Seven Fundamental Qualities for Better Leadership in 2016

Pop quiz: Have you scheduled in time this year to build your sense of leadership yet?

If not, it may be time to start. Taking, as Mark Suster puts it, the “luxurious time” to hone your leadership skills may lead to more profitable outcomes. In, Some Thoughts on Leadership Going Into 2016, Mark Suster shines light on seven solid guidelines for startup leaders. And if you’re a football fan, you’re in luck because Suster uses Chip Kelly’s failures as a coach to do so. How’s that for some light Monday reading?

In case you don’t have time to read the full article, here are some standout quotes from Suster’s view on effective leadership:

  1. A Sense of Purpose
    “… over time a sense of purpose can drift. That’s why it’s important to revisit your company’s mission from time-to-time … Putting no time into anchoring your beliefs because you’re too busy executing sales, marketing, support, product & engineering is an easy recipe for leadership drift.”
  2. Conviction
    “Know what you stand for. Know what you believe is important … The best leaders have conviction. They are resilient. They can live with having doubters and arm-chair quarterbacks and others who second guess but never do.”
  3. Relationships
    “People will accept being overruled or will accept compromises or will live through cut-backs and downsizing or whatever else is thrown their way when they trust and respect you … This comes from hours and hours of investing in personal relationships.”
  4. Team Building
    “I am a big believer in loyalty and rewarding those who have executed alongside you in good times and bad. At times you must still hire above them but you owe it to them to find the right and respectful role in your new org or to help them to level-up somewhere else.”
  5. Communications
    “Great leaders tell people what they’re doing and why. They are transparent about the goals and objectives of the organization and they’re willing to tell people how the company is doing against those goals.”
  6. Empowerment
    “The test of a true leader is that he or she understands that a leader is defined as much by the success of his or her team than on what the leader himself actually says. If you have really smart team members who say and do amazing things your board, your investors, your market will think infinitely more about you than if you do all the talking.”
  7. Presence
    “The truth is that great leaders are present. They show up in the office. They respond to email. They get involved in laborious staff meetings. They get involved in hard product decisions. They give good news and bad news personally. They know when morale is down because they are living it.”

And a bonus quote from Chip Kelly: “I was told there would be no math.” Don’t worry Chip; we’ve got your back!

For more information, contact Chris Arndt at [email protected] or call him at 312.494.7014. Visit to learn more about our Cloud CFO Services. 

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