A few weeks ago, I had lunch with a dear friend and incredible entrepreneur. Over food we talked about the progress she made with her company, which has grown from a few people to a team of nine with a product in market and solid financial backing.

One of the most fundamental shifts for entrepreneurs is the day you move from being an individual contributor to a manager. Tweet This Quote

In the process, she had to adapt from being the person always contributing to each and every aspect of building the product and company to being the one who’s role and responsibility it is to manage others.

This particular moment in time is one of the most fundamental shifts for entrepreneurs—the day you move from individual contributor to manager.

You suddenly need a whole new skill set. You need to figure out how to best manage people, how to make your people productive and happy, and how to deal with conflict.

People often seek advice on techniques, processes and methods of leadership. You can read endless books, blog posts and more about this. And yet, I believe it’s most important to first start with yourself. You need to fundamentally understand yourself first before you can become a good leader.

You need to understand yourself first before you can become a good leader. Tweet This Quote

What are your strengths and weaknesses? What is your communication style? What are things you need in relationships with others, and what can you live without? What gives you energy, and what drains you? What are your values? What is most important to you?

Once you understand yourself and fully lean into your authentic leadership style, the rest is merely learning and applying a few best practices.


This post originally appeared on Pascal’s blog.

About the author

Pascal Finette

Pascal Finette

Pascal is the Managing Director of Singularity University's Startup Lab. He is also an entrepreneur, coach, and speaker who has worked in Internet powerhouses, such as eBay, Mozilla, and Google, and Venture Capital—starting both a VC firm and accelerator program.

  • Pascal, thanks so much for this article! I couldn’t agree more. I agree self-awareness is critically important and reflecting on the questions like ones you posed I believe is an imperative first step. Readers, which question did Pascal mention do you think is most important for self-awareness and leadership? Why? What other questions do you think are poignant self awareness and leadership questions to reflect on? Thanks again Pascal!

  • Katie Frank

    Cat, I think all of the questions Pascal posed are equally important for self-awareness and leadership. One must take all questions into account when becoming a good leader. However, if I were to choose one, I would focus on my strengths and weaknesses and build from there. Addressing these would allow me to expand on what I excel in and improve upon what I struggle with as a leader. I think another thing to take into account for reaching self-awareness is that it changes with time and environments.

  • Hi Pascal. For me the main obstacle was knowing when to let go.