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How to Be an Effective Leader Within Your Organization

When we think of companies like Apple, Amazon, and Tesla, the first thing that pops into my mind is often a picture of their leader.

Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk are icons in the world of technology and pop-culture.

They span the chasm of business and celebrity. Elon Musk as Iron Man, Jeff Bezos as a character with his distinctive laugh, and Steve Jobs as the character portrayed in many books and films alike.

What many people don’t consider is that much of the glitz and glamour that is associated with being a #1 leader comes with it’s challenges, especially in the early days of a company.

There is a misconception that these challenges are part of the process and that if you can’t handle them then you were not made for the job.

People management, taxes, accounting, searching for office space, raising capital, etc. They are not sexy issues and just because you aren’t directly involved in them doesn’t mean you aren’t making an impact.

Most literature around hustle and building your startup paints these processes as something that YOU need to do to build a successful business.

We can’t all be 1s, or 2s, and 3s within a business.

It is through collaboration and connection that some of the world’s most well-known and influential companies are built.

Let’s take a look at Uber, a San Francisco based ride-sharing company, employing thousands of people and valued at $68 billion dollars. Travis Kalanick, co-founder, and CEO the face of the company has become an extremely influential leader in the world of technology.

Travis has taken the company from an idea focused on getting him and a select group of friends around San Francisco into a massive corporation focused on connecting the globe. Gary Vaynerchuk, serial entrepreneur, investor, and CEO of VaynerMedia, often points to Uber’s success as a product of Travis’s grit, grind, and leadership.

But behind the scenes, there are thousands of other employees who don’t find themselves in the spotlight. Beyond the early employees that make up any company, there can be hundreds of other 2s and 3s that crush their role within the organization.

Product Managers, Designers, Analysts, Communications Specialists…

Team players that give the organization its magic.

Here’s some great advice from Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg from her book titled: Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead 

“If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, you don’t ask what seat. You just get on.”

Play to your strengths. Don’t think you can do everything and anything within your business. If you do this you end up working in your business, and not on the business.

A recipe that will only get you so far.


Written by Sam Sawchuk

Sam Sawchuk is a passionate social entrepreneur who believes empathy can be our strongest tool in unlocking innovation in business and in life. Sam works with people, companies, and brands to develop strategic initiatives that empower disenfranchised segments of the population and inspire social change. He does this through speaking and coaching, as well as leading his own organizations, Sandwich for a Story and Brandschools. Sam’s work has been featured at TEDx, the Clinton Global Initiative University, the United Nations, as well as numerous other media outlets. He has held various roles in startup communities across North America including Calgary, Toronto, Vancouver and San Francisco with a focus on getting students involved in entrepreneurship. A passionate believer in the power of technology to connect and inspire, Sam has worked at a variety of innovative companies in the technology industry including Uber, Hired and Ayogo Health.

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