enough, deliberating if perhaps he should be doing more. One day, it finally dawned upon him that there are no superhero CEOs out there. They are human beings, who are prone to errors, misjudgments, and even slip-ups from time to time. What separates successful leaders from everyone else is their willingness to go the extra mile and how open they are to learning something new and improving on a daily basis.
“Having consistency in routine improves productivity” – Hernan Lopez, CEO of Wondery
Lopez says that three things keep him mentally and emotionally grounded: reading, therapy and the meditation stories on the Wondery app. He also attributes his success and unwavering productivity to a healthy sleeping schedule and consistent workout routine. Sleep is the single most important factor for productivity, which is why he always goes to bed by 9:30 p.m. and wakes up at 5:30 a.m. Not to mention, he exercises five times a week in the morning.
“Learn as much as you can about multiple parts of your business” – Findley Kozlowski, CEO of Blue Apron
The secret to building an incredible team and ensuring the continuous development of your subordinates is to have people shift between roles and departments. It encourages them to learn about different facets of the business and avoids stagnation and job dissatisfaction. As people get more and more exposure to the full breadth of the business, they start to show more interest in tackling challenges and problems.
“Even Leaders can benefit from support groups” – Andy Katz-Mayfield, CEO of Harry’s
Being in a leadership position is akin to riding an emotional and intense roller coaster. Every morning, you walk out the door, ready to conquer the world, but by the end of the day, it might seem like your world is about to fall to pieces. If you fail to attain some level of emotional stability, you will burn your light out and end up exasperated and exhausted. This is why Andy advocates having someone you can talk to, someone who understands what you have to face every day. Joining a “self-help” group or other such networks can offer you the right support and lighten the emotional and cognitive load of leadership. Towards that end, Harry’s donates 1% of all sales to charitable organizations that are geared towards providing quality mental health care to men everywhere.
“Turn Your Employees into Owners” – Carlos Brito, CEO of Anheuser-Busch
An accomplished workforce is the greatest competitive advantage that any business can ask for. Brito says that you should hire people that have the potential to become better than you. However, even though every leader wants to hire accomplished and smart employees, but if they are only using your organization as a ladder to attain their own career goals that could very well go against you. You want people to take ownership in your company, not just rent it. As a leader, you should aim for an engaged group of owners as employees, rather than a flock of selfish professionals. Remember that people make better decisions when they feel like they are fully invested in an organization, instead of when they merely think they work for it.
“Don’t Try to do everything yourself” – David Karp, Founder of Tumblr
Startup founders often try to wear all the hats, but there comes a time when they simply cannot manage every task on their own. Everything from managing the day to day running of a business to product development to scaling the business can make you bite off more than you can chew. After a rough initial start, David realized he needed to grow his team, oversee their progress, become a product manager, and start delegating more duties to others.
“Plan for Fun!” – Barbara Corcoran, CEO of BrandYourself
As a company leader, you are responsible for implementing clear communication channels by defining a workplace philosophy that everyone can follow. For instance, Barbara always tries to foster a culture that brings out creativity, even if it means that everybody has ridiculous amounts of fun, be it through company sponsored events, soccer team, happy hour, or Christmas parties. Barbara is all for planning fun activities at work. If you want your teammates to actually feel like they belong and start liking each other, you need to provide opportunities for them to have fun, drink together, do crazy things together, or even dress up in ridiculous costumes. On the bright side, having fun at work brings out every employee’s creative side.