Improving Your Leadership Style For Your SaaS Company

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Improving Your Leadership Style For Your SaaS Company

With technology growing at such an exponential rate, the barriers to start a new company have almost completely fallen as now anyone with a laptop and access to the Internet can start a new Software as a Service company. Because of this, many new startups are being led by very young entrepreneurs who have a lot of great ideas and enthusiasm, but lack experience when it comes to leading an organization into the black.

If you have decided to start your own SaaS agency, then you will quickly realize that making it a successful company takes a lot more than just growth hacking and good code. You are going to need to learn some basic fundamentals of running a business and managing people. As the saying goes, “You are only as strong as your weakest link” which means that you are going to need to learn how to lead people so that you can get the best work from them.

“The best leadership style is that which motivates people to perform to their potential” says Dave Johnson, a leadership keynote speaker who works with young tech entrepreneurs. “Because people are self-interested, they will be turned on by what really excites them or most closely meets their needs.” In other words, people are selfish and want to know what’s in it for them.

The simplest leadership style is that of problem solver, someone who knows what to do and who earns respect by being knowledgeable and decisive. According to Motivation Ping, leaders who are confident without being arrogant can generally get by with most team members. But to improve your leadership style beyond this basic level, figure out how to adapt your approach to different situations and varying human needs.

What to do with an existing team?

When you take over an existing team, the big question is what sort of leadership style will work best with your individual team members. Try asking them, but indirectly. Ask them individually what sorts of work they enjoy and don’t enjoy, what they would like to do more of or get exposure to, what they see as their strengths and development needs. 

In the midst of these questions, ask them to describe their best and worst boss. What did their best boss do that they particularly admired? This insight into their needs will enable you to adapt your style accordingly. Ask them to compare your predecessor against their ideal boss. In what ways did this person measure up (or not) to their ideal?

The next important question is how much your team members want to have a say in what work gets done and how. Some simply want clear direction. They want to think about how to do their work and leave the “what” to you. Team members who want more will be most engaged when you ask them for their input on problems. If you want to move team members away from just waiting for you to give them your answers, manage their expectations by telling them you want to develop them by asking them what they think more often.

Facts or enthusiasm?

Another dimension to consider is whether people reporting to you respond better to competent, factual direction or to an enthusiastically expressed, inspiring vision. You may need to find this out through trial and error. Most people have only a vague idea of what motivates them. How they behave could vary greatly from how they describe themselves.

Finally, there is your own comfort zone. If you are on the factual, logical, low-key side, you won’t be credible if you try to behave like a cheerleader. When you think about improving your leadership style, be sure to stay within the limits of your own personality. You will only lose respect if your leadership style appears artificial.

See also: Thought Leadership Marketing at the Age of Influence