This question originally appeared on CoFoundersLab: Can startup founders ever be happy as just employees?
Answer from Brian Costello, former Vice President, Performance Marketing & Media at Monster
There are times when even the most ardent entrepreneurs seek another role besides CEO. I have found that moving back and forth from the C-suite to the trenches has allowed me to be a better manager and listener. I certainly became better at seeing the many sides to issues.
As a serial founder, you get a bird’s eye view of what makes companies succeed and fail, and how to port those learnings to other start-ups. But, I've always found that some of the prime benefits of being a founder are being able to see opportunities and give advice to other entrepreneurs and business people. In this role, you’re not always “number one.” You must put yourself in roles that best suit the growth of a company that you did not found yet, nevertheless, have an interest in or passion for.
My experience starting companies has given me more humility and more understanding of how to work with all kinds of people in all kinds of situations. Being part of these companies as an employee is not a negative — it can be great fun and a great opportunity. The key is to align expectations. Many founders need the relief of not being a CEO. They’re able to grow professionally and personally without the risk of their job constantly being on the line.
But the challenge in this is that leaders have a tough time staying on the sidelines. They see mistakes and want to step in, and they can get testy when advice isn’t heeded. But stepping back can be immensely beneficial for entrepreneurs. Give them an opportunity to observe and watch how they learn.
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Can startup founders ever be happy as just employees? originally appeared on CoFoundersLab — the place to connect, meet, and collaborate with like-minded entrepreneurs.