The Leadership Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question “What is the most important quality a leader should demonstrate?” is by Kevin Chou, cofounder and CEO of Kabam.
Some of the best leaders I’ve known possessed many of the qualities commonly associated with great leadership: confidence, honesty, decisiveness, optimism, and vision. But I think the most important quality that is less often discussed is for a leader to be true to who they are in their leadership style. This requires introspection of your strengths, weaknesses, and areas of vulnerabilities. Effective leaders lean into their strengths, hire to offset for their weaknesses, and find creative ways to compensate for their vulnerabilities.
Earlier in my career I was an investment banker and later a VC, so I feel highly confident in strategy, finance, raising capital, and M&A. It would be easy for me to spend all of my time sitting with the strategic planning group, managing the P&L, or working with the deal team. I resist those temptations. I trust Kabam’s CFO and COO duo, Steve Klei and Kent Wakeford, to keep their teams running things effectively.
My weaknesses are in the areas of art, game design and software engineering, so I delegate these responsibilities to employees with the appropriate expertise. I spend a considerable amount of time with the developers and games team learning as much as I can, but never to the point of believing I can do their jobs.
This brings me to my vulnerabilities, which actually are weaknesses that cannot be delegated. You have to live with your vulnerabilities, so it’s best to find creative ways to compensate for them. A good example for me is public speaking. Like most introverts, I dislike public speaking. But employees expect their leaders to be inspirational speakers and no CEO can delegate this responsibility. To ease my nerves, I often ask event organizers if I can do a fireside chat rather than a straight-up speech. If the latter is required, I enhance the talk with art, compelling graphics, and lively videos that engage the audience and reduce the pressure on me at the lectern.
Another way I minimize the pressure of public speaking is to find other outlets for mass communication and thought leadership. Platforms like Fortune Insider and Kabam’s own blog enable me to voice my opinions to a targeted audience in a written fashion. These approaches allow me to be effective in my job while staying true to my own leadership style.
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