From humility to the ability to stay focused anytime, 12 start-up founders share the traits they consider hallmarks of great leadership. We asked 12 successful founders from the Young Entrepreneur Council which traits they believe–above all others–define great start-up leaders. After all, passion is one thing–but what actually makes a good leader great? Their best answers are below.
“No plan survives contact with the enemy.” This variation on German Field Marshall Helmuth von Moltke’s original quote could not be more true. Leaders of start-ups need to be flexible and be able to alter (or even throw out) plans as their business rolls forward. And they need to be able to do it without getting angry, stressed, or insulted. Emotions like that from a leader crush company morale. —Matt Peters, Pandemic Labs
Whenever the company fails, it should also be the leader’s fault. Whenever the company succeeds, it should also be the employees’ fault. Your employees are not a vehicle to fund your ego. If you run a company, your employees are now your customers–and your top priority should be to serve their needs, not your own. —Liam Martin, Staff.com
As a leader it’s easy to get off track with your investment, your time, and your energy. You want to go to every event, every speech, and every dinner. Focus is what really matters. You need to put time and energy into activities that are the most effective for your business and its success. Have a litmus test for what those are and only accept invites and spend time on what passes that test. —Susan Strayer LaMotte, exaqueo