Yesterday I had lunch with a dear friend and incredible entrepreneur. Over food we talked about the progress she made with her company — which has grown from a few people to a team of nine, with a product in market and solid financial backing.
In the process she had to adapt from someone contributing to each and every aspect of building the product and company, to someone who’s role and responsibility it is to manage others.
This particular moment in time is one of the most fundamental shifts for entrepreneurs — the day you move from individual contributor to manager.
You suddenly need a whole new skill set. You need to figure out how to best manage people, make your people productive and happy, and deal with conflict.
People often seek advice on techniques, processes and methods of leadership. You can read endless books, blog posts and the like about this. And yet — I believe it’s most important to first start with yourself. You need to fundamentally understand yourself first, before you can become a good leader.
What are your strength and weaknesses? What is your communication style? What are things you need in relationships with others and what can’t you be with? What gives you energy and what drains you? What are your values? What is most important to you?
Once you understand yourself and fully lean into your authentic leadership style, the rest is merely learning and applying a few best practices.