Watch Twitter CEO Dick Costolo’s Great Speech on Business Leadership at TechCrunch Disrupt

Every year tech gurus and industry leaders gather for the TechCrunch Disrupt conference, which highlights the latest tech breakthroughs and startups disrupting technology. A general theme of the Conference: what does it take to come up with and execute a new idea?

Though all the Disrupt speakers were worth listening to, none may be more knowledgeable about running a successful company than Twitter’s leader and chief executive officer, Dick Costolo, who spoke at the event.

Disrupt SF 2013

TechCrunch Disrupt Highlight: Dick Costolo of Twitter

What are the keys to leading a startup to success?

As a leader you need to care deeply, deeply about your people, while not worrying or really even caring what they think about you. Managing by trying to be liked is the path to ruin,”

opened Dick Costolo. This seems easy enough: you’re direct with your employees, right? But do you also try to be their best friend? Well, trying to make everyone happy may be at constant odds with setting up proper expectations for the tasks your employees need to accomplish.

The way you build trust with your team and your people is by being forthright and clear with them on day one, and communicating with them based on clarity, and not ‘I hope they received this in a positive way’ and ‘I hope they leave the room with me feeling good.’ That’s the most important management tip I can give you.”

This can be a difficult proposition for any business. When running a company, you will often feel the need to portray each situation and task in a golden light, looking to turn fish eggs into caviar. But wouldn’t your people be better off hearing the full truth? If colleagues understand why you really want to do something, without second-guessing your motivation, the road to completing a project becomes much clearer.

Next, Costolo said,

The second thing I want to tell you… It’s absolutely critical as you guys try and create your companies and your cultures that you absolutely internalize this fact: there are many different ways to be successful.

Costolo warns against trying to mimic the behavior of other entrepreneurs and products that have worked in the past. What worked yesterday is probably overkill today, and likely to become obsolete by tomorrow. As a digital entrepreneur, you have to blaze your own path to success! Ask yourself, what sets my business apart from anything that has been done before?

Costolo’s overall point is that if you can be yourself and manage your company by deeply caring about your people, yet not worry about what they think about you,

You will be as successful as you can possibly be.”

Sure, it will take a lot of hard work and a bit of luck, but the people that make up your company are its most important asset. Be upfront and make sure to respect their time and effort. And above all, be thankful for their contributions, but value their growth and well-being more. If it’s your company itself that matters most to you, and not the people on your team, your true motivations will shine through in the end and your team will notice. If you make a mistake, which is likely going to happen during the trials and tribulations of starting a company, take responsibility, fix what needs to be fixed, and move on. IA work environment built on open collaboration, trust, and respect will always outperform a sweat shop in the long run.

Costolo closes his talk with another solid takeaway:

Always remember: when you’re thinking about communicating clearly with people and your team, you may think people are fooled if you are telling them what they want to hear. They are not fooled. As a leader you are totally transparent, your people are looking at you all the time. If you try to lead in some way that isn’t true to who you are, they will see it, and they will see through it, and you will lose the trust of the team.”

Have you ever started a company before? Were you able to lead it to success?

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