One morning I woke up and had this statement in my head. I don’t know if I got it from somewhere else, but it rang true. I shared it with the team on hatch on 9/22/14. [See Hatching Inside Medium for context on this collection.]

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The job of leadership is to foster alignment and enthusiasm toward the right goal.

This has three parts:

  • Alignment: A collection of good people does not make a good team if they’re not pushing in the same direction. Constant communication and adjustment is needed.
  • Enthusiasm: You’re doing something hard and against the odds. The only way to do this type of thing is to have a (realistic) positive attitude and inspire confidence.
  • The right goal: Where are we going? Is it big enough, but accomplishable? Is it still correct based on current data? How do we know if we’re making progress? These are questions you must constantly ask.

I’m thinking of official leaders (and myself) when writing the above, but there are official and unofficial leaders in every organization. If you influence others — for good or bad — you’re a leader to some extent. That means pretty much everyone. Try to be a good one, by helping create alignment (communicate well), be enthusiastic (sucky attitudes are for big companies), and help us (and your team, especially) figure out if we’re trying to do the right things (short term and long term).

Written by

CEO of Medium, partner at Obvious Ventures, co-founder of Twitter, curious consumer of ideas

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