Editor’s Note: Each week Maynard Webb, former CEO of LiveOps and the former COO of eBay, will offer candid, practical, and sometimes surprising advice to entrepreneurs and founders. To submit a question, write to Webb at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. How do you push yourself to be a better leader?
—CEO of an early-stage software company
You have to constantly be learning and growing. That’s not optional. The best companies are growing. What you do when you have 10 people will not work when you have 1,000 people. Therefore, you have to keep evolving all of the time.
You must also figure out what your special talent is for leadership and keep honing it. How would people describe your best traits? Are you inspiring? Do you lead by example because you take on tough challenges? Are you seen as dependable? How can you keep developing what makes your style unique so you can make contributions that help people?
Most of all, it is all about trust. The trust you have with customers, employees, investors. Trust can be won or lost every day, in every interaction. Do everything that you can to keep building it.
A few other pieces of advice to become a better leader:
- Be open to feedback.
- Be a “heat seeker” for advice.
- Watch others and see who inspires you—and who doesn’t. You can see this in play in every meeting. Are people excited, or are they ho-hum?
- Be vulnerable. When you are not being inspiring, others can see that—and you can too. Admit when you had a bad day. Apologize and vow to become better. But don’t make this a habit. Always aim to improve.