7 Qualities All Successful Startup CEOs Should Have
Being a successful startup CEO involves more than just growing the business. Read about 7 personal qualities you should have to lead a successful team.
Running a startup is no doubt tough work. Long hours, shifting priorities and targets means that it’s a consistent balancing act. One thing that can mean the difference between a successful team and a struggling one is the leader. In this article, we’ll outline 7 qualities you should possess if you want to be a successful startup CEO.
Trends, tasks and metrics in business change all the time. Similarly, when running any type of business, you need to be prepared to be pragmatic and shift gears when you have to. Being adaptable means your team members will be inspired to do the same, and it also means your business will be able to ‘move with the tide’. In this sense, running a startup is very much a ‘sink or swim’ game, and the only way your business will survive is if it learns to swim.
Even if you’re the CEO of your startup, you’ll still have to manage the interests of a variety of stakeholders. Whether it’s your investors, other managers, or even team members, it’s important to be able to make concessions where you need to. It can be hard to step away from fulfilling the vision you have for the company, but what should be remembered is that the vision for your startup should be shared.
3. Effective communication
No successful startup CEO does well without being able to communicate clearly and effectively. Your communication style should be personable, professional and concise. This also extends to how you manage your team. You may find that you need to tailor your style to suit the learning styles of your team members and will also require the ability to multitask. In this sense, sending mixed messages is something to avoid – the clearer you are, the better. This should all be done tactfully, of course.
Sometimes you’ll have to make difficult decisions for the benefit of your business. In these situations, it can be tempting to shy away from confrontation or doing something you don’t want to. However, running a team means you need to be able to tackle these issues head-on, rather than letting them fester. For example, if one of your team members is underperforming or severely damaging the morale amongst your team, it may be better to let them go rather than let the rest of your team suffer any longer.
5. Emotional intelligence
It’s understandable that you’re passionate about your business, and this feeds into how you manage your team. However, there may be times where your patience gets tested, or you need to be there for your team. Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognise your own (and other people’s) emotions and respond appropriately. The good news is, that even if you’re not skilled at ‘reading the room’, this is a skill you can hone through practice.
What’s the purpose of your business without passion? Further, what’s motivating you to get up at 4am every morning to get to work if you’re not personally invested? Passion, though hard to quantify, is something your team members can sense from a mile away. If your team see that you truly believe in what your startup is doing, they’ll likely come to feel the same. By the same token, if you’re half-hearted in your approach to your startup, your team will approach their work in the same way.
7. The ability to unify
Running multiple teams obviously means that they’ll have different KPIs, but your entire team should share the same vision. Teams which work under a common goal will have a better understanding of what their role requires. Further, if your team members share a common purpose they’ll be able to help each other (and you) make your startup the best it can be. You can do this through holding company-wide meetings on a semi-regular basis, or organising activities which will encourage team members from different areas to bond and forge good working and personal relationships.
Each successful startup CEO is different and will approach running their team in a different way. However, there are certain traits and qualities you can possess which will encourage your team to be their best. Beyond hard work and attention to detail, you also need to lead by example – and this extents to your personality.
Jackie is the Content Manager at Lawpath and manages the content team. She has a Law/Arts (Politics) degree from Macquarie University and is an admitted solicitor in the Supreme Court of NSW. She's interested in how technology can help shape the future legal landscape.