There's no one "right" way to lead a business. Today's leaders have a lot of wisdom to impart about managing the modern workforce, because each one approaches leadership in his or her own unique way. Every week, Business News Daily will share a leadership lesson from a successful business owner or executive.
- The leader: Robert C. Johnson, co-founder and CEO of TeamSupport
- Time in current position: 8 years
- Robert's philosophy: "Hire exceptional people, then get out of their way." (Click to tweet)
I became a CEO at age 25, so I didn't have much direct early experience with mentors on the job, but I did have an excellent example in my dad, who was a businessman and a great role model. I was able to absorb many valuable lessons just being around him. My own experience has been to learn from trial and error as an entrepreneur, venture capitalist, teacher and mentor to the next generation of entrepreneurs.
That experience has given me insight into how effective leaders operate, especially in my teaching and venture capital roles. Effective leaders serve as shepherds who show their people the way by communicating a vision, but they don't get bogged down in the tactical aspects, leaving that to their trusted team members.
I'm also a licensed pilot, and I've found that managing a company is similar to flying a plane. If you're flying a small aircraft like a Piper Cub, you're in complete control of a simple plane with no automated systems, so one person can easily handle it. But flying larger, more complex aircraft requires teamwork. In a business jet, the pilot manages but doesn't directly control many complex, automated systems. Something similar is at work as companies grow: On commercial aircraft, the CEO/pilot has to trust the crew to manage the systems and develop leaders who can take over, much as a pilot mentors a co-pilot.
I've learned that CEOs who micromanage everything unavoidably limit their company's potential because it's just not possible for one person to do everything. Conversely, those who bring great people on board and give them the autonomy to do their jobs expand their company's total capabilities and growth potential.
Edited for length and clarity by Nicole Taylor.