The last two days I had the privilege to support a leadership development program here at Mozilla. It’s an incredible gift to work with people on their personal development and see them transform over the course of two short days. Then, this morning, I had the pleasure of talking with one of our fellow Heretics about her personal journey as an early startup employee.
The scene which played out for her is one which is typical for startups: The founder is a first-time CEO. In his efforts to do the right thing he micromanages her, stifles her creativity & abilities and overall just creates tension.
Trust me: I’ve been there myself. Being a first time CEO is incredibly hard. I was in a constant state of anxiousness, insecurity and fear. I felt like someone threw me into the deep end of the pool and I just hadn’t learned to swim yet. I was scared shitless. Everything was new. A lot of things didn’t make sense anymore. I didn’t have any patterns to rely on.
Gladly I had amazing mentors who helped me, told me the hard truths and showed me the way. And the one thing I learned is: Your sole responsibility as a CEO is to formulate the vision, set the strategic direction, hire the right people, express intent and then get the hell out of your people’s way. Once they are in motion your sole role is to support them and make sure that they follow the broad path lined out by the vision and strategy.
Spend the next 10 minutes watching this — it will teach you more about leadership than a two-year MBA course: