10 Leadership Mantras for Startup CEOs today

11 November6 min read
10 Leadership Mantras for Startup CEOs today

The term "mantra" was originally defined as a sacred (Hinduism and Buddhism) utterance, sound, or word that was repeated over and over to aid concentration during meditation. However, it has recently come to mean a frequently repeated statement or slogan; a truism, or a saying. Although the definition has deviated from its original meaning, a mantra can still be very effective in assisting you to achieve clarity and focus. And as a leader, clarity and focus are critical to your success.

What you are willing to "own" as a leader is your Leadership Mantra. It was made by you and for you. It is an oath by which you will live as a leader. Your Leadership Mantra will guide your interactions with coworkers, direct reports, and superiors. It also helps you to understand how you operate in the world. Your Leadership Mantra will guide your decisions. It will guide you throughout the day as you ask yourself, "Does this action align with who I am and who I want to be as a leader?"

“Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won't so you can spend the rest of your life as most people can.”

Every individual brings a unique combination of skills, experience, ideas, and values to the table. Building on those traits will define your value as a leader and set you apart from the rest. 

In the words of Steve Jobs "Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other's opinions drown out your inner voice. And most importantly, dare to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."

Here are 10 Leadership Mantra for Startup CEOs to help launch you toward your leadership league.

Leadership skills

"The single biggest way to impact an organization is to focus on leadership development. There is almost no limit to the potential of an organization that recruits good people, raises them as leaders, and continually develops them."

Your behavior as a leader should motivate others to dream bigger, learn as much, do more, and achieve more. Innovative ideas, actions, and efficient management skills translate into success. Getting feedback regarding your management style can help you adjust your approach accordingly.

Think of your team as an asset

Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision, the ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”Hire and train skilled individuals that are fittest for the role. That sometimes might even mean hiring people who are better than you. Take early losses. No matter how skilled you are at interviewing, mismatches sometimes occur. Act immediately to prevent a bad recruit from detracting from the work of the rest of the team.

The buck stops with you

Maintain an environment of open communication but run a tight ship. Being in a leadership role means you get to set standards but it also comes with the tough job of figuring out and finding solutions for eliminating failure. 

Invest in Team and Services

In the words of Aaron Levie, co-founder, and CEO of the enterprise cloud company Box ”The product that wins is the one that bridges customers to the future, not the one that requires a giant leap.”Provide exceptional customer service by dispensing your staff with the necessary resources and tools required to deliver first-rate service. By hiring more staff to improve the overall customer experience, you will carve a path for growth and success.

Building on Strengths

Focus on improving weaknesses. You can thrive and establish yourself by paying particular attention to areas of strength, as this is where you’ll receive the greatest return for your investment.

Strategize for success

"The true mark of a leader is the willingness to stick with a bold course of action — an unconventional business strategy, a unique product-development roadmap, a controversial marketing campaign — even as the rest of the world wonders why you're not marching in step with the status quo. In other words, real leaders are happy to zig while others zag. They understand that in an era of hyper-competition and non-stop disruption, the only way to stand out from the crowd is to stand for something special."

Strategize for success keeping in mind the ideology of who you are as a leader, and then learning how it can set you apart from the rest. Your success won't be determined in the future by how much you contributed on your own. Instead, you will be judged on your capacity to build and sustain a highly motivated workforce that is eager to succeed.

Networking & Mentors

“Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know. That can be your greatest strength and ensure that you do things differently from everyone else.” – Sara Blakey, CEO of Spanx.

When launching a new business, seeking role models and mentors that you can emulate is common human behavior. Your success ultimately rests on your own shoulders, however, a mentor can help you navigate the issues that are present in every workplace.

Self-awareness and Authenticity

A truly successful leadership is substantiated by self-awareness and authenticity. Being authentic & understanding your limitations and strengths, liberates you from the need for external approval. The true measure of success is not where you currently are but rather where you are going. You can balance long-term objectives with immediate needs using a structure provided by strategic planning, which is the process of translating vision into practical business strategies. You can also update plans to take into account changing conditions and create backup plans for a wider range of eventualities. Without a strategic vision, your strategic strategy is ineffective. Both are essential to one another and are futile without each.

Take chances and don't fear change

“The important thing is not being afraid to take a chance. Remember, the greatest failure is to not try. Once you find something you love to do, be the best at doing it.” – Debbi Fields, CEO of Ms. Field Cookies. Organizations need to have a positive outlook on change and flexibility to adapt, in order to thrive and progress. It enables them to weather, influence, and progress in the face of inevitable change and challenges.

Cultivating relationships

People's skills and fostering relationships come from coaching, guiding, encouraging, and rewarding those who are working with you- in their professional and personal growth and development.

Empower, don't exercise power

“Leaders get out in front and stay there by raising the standards by which they judge themselves – and by which they are willing to be judged.” As a leader, one of the key roles is keeping your team motivated and focused on the core mission. Effective communication, delegation skills, and leading by example create a culture of empowerment.

Transform commitment into reality

 “Every time you make the hard, correct decision you become a bit more courageous, and every time you make the easy, wrong decision you become a bit more cowardly. If you are CEO, these choices will lead to a courageous or cowardly company.” – Ben Horowitz, CEO of Opsware.Your dedication to your business goals and interpersonal communication will translate into a valuable asset, which is the ultimate objective that should be sought.