Being a Founder doesn’t imply one is a good manager. It just means we were around when the company was formed!
Sometimes Founders do grow into great managers — and sometimes they were great managers already. But the real question is: “Do Founders need to be good managers?”
Ideally, yes. But it’s not a requirement.
We can fake it for a minute
In the formative years, when we only have a small team, we can usually get by without being great managers.
That’s because the team is still small, and mostly operates in a flat “team” structure without a lot of management to be had. That’s also why Founders often don’t realize they are shitty managers until later on because they ran for so long in an unmanaged structure.
Eventually, though, it catches up with us
Early on, our lack of managerial capability may not be an issue because our experience or skills as a manager haven’t really been tested.
It’s not until we have to let go of a key executive or steer the company out of a major crisis until we understand why good managers actually exist.
Good managers have a combination of experience and natural skills that make them born leaders. Founders that lack both become very apparent when situations go code red and that starts to create serious animosity with everyone involved — from employees to investors.
Good Founders find great managers
If we think we lack the experience and natural management tendencies — or we just hate managing (which BTW can look the same to our staff) — then the only way to be a good Founder is to find and empower great managers.
It’s OK to be a Founder without great management skills, but it’s not OK to be a bad manager with no backup.
One important caveat: the great way to become a good manager is to surround ourselves with good managers that we can grow with. What we may need is time in the saddle to become a good manager, without having to be one from the outset.