Best piece of advice to be an effective leader?


What's the single one best advice you have received or can give to a new founder to lead their troops? Both my co-founder and I are introverts (engineers by profession) and now will be hiring our first two employees.

Leading other people seems like a daunting thing to the both of us.

Management Leadership Founders

asked Feb 5 '14 at 09:51
Anisha M
31 points

3 Answers


While learning how to lead people can't be condensed into one answer, here is my one best advice:

"And" instead of "But"

I first learnt about this simple technique while reading Tongue Fu! by Sam Horn (great book, I highly recommend it).

Whenever you use the word "but", you negate everything you said before it. For example: "Anisha you're doing a great job, but proofread your proposals before sending them". The use of "but" makes the other person feel like you value your own viewpoint more than theirs. "But" deflates the positive and only leaves the negative.

Replace "but" with "and" in your conversations. Lets take a look again at that same situation:

"Anisha you're doing a great job, and to do even better, proofread your proposals before sending them".

The subtle difference has a huge positive impact on how you'll make people feel. You will come across as someone who values people's opinions. And that's key to being a leader.

answered Feb 5 '14 at 16:36
Nishank Khanna
4,265 points


Marshall Goldsmith said it best...

If you want to be an effective leader, listen to and accept with humility the feedback that comes from your team.
answered Feb 5 '14 at 23:23
Chrissie Gray
1,107 points


This is a classic issue faced by all startup founders today. Most of them are techies, marketing folks with little experience in running businesses.

I think startup founders should consider professional coaches / mentors. They may not be an expert in the business that you are in, but can help you identify the leadership traits in you and nurture it. Go to ICF (International Coach Federation) website and pick few, talk to them and figure out whether it works!

answered Feb 6 '14 at 01:23
11 points

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