Leadership in the Workplace: Lessons from Silicon Valley
In Silicon Valley we can find many different examples of corporate leadership. From a firm commitment to communication and empathy from Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, to the toxic culture that personified the founder of Uber, Travis Kalanick, through the autocratic and impulsive style of Steve Jobs.
Silicon Valley has a different working environment, in which business moves more quickly, with tremendous competition for talent and where technology leaders reach a high position at an early age. Although you can’t transfer their culture directly to other companies, there are definitely some leadership lessons we can learn from.
Keys to corporate leadership
Who better to talk about leadership than Carl Guardino, CEO of Silicon Valley Leadership Group, who offers seven keys to corporate leadership.
1 – If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.
2 – Success isn’t given, it’s earned.
3 – Breathe. It’s just a bad day. It’s not a bad life.
4 – The only people you should try to get even with are those who have helped you.
5 – Proud people count their riches. Humble people count their blessings.
6 – Don’t ever make yourself taller by making someone else feel smaller.
7 – Let your faith be bigger than your fears.
Lessons from Silicon Valley
We’ve also compiled the leadership teachings of another Silicon Valley expert, Steve Tobak, a strategic consultant with a lot of experience in the trenches of technology companies.
1 – Never lose your sense of humor, especially in a crisis.
2 – The best inspiration is perspiration.
Nothing inspires the entrepreneurial spirit more than working hard and achieving your goals.
3 – Authority and authoritarian are two different things.
Even if you’re at the highest levels of management, respect your employees and listen to them.
4 – Challenge people to excel, but stand firmly behind them.
5 – Engagement starts at the top.
It is important to delegate, but there is nothing worse than a leader who doesn’t work with and support his employees if something goes wrong.
6 – Do what needs to be done.
Leadership in a startup isn’t a comfortable position. To achieve success, you have to be the first to arrive and the last to leave.
7 – Be straight with your people.
8 – Do the right thing and set an example by your actions.
It is clear that the corporate culture isn’t so radically different, but it is optimized to achieve the best results and take advantage of the full potential of the employees.
And for more concrete actions, have you thought about holding “hack days”? In Silicon Valley, once a month employees have days off when they leave their daily work aside and focus on letting ideas and creativity flow freely.
There is also the weekly Town Hall, a meeting in which each department talks about what they’re doing, what they’re planning to do in the future … This gives a more global perspective of how the company’s different “gears” work together.