Contrary to what legend may tell you, fear-based leadership is a dangerous strategy. Few founders possess sufficient genius that their teams will put up with that crap. Note: if you read the previous sentence and think to yourself, “but I DO have sufficient genius,” that’s a huge red flag. Even when great teams and products are built under this brand of leadership, it’s happening in spite of these conditions. Unlike living under an authoritarian dictatorship, people in startup land can leave for another opportunity in a heartbeat. So whether you’re an inexperienced founder yourself or working for one, it’s worth thinking about the leadership myths that might persist in your organization.
Have you ever walked into a house and had an indescribable feeling that it just feels cheap? A professional builder would walk in and give you a laundry list of shortcomings: uneven drywall, gappy hardwood floors, hollow-core doors, and cheap hardware. But most people just have a gut reaction. Like a well-built home, great software focuses on giving its users hundreds of small, satisfying interactions. A great transition in a mobile app gives us the same feeling we get from using a well-made door handle on a solid oak door — you may not be able to put your finger on it, but man, does the house ever feel well built. Slack is really fun to use. It feels like a well-built house.