What was your work history before you became a founder?
Many founders don’t have senior management experience, let alone CEO/President or COO experience.
Some are young; others were non-executive managers, team members or individual contributors.
Which is OK, if they recognize that having the title and filling the shoes are two different things.
That’s not just my comment; it’s what award winning journalist Soledad O’Brien, founder and CEO of Starfish Media Group, said about herself.
Another challenge was that I was successful in my previous role because I really worked hard and took a lot of responsibility for making things good. But that’s not actually a great skill for being a boss. The job of the boss is to help other people reach their goals and their dreams.
At what point will I actually grow into this job, because I have the title? At what point will I actually be making decisions like someone who is the C.E.O. of the company? I would say it took a solid year before I felt good about it.
And I’m willing to bet, based on her own words, that she has little interest in hiring “stars,” who are usually full of attitude and ego.
You hire for character and teach people skills. And environment is very important to me. It’s important to me that people aren’t unpleasant and that they treat each other respectfully. It’s hard to be creative when there’s someone or something that’s really irking you.
So are you a person of integrity who makes the environment a really nice space? I will watch how they treat the person at the front desk versus me.
Whatever kind of startup you have, take a few minutes to read the O’Brien interview.
Then look in the mirror and accept that no matter what your background is you probably have a steep learning curve before you become your title.
Flickr image credit: Starfish Media Group