New! The Heartbeat Podcast about leadership and its 31 best management quotes

Listen to our leadership lessons now on iTunes, Spotify, and read the best management quotes from 31 leaders from each episode, so far.

I’ve got some fun news to share: The Heartbeat is now a podcast! You can listen to your favorite leadership lessons during your commute, daily walk, while you’re cleaning your kitchen… well, you get the picture. Anywhere you’d like 🙂

I’m lucky that a big part of my job as CEO of Know Your Team is talking to insightful leaders. So several years ago, I came up with the idea of filming those conversations, just via Skype, to share with everyone else. In each interview, I ask the question: “What’s one thing you wish you would’ve learned earlier as a leader?” The answers have been undoubtably fascinating.

Now, you can listen to all the answers in The Heartbeat with your favorite podcast app (Apple, Google Play, Spotify). Subscribe here.

In the meantime, below is a summary of my favorite quotes on management from each of the last 31 episodes I’ve done… lots of invaluable wisdom, here. Enjoy!

“Don’t worry about most things because most things don’t matter.”

– Jason Fried, CEO and Co-Founder of Basecamp, from Episode 1
Listen to the full episode here.

“Just execute.”

– John Maeda, Global Head of Design & Inclusion at Automattic, from Episode 2.
Listen to the full episode here.

“It’s reframing the question, not as, ‘How do you keep people happy,’ but, ‘How do you keep the right kind of people for your organization happy?’

– Patrick Collison, CEO of Stripe, from Episode 3
Listen to the full episode here.

“When your job is leading, you’re setting a precedent for acceptable and expected behavior. Which means, every single negative thing you do, every bad behavior you have, you’re admitting that you think that’s acceptable.”

– Des Traynor, Co-founder of Intercom, from Episode 4
Listen to the full episode here.

“Authentic leadership is a practice. You have to consistently exercise that muscle.”

– Halleemah Nash, Chief Partnerships Officer at The Academy Group, from Episode 5
Listen to the full episode here.

“You want to believe that everything can be, “We’ll all figure it out together as a team. It should be this really diplomatic thing.” It should be, but I have found that people need that person to look to, to act as a leader.”

– Joanna Wiebe, Founder of Copy Hackers, from Episode 6
Listen to the full episode here.

“Best intention is bullshit. What matters is outcomes, right, and whether you’re taking actually steps to anticipate those outcomes and mitigate those outcomes the best you can and just think through that whole thing.”

– David Heinemeier Hansson (DHH), CTO of Basecamp & Creator of Ruby on Rails, from Episode 7
Listen to the full episode here.

“Don’t be boring. It feels like companies hire people, but in fact people hire people.”

– Amanda Lannert, CEO of Jellyvision, from Episode 8
Listen to the full episode here.

“ I wish I would have hired every single executive a year to two years earlier. I was in my hustle mode, doing it myself, and doing a massive disservice to my team in the process.”

– Wil Reynolds, Founder of SEER Interactive, from Episode 9
Listen to the full episode here.

You don’t want to be the blind leader. You don’t ever want someone following you and not questioning.”

– Sara Sutton Fell, Founder and CEO of FlexJobs, from Episode 10
Listen to the full episode here.

If I ever am busy, I’m failing as a leader because I’m shouldn’t be busy. My job is to run the team well, and me being busy, it’s a fundamentally inefficient state.”

– Michael Lopp, VP Engineering at Slack, from Episode 11
Listen to the full episode here.

I think the number one important lesson to learn is just the importance of self-awareness.”

– Ben Congleton, CEO + Co-founder of Olark, from Episode 12
Listen to the full episode here.

“Disagreements are a central part of interacting with human beings and it’s a central part of doing good work. If you don’t have the skills and the courage to do that, you’re not doing your job, basically.”

– Amy Gallo, Contributing Editor at Harvard Business Review, from Episode 13
Listen to the full episode here.

You realize that what you’re really saying is “I’m the only person in the world who can do this and I’m the best.” And that’s really absurd.”

– Laura Roeder, Founder + CEO of MeetEdgar, from Episode 14
Listen to the full episode here.

“The thing that I’m trying to put into practice now is the idea that the people with the most knowledge is where the authority should go.”

–  Dan Mall, Founder of SuperFriendly + CEO of SuperBooked, from Episode 15
Listen to the full episode here.

“If it is any percentage of your organization, of any size, whether you’re again a ten-person company or a thousand, you got to spend way more time than you think that you do with the team, helping them understand what’s going on.”

– Daniel Houghton, CEO of Lonely Planet, from Episode 16
Listen to the full episode here.

“When it’s about finding your own true north as a leader, it’s the idea that you are continuously learning and exposing yourself to all different kinds of styles. Even if you inherently know that, that’s not the right one for you, to the very least know that it exists.”

– Elena Valentine, CEO of Skill Scout, from Episode 17
Listen to the full episode here.

Everything stems from something. If you don’t know what your issue stems from, then you can never fully resolve it. It’s like psychology, but it’s really business.”

– Steve Larosiliere, President of STOKED, from Episode 18
Listen to the full episode here.

I kind of think about [leadership and management] as English gardening. If you want an English garden most of the work is actually the pruning and the taking care of. It’s not the planting, it’s not the plant selection. It’s this constant pruning. The day that you stop pruning is the day that the garden is full of weeds and overrun.”

– David Cancel, CEO of Drift, from Episode 19

“I wish that I had learned that I didn’t need all the answers. I don’t need all the answers as a leader, and that hiring people that are better than I am at something, and then when a problem comes up looking around the room and saying “I don’t know. What do you think?”

– Rob Walling, Founder of Drip + MicroConf, from Episode 20
Listen to the full episode here.

As you get drawn more and more out, you have to remember: How do you connect again?”

– Katrina Markoff, Founder + CEO of Vosges Haut-Chocolat, from Episode 21
Listen to the full episode here.

“I always say, “Don’t just be good on paper. Be good in real life.””

– Aynn Collins, Director of Talent Strategy at MailChimp, from Episode 22
Listen to the full episode here.

“Values, to me, mean how you conduct yourself and how you conduct your business– so the attributes and the method that you actually execute your vision to the world.”

–  Jordan Buckner, Founder and CEO of TeaSquares, from Episode 23
Listen to the full episode here.

“Am I just being nice? Or am I actually being honest?”

– Hiten Shah, Founder of KISSmetrics, CrazyEgg, FYI and Product Habits, from Episode 24
Listen to the full episode here.

“We have made a huge mistake in the tech industry identifying role models with God complexes, type-A behavior to have all the answers. We have made a huge, human, fundamental, cultural mistake in the tech industry, ’cause that’s not how we are as humans. That’s not actually how we do business. That’s not actually how we succeed in life.”

– Wayne Sutton, Co-founder + CTO of Change Catalyst, from Episode 25
Listen to the full episode here.

“I don’t actually expect you to trust me just because I’m your boss. I need to earn it.”

– Ryan Carson, Founder + CEO of Treehouse. from Episode 26
Listen to the full episode here.

“What I realized is that I should stop myself from doing things I’m good at — which is so counterintuitive — and instead, focus on delegating training and making sure that everybody gets good at doing those things.”

– Peldi Guilizzoni, Founder + CEO of Balsamiq, from Episode 27
Listen to the full episode here.

People talk a lot about building culture, but changing culture is very hard. I think understanding where decision falls and how irreversible it is is a really important tactic for deciding whether and how to delegate or when you need to just make and own that decision.

– Kathryn Minshew, Founder and CEO of The Muse, from Episode 28
Listen to the full episode here.

“Don’t beat yourself up too much when things go wrong, but also don’t take too much credit when things are going right. Because a lot of times there are things that are happening as a leader and as a company that are out of your control.”

– Desiree Vargas Wrigley, Founder + CEO of Pearachute, from Episode 29
Listen to the full episode here.

“I think the most important part, at least for me, is having a mission and then being driven by this mission. It forces you just to learn and adapt and want to improve.”

– Amir Salihefendić, CEO + Founder of Doist, from Episode 30
Listen to the full episode here.

“It’s great to have conflicting advice, because then you have to make your own decision. Then then you have to look within yourself and decide what is the right thing for this company, for the culture, personally for yourself, as well.”

– Joel Gascoigne, CEO + Co-founder of Buffer, from Episode 31
Listen to the full episode here.

From the Heart(beat): Leadership tips for new managers

I share a few of my favorite latest leadership tips from CEOs, founders, and executives featured in our Heartbeat interviews.

What do you wish you’d learned earlier as a leader? Every two weeks, I ask this question to a CEO, founder, or executive I admire in our interview series, The Heartbeat. The answers are sometimes surprising, counterintuitive, or relatable — but always fascinating.

I thought I’d share a few highlights of the tips they have especially for new managers just starting out…

  • David Cancel is CEO of Drift, a sales conversational marketing platform with more than 10,000 customers. David has been an entrepreneur for most of his professional life, having started five companies before Drift. What does David wish he had learned earlier in his management career? It’s all about people:

“It’s 99 percent people and 1 percent everything else…I think basically it’s the communication…We don’t really understand that everyone is slightly different or wildly different and that they need to be communicated to in different ways and absorb information and communication in different ways.”

  • Elena Valentine is the founder and CEO of Skill Scout, a media company that helps transform hiring and recruiting for organizations through video. For Elena, figuring out her true leadership style was a struggle for her — and it started to click the moment she stopped comparing herself to other leaders.

“It took a really long time to realize that I was comparing myself to elephants when I was really a giraffe and I needed to find other dope giraffes. And that took me probably up until the end of last year to really follow my true north and see that I’m a giraffe, I’m proud to be a giraffe and there are businesses that are incredible, that are run by giraffes.”

  • Steve Larosiliere is the founder and president of STOKED, a nonprofit organization that helps teens stay out of trouble by getting them engaged in action sports. Most recently, Steve and STOKED were featured on NBC’s TODAY Show for the impressive work they’re doing. What does this nationally-recognized leader wish he had learned earlier?

Empathy. I feel like early in my career, I didn’t have good leadership role models. I thought leaders just barked orders. If they were the leader, and they had the vision, everybody needed to fall in line. That is completely wrong. I think I’ve developed empathy throughout the years, because I realized that by putting yourself in other people’s shoes, and knowing where they come from, and understanding who they are, their motivations, their drive, their strengths, their weaknesses, their hopes, their fears, if you get that, then you can work with people.

  • Katrina Markoff is the founder and CEO of Vosges Haut-Chocolat, an international chocolate company that exceeds $35MM in revenue annually. Katrina has also been featured on the Food Network, not to mention countless of publications like Fast Company, Inc, CNN, and Glamour. Having grown her company to 130 people and counting, Katrina gave some advice about the challenges that come with added people, structure, and hierarchy in a team:

“Sometimes having these titles makes people feel like they’re so much further away from you than truly they are. Just really approaching it on a human level like, “How are we doing this together? Let’s figure this out.” I think that empowers people when they know they have a voice to you, especially with people that are new.”

This just scratches the surface of what we’re learning from these inspirational leaders and executives. To hear their full stories, sign up for The Heartbeat, our free biweekly newsletter that touches on leadership, employee engagement, company culture and feedback.