Traits of an ef­fec­tive leader

Lesotho Times - - Jobs & Tenders - Molly Owens

What should be spo­rad­i­cally added to each list How to pri­or­i­tize and act upon list items Be­low are sev­eral ex­am­ples of lists that I have built over the past few years at Brain­scape. I’ve di­vided them into two types: Peo­ple Lists and To-do Lists. If you don’t have th­ese lists go­ing al­ready, get started now. Ex­ist­ing in­vestors’ and ad­vis­ers’ skill sets It is im­por­tant to main­tain a list of your ex­ist­ing in­vestors’ skill sets to help you re­mem­ber whom to ask for par­tic­u­lar ad­vice or fa­vors (Ex­am­ple: If one of your in­vestors used to work in me­dia, you can ask them for PR help.). Keep­ing your in­vestors en­gaged, and re­mem­ber­ing to catch up with them in­di­vid­u­ally from time to time is your se­cret weapon to mul­ti­ply­ing your army of evan­ge­lists.

in­vestors Over the course of run­ning your busi­ness, you will likely hear about many po­ten­tial an­gel in­vestors or ven­ture cap­i­tal­ists who would be per­fect can­di­dates for your com­pany. Th­ese peo­ple should be added to a po­ten­tial in­vestors list as soon as you hear about them! Even if you are not cur­rently fundrais­ing (or if you are “too early” for par­tic­u­lar later-stage in­vestors), keep­ing a log of your con­ver­sa­tions with po­ten­tial in­vestors will make your life much eas­ier once you are ready for your next fundrais­ing blitz. Ex­ist­ing part­ners If your busi­ness has any con­tent or dis­tri­bu­tion part­ners, it is im­por­tant to main­tain great com­mu­ni­ca­tion with them. A sim­ple spread­sheet -- list­ing all your part­ners, the na­ture of your part­ner­ship, the key cham­pi­ons within the part­ner com­pany and any ad­di­tional notes about the re­la­tion­ship -- can help you re­mem­ber when to send them ex­clu­sive com­pany up­dates, hol­i­day cards or any other help­ful cor­re­spon­dence. Po­ten­tial part­ners Are there com­pa­nies you’d like to part­ner with in the fu­ture? Did some­one just men­tion a great po­ten­tial fu­ture part­ner dur­ing a meet­ing? This is a job for the po­ten­tial part­ners list. Whether you’re log­ging ideas for dream in­tro­duc­tions, or just keep­ing track of con­ver­sa­tions you’ve al­ready had, a cen­tral list of po­ten­tial part­ners can keep all your cor­po­rate devel­op­ment ac­tiv­i­ties or­ga­nized. WHAT makes a good leader? Which per­son­al­ity traits do the best trail­blaz­ers share? Ev­ery or­ga­ni­za­tion has its own bench­marks for de­ter­min­ing who would make the best head of its teams, but are those qual­i­ties re­ally all that dif­fer­ent?

Re­search in the field sug­gests that, on a broad level, em­ploy­ees and em­ploy­ers are look­ing for sim­i­lar char­ac­ter­is­tics in their lead­ers -- no mat­ter what busi­ness they’re in. Here are four per­son­al­ity traits that peo­ple want in a boss.

Re­sults form a Novem­ber 2014 Pew Re­search Cen­ter Sur­vey showed that 84 per­cent of the 1,835 re­spon­dents con­sid­ered hon­esty the most es­sen­tial per­son­al­ity trait for any leader. Hon­est lead­ers in­spire not just through words but through ac­tions.

They’re the kind of lead­ers who build their teams from the ground up. They un­der­stand that ef­fec­tive lead­er­ship is built on trust, and that hon­esty in lead­er­ship gen­er­ates a stronger team dy­namic. Hon­est in­ter­ac­tions with em­ploy­ees build the kind of Just be sure you’re tar­get­ing the right per­son within the po­ten­tial part­ner or­ga­ni­za­tion.

ac­quir­ers Com­pa­nies are al­most never ac­quired as the re­sult of a sin­gle dis­cus­sion. Most suc­cess­ful ac­qui­si­tions are ac­tu­ally the re­sult of on­go­ing con­ver­sa­tions be­tween the startup and the ac­quirer. Main­tain­ing a list of your po­ten­tial ac­quir­ers, get­ting in­tro­duced to the right peo­ple in their or­ga­ni­za­tions and log­ging your con­ver­sa­tion notes are im­por­tant ac­tiv­i­ties to pre­pare your com­pany for an even­tual exit.

Note that many of your cur­rent or po­ten­tial part­ners could also be po­ten­tial fu­ture ac­quir­ers of your busi­ness, so you may want to con­dense th­ese two lists into a sin­gle cor­po­rate devel­op­ment spread­sheet. 6. Jour­nal­ists you know You never know when your com­pany may do some­thing that is “story wor­thy.” Keep­ing an up­dated list of all your jour­nal­ist bud­dies can help you quickly get the word out when the time is right. Just be sure to stay in touch with them (and even do oc­ca­sional fa­vors for them) so that they pay at­ten­tion to your next email! Jour­nal­ists you want to know There may be a hand­ful of in­flu­en­tial jour­nal­ists who reg­u­larly write about your in­dus­try. Keep a list of them! I’ve found Twit­ter lists to be a par­tic­u­larly help­ful tool for this. If you reg­u­larly com­ment on their posts, retweet them and fa­vorite them, they’ll even­tu­ally no­tice and en­gage you in a con­ver­sa­tion about what you do. CEO friends Your fel­low en­tre­pre­neur­ial bud­dies can be among your most im­por­tant as­sets. They can help with con­fi­den­tial ad­vice, they can serve as po­ten­tial part­ners on key ini­tia­tives, they can at­tend your startup’s par­ties and they can in­tro­duce you to your tar­get in­vestors when you’re ready for the in­tros. I tend to just use a Gmail con­tacts list for this. Awe­some tal­ent you know Did you just meet an amaz­ing en­gi­neer who you’ll even­tu­ally want to hire as an An­droid re­la­tion­ships that make suc­cess in the work­place at­tain­able for the en­tire team -- not just the boss.

In the world of per­son­al­ity eval­u­a­tion, open­ness is one of the Big Five di­men­sions of per­son­al­ity that psy­chol­o­gists use to eval­u­ate in­di­vid­u­als. It refers to how open an in­di­vid­ual is to new ex­pe­ri­ences and how imag­i­na­tive and in­sight­ful an in­di­vid­ual can be.

In 2014, strength-based lead­er­ship devel­op­ment ex­perts Jack Zenger and Joseph Folk­man per­formed an anal­y­sis of the 33 top lead­ers at a ma­jor telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions or­ga­ni­za­tion and es­tab­lished 10 per­son­al­ity traits that made those lead­ers ef­fec­tive. Some of their find­ings in­cluded cre­at­ing a cul­ture that mag­ni­fies up­ward com­mu­ni­ca­tion (be­ing open to ideas from all sources); set­ting stretch goals (keep­ing an open mind to find dy­namic ways to achieve or­ga­ni­za­tional goals); and em­pha­siz­ing speed (de­fined as en­cour­ag­ing ideas to be tested first and dis­cussed -- and picked apart -- later). de­vel­oper (once you raise some money)? Or per­haps an amaz­ing fu­ture vice pres­i­dent of sales who loves your com­pany and wants to stay in touch? Don’t lose touch with th­ese peo­ple. Keep them in a sep­a­rate con­tact list. You never know if you may need them -- or if you may want to re­fer them to op­por­tu­ni­ties at your friends’ com­pa­nies. “Peo­ple to up­date” Some­times you just want to blast a whole bunch of “rel­e­vant” con­tacts with an im­por­tant up­date about your com­pany (par­tic­u­larly while build­ing hype for PR or fundrais­ing blitz). Hav­ing an up-to-date mas­ter list of th­ese peo­ple -- which might in­clude in­vestors, en­tre­pre­neur­ial friends, jour­nal­ists, friends and even your fam­ily -- will make this up­date process much eas­ier.

I main­tain my own ver­sion of this list by sim­ply tag­ging all my rel­e­vant Gmail con­tacts with a la­bel called “Gen­eral Up­dates.”

The sec­ond type of lists that startup founders should main­tain is to-do lists. Startup todo lists come in many fla­vors:

term CEO tasks Things you need to do in the next few days. I per­son­ally use Gmail’s built-in Tasks fea­ture for this, and I have an iphone app that al­lows me to ac­cess this list on the go. Long-term CEO projects Things you need to do “even­tu­ally.” I use a Trello board for this. I gen­er­ally sit with my ex­ec­u­tive team each month to re-pri­or­i­tize this list and to make sure I’m work­ing on the right things. 3. Short-term prod­uct tasks Things your prod­uct team is cur­rently work­ing on. This helps you re­mem­ber what’s im­por­tant be­fore you bother them with a triv­ial new idea. If it’s not an emer­gency, add it to the prod­uct back­log. Prod­uct back­log Fea­tures that you hope to “even­tu­ally” build. At Brain­scape, we gen­er­ally don’t have a de­tailed long-term road map, since we pre­fer to re-as­sess the prod­uct back­log ev­ery few weeks and de­ter­mine which items should be added to the short-term tasks. While the study only fo­cused on 33 lead­ers from one or­ga­ni­za­tion, Zenger and Folk­man noted their re­sults were con­sis­tent with their anal­y­sis of lead­ers from hun­dreds of or­ga­ni­za­tions across a wide range of in­dus­tries.

Good lead­ers en­cour­age a cul­ture where ev­ery team mem­ber’s ideas are heard and val­ued.

They’re open and imag­i­na­tive -- and they en­cour­age those traits in their em­ploy­ees.

Lead­ers make de­ci­sions.

With­out fail, lead­ers are reg­u­larly called on to make choices that im­pact both the or­ga­ni­za­tion and the peo­ple they lead. Peo­ple want to fol­low a per­son who weighs all the op­tions and, as Zenger and Folk­man dis­cov­ered in their re­search,

“Dis­play fear­less loy­alty to do­ing what’s right for the or­ga­ni­za­tion.” In other words, good lead­ers make im­por­tant de­ci­sions based on what’s best for the or­ga­ni­za­tion -- and they make them con­fi­dently.

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