I don’t like being a boss. I hate the word boss. I also hate the word power. Why can’t people just think of me as their friend, but still do as I tell them and take me seriously when I say something? I found out – and it took me a long time – that it doesn’t work that way. As soon as you’re in a leadership position, people will perceive you differently. A leadership position always comes with power. Great power. And with great power comes great responsibility.
I did not feel differently when I became CEO of Yoast. On the contrary, I was more nervous and insecure than ever. But my position changed, and with that, the balance of power shifted. My words, the feedback I gave to colleagues, became heavily charged because of my position. My feedback mattered more. I had to learn that the jokes I could make while being a team member were not appropriate anymore when I became CEO. It didn’t matter that I felt like our organization was flat and non-hierarchical, my colleagues looked up to me anyway.
As Spiderman taught us: with great power comes great responsibility. As a leader, you always need to be aware of how people look up to you. You need to be aware that your words matter, that your tone matters, and that you’re always, always a role model. Just like Spiderman.
This is the third post in the weekly column Two Worlds of WordPress by Marieke van de Rakt, veteran entrepreneur and leader in the WordPress space, and partner at Post Status, sharing her perspectives on what she’s seeing in WordPress.
OpenGraph photo credit: evisualcomunic