No one leads quite like you. You have developed a few habits that have worked for your eclectic mix of employees and product segment. You have a unique leadership style.
Good for you! Not every leadership tactic works for every leader. Some are way too detailed-oriented, invented by people who went to Harvard but have never actually heard of your autonomous car tech or don't know how to make an animated emoji app. Some of the most "practical" leaderships tips work fine when you have 200 people in an IT department in Silicon Valley but are not that effective when for managing five people who work remotely. You understand that leadership is part of your DNA.
Yet, there are a few habits for leaders you should do just about every day, even if your workforce is made up of millennials in an open floor plan or middle-aged folks in cubicles. These are the tips leaders need to use in companies of all sizes because they tap into basic human needs. They go beyond any innate leadership style.
1. Always get consensus
I've met with many top leaders in startups over the years, and they all seem to practice the fine art of consensus building. They have a leadership team, and it seems like every employee is on it. They ask a ton of questions. They don't read those management books and seminars and then make a decision in a bubble as much as they just expect every employee to be part of the management process (e.g., to also read all of those books and go to the seminars).
2. Praise with abandon
This is a habit that seems to come out of a natural gifting for leadership where you just care about people as human beings and understand we all have a desire for praise and recognition. It crosses all age groups. Criticism is a way to direct on a specific project, but praise is a way to lead and run a company. The best companies have a leader who is known to hand out easy praise.
3. Hire for the whole person
I've learned a lot about hiring practices since I was in the corporate world, and most of what I've learned has come directly from entrepreneurs. As part of their a leadership habit, they tend to conduct long, meandering interviews to get to know the real person. Obviously you have to hire for talent and skill. But the best leaders hire for the "whole person" and get to know their personality and how they will fit into the team. It's a habit that says "I want to hire the person, not the resume."
4. Squash complaints
After countless interviews with entrepreneurs, another common technique has to do with squashing complaints like bugs. These leaders seem to have no patience for bad attitudes. It's a habit they've developed because, each time they hear some negative banter about another employee or how the competition is killing it, they pounce on it and expect total positivity in the workplace. They know it's a disease that grows into fully-formed disgruntled workers who live in a perpetual state of disunity.
5. Rise about the challenge
The last leadership habit is probably the most important. When I talk to entrepreneurs, they have this habit of staying positive even in the midst of adversity. They just don't seem to care or they relish the opportunity to prove themselves. They are on a mission and they don't have any time for setbacks. It's a can-do attitude that permeates across every segment of the startup, from marketing over to accounting and back. Everyone sees this kind of leader as resistant to roadblocks. They just don't let anything slow them down.