The First Key Employee – Working For A Dumb Boss

February 17, 2012

A lot of people go into business to be their own boss. That’s one of the biggest reasons why people run their own company. Before we talk about hiring employees let’s think back to working for “the man”.

Working for a dumb boss

Have you ever worked for someone and thought:

  • Wow, how did this idiot get to this level?
  • I swear I know more than this person.
  • This boss has no vision for where the team or company is going.
  • My boss has no leadership or management skills.
  • My manager isn’t really passionate about the company, it’s hard for me to want to give them my all.


Turn the tables

Now you’re the boss. You’re “the man”. You are running your own business and it’s now to the point where you have to hire your first employee. It’s a pretty difficult decision. How do you decide whom to hire? What happens if business stalls? How do you decide whom to hire? Will the person I hire care as much about the business as I do?
Tonight I was at the Hackers and Founders Seattle Meetup. Kory Gill, co-founder of Newline Software, was the guest speaker. He made a comment about how “you’re not really a boss until you’ve hired your first employee. Someone that you don’t know. Not a friend or family member”. You’re bringing in a person and en-trusting them with something extremely important to you — it could be all of your life savings, it’s your livelihood, your company is what you’re building to ensure that you can take care of your family, your children.

It’s not about you

You might think that it’s scary to hire this person because of the reasons above. However, believe it or not, it’s also scary for the employee too. Sure, they might not have the same amount of skin in the game. But, perhaps they are not the entrepreneur that you are. They might not have the same DNA as you to risk everything to pursue the dream. However, they are taking a chance to work for you. There are other companies out there to work for.  Alyssa Magnotti, wrote a blog post about “servant leadership“. It was a really great blog post that I think nails it. If you want to want hire people that are going to care about your company as much as you do, then you need to stop thinking about yourself and care more about them. If you want to hire people that are passionate about your company then you need to provide leadership and set the example for them. If you think it’s scary to hire key employees, then, you might first need to look at your leadership abilities and skills.


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