One of the key learnings I have had as a founder is finding incredible talent and setting them up for success rather than failure.
There are 2 types of mentalities regarding giving colleagues opportunity:
1. Give people opportunity and let them sink or swim
2. Give people opportunity they are suited to when they can handle it
The former is a recipe for failure.
I have seen this, time and time again, in startups and even established businesses that display a high burn-out rate amongst the employees or a high dropout rate.
The mark of a great leader, in my mind, is to find people who are potentially awesome at something in particular and set them up for success – rather than failure – at something they are out of their depth in, due to lack of experience or suitability.
It can be very tempting (especially when the team is small and people wear multiple hats) – to get people potentially unsuited to certain tasks as there is often not enough manpower to go around.
Wherever I look – the world’s greatest teams are populated by sharpshooters. People who are mavens or show massive propensity for
something in particular and have been let loose to own the opportunity that they are suited to.
A great entrepreneur once told me : “The art of successful motivation is finding people who are amazing at what they do and convincing them that doing it for you is in their best interests”.
Fine words indeed.
A team surges to success when they have a feeling of ownership of a responsibility at that to which they are best suited to succeed in,
not that which you would necessarily like them to. When those people succeed – it’s like a drug: they will want more and they are suited to acquire more of it even more efficiently the more that they practice.
In my mind, this is a mark of a founder that aspires to great leadership, as a team of 1 does not scale very well.
Be aware, see things for what they are, rather than fantasizing on what you would like them to be.
Square pegs. Square holes.