Even at a high-tech company, it’s important not to forget that humans are at the wheel
Not too long ago, I brought in a couch and a rug to fill a little nook near my desk. It’s turned into quite the cozy space – perfect for when I need a break and want to bust out my guitar.
I’ve been playing guitar for almost 20 years now. But back in the early days of Uberflip, when I was working out of my living room, no one would see me. Now, I always get a little good-natured ribbing whenever anyone catches me playing.
But I’m not embarrassed. Strumming out a few tunes always helps get my creative juices flowing.
I don’t know that music makes me a better leader. But it makes me human. Despite the fact that Uberflip is a technology company, that’s a key component to our business. We’re building tools for marketers who are not necessarily technical by nature. We want to empower our customers with great solutions they can use without having to get IT involved. We never want to lose sight of that idea.
Technology might be driving our company, but humans will always be at the wheel. It’s something I think about every day – and it’s an important part of how I manage the company. I urge you to do the same.
Hire smart people
When I founded Uberflip, the company was a one-man show. Whatever had to be done – everything from software development to sales to customer service – was on my plate.
As we’ve grown, I’ve had to learn how to let go. As a very hands-on person, that’s been hard.
But I’ve hired a lot of people who are smarter than me. Sure, there are days when I still want to manage some of the day-to-day details. But as CEO, I need to focus more on the overall vision and growth of the company and what it’s going to take to get us to where we want to be. Every day, it’s my job to ask, “Where is this vision going, how can I arm our team to get there?” Making sure I have the right people in place to handle everything else lets me do this.
Address the culture of your company early on
In order for a company to grow, everyone needs to be driving toward the same goal. That’s a given. But you have to have a company culture that supports that goal.
Most companies address the idea of what they want their workplace environment to be like too late. CEOs need to be thinking about what they want their company culture to be like from day one.
At Uberflip, it comes down to people. We don’t hire jerks. Everybody here is hard-working, talented and smart. But we’re humble. We’re a diverse group, but we all get along really well. There’s no one I don’t want to run into in the hallway.
When everyone enjoys the atmosphere at work, they enjoy coming to work. How to get to that point is important to address early on.
Trust and empower your employees
Sometimes, the best thing a leader can do is get out of the way.
I know that sounds a little counterintuitive. No one wants to see the one in charge just sitting there with his feet up on the desk. And you never want to come across as lazy or uninterested in the work that’s being done. But micromanaging people is going to get you nowhere.
Trust people enough to do their jobs. Give people the autonomy to do things on their own – under a watchful eye, of course – and your company will grow. When your staff is empowered, they’re going to do great things. So find those people, then get out of the way.