What leadership brings to your startup

Being a great business leader will not influence uncontrollable events:  a federal policy change, new tariffs, or the pace of technological change. But as Viktor Frankl is famous for saying, you can control your behaviour in response to events, and since leaders have an outsized influence over the choices and behaviour of their businesses, how a founder acts as leader either increases or decreases the capacity of the business to deal with the uncontrollable, and therefore increase the chance of the business’ survival.

This is one of my basic assertions: a better leader creates better results in his or her business, and increases the business’ chance of survival in those critical (and scary) first few years.

For example:

  • A good leader will make your team happier, more engaged, more productive and more coordinated, your employees will make fewer mistakes (or be able to change them when they do), find more opportunities, and produce more results. Wouldn’t this make you more able to attract investment or deal with unknowns better?
  • Good leaders distribute responsibility and accountability effectively and appropriately. If you’re not overburdened with responsibility, wouldn’t you be able to make better decisions, see more opportunities and be happier yourself?
  • A well-led team suffers fewer problems than a poorly-led team: employee turnover (staff redundancy for my friends in the UK), absenteeism, conflict, missed deadlines, uncoordinated results.

There is no downside to learning and practicing leadership skills when you are a founder – even 5 or 10 minutes a day pays off. Read more here about how leadership is learnable.