Most founders are hot-headed. It’s often what makes them brilliant. They are impulsive, smart, and quick-witted. They have high standards, a strong sense of what will work, and they can plough on in the face of adversity and naysayers.
They know they are onto something and they aren’t afraid of quickly changing course until they hit the jackpot. To onlookers, they appear crazy, but they’re actually genius.
With these superhuman strengths comes a whole bunch of weaknesses that can escalate. Courage, confidence and optimism to the uninitiated can look like arrogance and naivety. Being direct and to the point can come across as rude and insensitive.
When a founder wants something, they want it yesterday. When something isn’t good enough, they don’t hesitate to vocalise their opinion.
The problem is that a founder can’t achieve everything alone. They need other people, whether hired, contracted, in an advisory capacity or to make introductions. Often those people didn’t choose the founder life for themselves. They don’t want the instability, the unpredictability, the ups and downs. They don’t want the big risks for the potential big rewards. They opted out by design.
Founders and the people who work for them aren’t wired the same way. What motivates the founder likely won’t motivate their team. The tough love won’t wash. There needs to be another way.
The first step is awareness of different personalities. The second is understanding what each person wants. The next is knowing how they are best motivated.
After that it’s self-control. A founder who has the urge to write a sharp text or email holding back, to think about how it might be perceived. A founder who wants to instil a sense of urgency about a deadline considering if there’s another way to make the date. A founder about to fly off the handle about a genuine mistake pausing to see how they could be more forgiving.
The biggest indicator of longevity in romantic relationships is resting heart rate when in each other’s presence; how relaxed each person is around the other. What if that applied here too? Putting an entire workforce into fight or flight when stamping the metaphorical warpath isn’t sustainable. Over time, they leave. They decide it’s not worth it. They find an easier life.
The best founders have found a way to keep their genius without repelling people with their impulsiveness. There’s no other way for success on a grand scale.