Leadership Lessons from the CEO of Uber

Companies are opting for Less Drama and More Delivery

What is leadership? Such a simple question, and yet it continues to baffle the minds of some.  If you look up the term, you’ll see something along the lines of: “Leadership is a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal.”

 

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick’s pushy and combative leadership style has been the focus of much news lately.  While both qualities can be credited for part of what’s driven Uber’s success, more recently they have emerged as the very attributes that are tarnishing the company’s reputation. Uber’s culture has been described has a “toe-stepping, and cut-throat meritocracy”, causing some employees to leave.

 

Entrepreneurship requires strong-headed, passionate leadership to push through the obstacles bureaucracy often stand in the way of success.  Many great leaders exude a sort of confidence bordering on arrogance — Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and others have often been cast in such a manner – but more and more in today’s era companies are opting for less drama and more delivery.  This is typically best achieved through joint efforts, inclusion and diversified thinking.  Leaders who opt for the “my way or the highway” approach often find themselves abandoned eventually.

 

In the case of Uber, the company’s response to its current crisis provides numerous leadership lessons. While it may have been forced on him, Kalanick’s decision was indicative of recognition that the current mode of operation was no longer viable.  Kalanick’s decision was one of the most mature things he has done in recent months and demonstrates he is smart enough to know when to put his ego aside and do what is best for the company.

 

All leaders need a certain amount of guile and toughness, but the recent changes at Uber offer an insightful illustration of the advantages and pitfalls of having a maverick at the helm.  Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.