Today's advice comes from Victoria Ransom, CEO of Wildfire, via The New York Times:
"When I look at my values as a leader and at the culture in our company, they’re really a strong reflection of the values I was raised with, such as hard work and leading by example. I grew up in a really small farming community in New Zealand. Everybody pitched in. Everybody worked hard. I don’t believe in hierarchy or creating hierarchy. I believe in earning respect. Nevertheless, I think people do want you to be a leader and they want someone to tell them that things are O.K. One of the things I’ve learned is to just step up a bit more."
Ransom believes its necessary to level the playing field at work and give everyone a chance to chip in. Hierarchies can actually get in the way of other people speaking up because they're afraid of stepping on their superior's toes. Businesses will end up missing out on a lot of great ideas that way. Still, that doesn't mean there shouldn't be any leaders at work. The trick is finding the right balance between taking charge and letting other people take over.
"Another lesson I’ve learned as the company grows is that you’re only as good as the leaders you have underneath you. And that was sometimes a painful lesson. You might think that because you’re projecting our values, then the rest of the company is experiencing the values. What you realize is that the direct supervisors become the most important influence on people in the company. Therefore, a big part of leading becomes your ability to pick and guide the right people."
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