Do Founders Need to be Good Managers?

Sometimes Founders do grow into great managers — and sometimes they were great managers already. But the real question is: "Do Founders need to be good managers?"

November 25th, 2019   |    By: Wil Schroter

Being a Founder doesn't imply one is a good manager. It just means we were around when the company was formed!

Sometimes Founders do grow into great managers — and sometimes they were great managers already. But the real question is: "Do Founders need to be good managers?"

Ideally, yes. But it's not a requirement.

We can fake it for a minute

In the formative years, when we only have a small team, we can usually get by without being great managers.

That's because the team is still small, and mostly operates in a flat "team" structure without a lot of management to be had. That's also why Founders often don't realize they are shitty managers until later on because they ran for so long in an unmanaged structure.

Eventually, though, it catches up with us

Early on, our lack of managerial capability may not be an issue because our experience or skills as a manager haven't really been tested.

It's not until we have to let go of a key executive or steer the company out of a major crisis until we understand why good managers actually exist.

Good managers have a combination of experience and natural skills that make them born leaders. Founders that lack both become very apparent when situations go code red, and that starts to create serious animosity with everyone involved — from employees to investors.

Good Founders find great managers

If we think we lack the experience and natural management tendencies — or we just hate managing (which BTW can look the same to our staff) — then the only way to be a good Founder is to find and empower great managers.

It's OK to be a Founder without great management skills, but it's not OK to be a bad manager with no backup.

One important caveat: the great way to become a good manager is to surround ourselves with good managers that we can grow with. What we may need is time in the saddle to become a good manager, without having to be one from the outset.

In Case You Missed It

How to Manage Expectations with a Growing Team. As our Startup accelerates toward our desired destination, we must let go of the management reins by building specially-designed teams with smaller-than-normal numbers. The result yields less frazzled managers and staff members who are focused on carrying out the tasks at hand.

The Benefits of Emotional Intelligence. Performance is about more than technical expertise — it relies on our ability to relate to people. Leaders who can recognize their own emotions in relation to how they affect their behavior are better able to control their own impulses and handle change.

What Effective Leadership is all About. Research has found that less than 50% of employees trust those in leadership roles. So what actually makes our team see us as a leader they can trust, respect, and take direction from? Check out this guide to get started.

About the Author

Wil Schroter

Wil Schroter is the Founder + CEO @ Startups.com, a startup platform that includes BizplanClarity, Fundable, Launchrock, and Zirtual.  He started his first company at age 19 which grew to over $700 million in billings within 5 years (despite his involvement).  After that he launched 8 more companies, the last 3 venture backed, to refine his learning of what not to do.  He's a seasoned expert at starting companies and a total amateur at everything else.

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