I had a chance to view a short video recently, a conversation between Eli Goodman (O’Reilly Programming) and Greg Leppert (Svpply).  I recommend it.

Now, perhaps you’re telling yourself that “those weirdo tech guys just don’t have to think like a real business owner” and that this doesn’t apply to YOUR company.  It’s absolutely true that there are some unique aspects of high tech, but I found the conversation useful because it was about more general management and leadership concepts.

A simple example:  Hiding bad news from your employees.  Yes, I understand that you don’t want them to worry about that new competitor down the street – especially because you haven’t figured it out yourself yet.

But you hired intelligent people, right?  You want them to be thinking about what will make the company successful, not just blindly doing mechanical tasks.  When you say nothing about that new competitor, employees will reasonably assume that (a) you’re totally clueless not to see something so obvious, or (b) the news is so incredibly bad that you can’t tell them.

For whatever reason, we humans seem to assume the worst case scenario.

On the other hand, you could tell your folks, “yes, I’m also a bit worried about that competitor.  They’re good at what they do.  I think we’re better, but that doesn’t mean that we can safely ignore them.  I’m looking at various ways we could respond to them, but would really appreciate your thoughts as well.”

You’ve admitted a bit of weakness, perhaps, but now your employees see you as more human and approachable.  There’s a good chance that you’ll get useful input from them.

But to do this, you had to set your ego aside for the health of your business.

For me, that’s true leadership.

Go check out the video.