Dick Costolo, the CEO of Twitter, took the stage at TechCrunch Disrupt Monday to give a blunt--and lightning-fast--lesson in leadership. He had just two hallmark tips for small companies, which he suggested they use before there are "barnacles on the process."
The first tip: Don't lead by trying to be liked. Lead by being forthright.
"It's quite simply this: As a leader you need to care deeply--deeply--about people, without caring what they think about you," he said.
"Lead based on clarity, not based on the hope of being seen positively," he added.
His second piece of advice aimed squarely at leaders in tech: There are many ways to be successful.
"The problem here is that we lionize these personalities, set them up to be geniuses... and we try to do it the way they do it," he said (think: Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, etc.). "But the truth is: These people are the same their whole careers. What was lionized 10 years ago is not now. Things change, but people stay the same."
This idea was inspired partly by a conversation he had with Pinterest CEO and co-founder Ben Silbermann, who said he likes to think of everyone in the industry as having one special "super power."
Costolo added: "I thought that was just an amazing insight into [how we should think of managing people]."
Though he didn't outline it as a third tip, perhaps another takeaway was that founders need to fix leadership issues sooner, rather than later.
"Even if you're going from two to 10 employees, if you don't deal with these things dysfunction becomes part of the culture and learned and its almost impossible to get rid of," he said.