244. The Authoritarian Approach vs. Loving Your People

VC Minute
If you can become a great leader, people will dig deeper for what they're building. An authoritarian approach will drive people away from your startup.

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Jeff Gardner:

It’s oftentimes you learn the best from things that didn’t go right. I had an experience of working in an organization where we had a particular leader who had some very strong equity incentives to make this business perform. And he had more of an old-school approach. It was very authoritative. I was actually sitting in my office one evening, around, I don’t know, 6 pm, 6:30 p.m., and I had one of my other leadership team members come by and say, listen, has Bob been around for bed check?” And I was like, what the hell are you talking about? He’s yeah, Bob comes around every night and he makes sure that we’re still here working at 6 p.m.

And for me, it just infuriated me to think that somebody would do that at the level that we were, and this is a very large business. I made it my point to making sure I was never in the office at 6 p.m. I’m still a very competitive person, so I would actually, go home and do work, but I would do it in quiet and in secret because I personally did want to win. But it made me want to work less for this person. It made me want to not put in all of the time and energy that I would have otherwise if the leader, if I knew really cared about me and wasn’t just concerned by getting a return on this business. And ultimately, people leave those kinds of leaders and that’s what we saw in this situation as well.

When you have a great leader, you just want to dig deeper for them. A lot of negative situations, there are some of the best learnings. And after that experience, I will never lead like that ever. That’s when I got into building this framework as far as making sure that the expectations are so clear. And when expectations are so clear, then, as a leader, your people have the freedom to do the work and make sure they’re delivering the work the way that they see fit. And as long as they’re doing that, I give my people as much space as possible, and that is, just one of the components of loving your people.

About “Love Your People” by Jeff Gardner
Love over fear is the key to exceptional leadership. ‘Love Your People’ shatters conventional wisdom by advocating for a love-based approach that sparks unparalleled organizational success. Through gripping narratives, bold insights, and disruptive guidance, this manifesto redefines love as a strategic weapon, unleashing innovation, autonomy, and transparency. It challenges fear-driven leadership paradigms, igniting empowerment and championing personal growth and collaboration.  

Pick up your copy of Love Your People – An Entrepreneurial Leadership System at Amazon

About AVL Growth Partners
AVL Growth Partners, founded in 2009, is the leading fractional Finance and Accounting firm supporting organizations in pivoting from growth to scale. AVL brings an experienced team of CFOs, Controllers, and Accountants to your organization, delivering transparent, strategic actions for short and long-term success. Transform your financial approach affordably with AVL, supporting companies coast to coast – get to know AVL Growth Partners at avlgrowth.com. (Sponsored)

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