The announcement that the NY Times is discontinuing the "You're the Boss" column now that it's originator, Loren Feldman, is leaving... sent me into a little panic. So I went careening through recent posts to get what inspiration I could before it fades from memory.
Tech company founder Rebekah Campbell talked about wanting to hire a talented guy despite his exhibiting sexist behavior during the interview. That story led me to think about my own leadership challenges.
As the co-founder of the non-profit alumni association Columbia Club of South Texas, I urged the other founders that we set up a 'self-sustaining' board where board members vote in new and replacement directors, rather than relying on members to vote. One of the side benefits of this strategy is that the board learns to evaluate new members as potential teammates.
My challenge is the same as Rebekah's which is to admit that I can't always lead a contributor to success. Sometimes I have to recognize a mis-match between my leadership style and how the volunteer wants to contribute. As the leader of a tech startup struggling to find its sustainability, she cites the importance of authority, but even if people admire your leadership, they can drain all your energy with well-meaning misunderstanding. We have to be careful and recruit for diversity but with an eye for compatibility.
NY Times: Following Up on the Job Candidate Who Was 'Checking Out the Waitress', 2014-Nov-3 by Rebekah Campbell
“It’s your business, and if someone isn’t respecting you then let them go. Don’t try to lead from the shadows.”
You’re right! I wonder if women find this approach more challenging than men do – I know I do. I want people to be happy and I adjust myself to make relationships work. It takes confidence to hold your ground, but I suspect that’s the only way to establish authority.