I’ve been at Snaps now for seven months.
When I took the role, my primary interest in the opportunity was one of personal growth. Of course, I was excited to work with the team, and excited about the space and it was generally a great opportunity, but mostly I wanted to learn how to run a company by actually doing it.
I’ve read a variance of comments on this idea: taking a ceo role for professional growth reasons. Some of the better critiques of this idea go something like ” the best ceos don’t actually want to be ceos at all, they take the job because no one else is willing to step into it”. It’s a romantic idea, the humble leader who quietly takes a leadership role without a hint of hubris or want of personal gain, who steps in and steadfastly inverts the org so that leadership sits on the bottom, supporting everyone on the team from below.
I aspire to do that, to be that. I fail at it every day.
One of the hardest adjustments I’ve had to make, and I’m guessing i’m not alone in this challenge, is moving my mindset from ‘produce great work’ to ‘inspire and motivate others to produce great work”.
I think most highly productive people end up in leadership roles because they were really good at producing work, and so eventually graduated out of producing work and into a role of managing others who are producing work. I’m not suggesting that I don’t produce anything, more that I’m finding the most effective use of my time is in supporting others to produce work, because that’s how organizations scale, how people grow and how leaders can create great results.
These two ideas: producing vs. supporting, require completely different skill sets. I am phenomenally weak in the second. I am impatient and intolerant of mistakes. I become frustrated when people don’t produce work in a way I would have done it, or as quickly as I might have. At my worst, I can be pessimistic and dismissive, and that usually comes out when I can’t control situations, which is basically every day at my job, and I imagine every day in most leadership roles.
I am often reminded in my new role how important is is to support others in producing great work, and I think that’s been my best lesson so far.