Editor’s Note: This post was an interview for BEALEADER special guest Brandon Lee.
This week, #bealeader spotlights Brandon Lee, CEO, Social Stage. Brandon will join us for a very special hour this Thursday, June 28th at 7pmET/4pmPT exclusively on Twitter as we kick off our month long series of Real Leaders, Real Issues. I spoke with Brandon prior to our chat and asked him a few questions to get an overview of his thoughts on leadership, and his beginnings.
How did you get your start?
I actually started building businesses and recruiting workers when I was in elementary school. I had a few “companies” through those years and into high school and college. I seemed to have a natural inclination towards starting companies or programs and rallying my friends around me to do things. It was fun for me and I seemed to hone my skills at an early age. I started my first “real” company at 27 with 2 partners. The company was an internet start-up that failed miserably in some ways but we adjusted the model mid-launch and salvaged it and sold it to another company.
What has brought you the most fulfillment in work, as well as life?
Hate to sound trite but I adore my family. My wife and 4 kids are a source of amazing joy to me. In my companies, I really do enjoy watching people learn and grow. I tell everyone that works for me that I am realistic and know that they will not work for me forever. My goal for them is that whenever it’s time for them to move on to their next position that they leave with two things. First, they leave us with more skills and talents.that they are excited about using in their next position and secondly that they know themselves better — that they have a better understanding of what truly motivates them and what brings joy into their lives. One thing I know to be true is that people will always do the things that they want to do and they will always do those things better than anything else. The truly blessed person is the one that can find that for themselves and earn a living at doing it too.
What was the toughest lesson you have learned to date?
During times of stress or extreme business circumstances ARE the times to take time out of the office. It’s never good to make fast and frantic decisions. In my opinion those are the most necessary times to be still and know that God is God and allow yourself time to think, pray and make wise decisions. Everything in our world has gotten so fast and if we fall into thinking that we have to move fast no matter what then we are going to burn out and make bad decisions. About nine months after I sold my last company I just wanted to crawl into bed and stay for about a year. I had just been worked over by my own pace of life.
What has influenced your leadership and why?
My leadership has been influenced primarily by the thoughts promoted into 2 books. First, is The Art of the Learning Organization by Peter Senge and second is “Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. I know that the Love Languages book seems totally out of place but if you can learn how people receive love and appreciation and give it to them in job-appropriate ways then they will be “full” and be more joyful, work harder, work smarter and just overall enjoy their life and their job more. Nothing is better for a company’s bottom line than a bunch of happy, joyful and excited-to-be-there workers. The Art of the Learning organization book helped me realize that everything was cyclical and I didn’t have to strive for perfection the first time around. Create plan, implement the plan, review the results and make adjustments. Some cycles are quicker than others but everything activity is at some spot in that cycle. And, it’s OK.
What wisdom would you impart to other leaders?
Know yourself and know your strengths first. Know what you want to do in the day-to-day activities and then hire people around you that like to do the things that you don’t like to do. Then, everyone is doing activities that they want to be doing. Nothing worse than hating your job when you are the boss.
What are you excited about most right now?
I have been volunteering with my personal coach on a program that we are tentatively calling ” Sync.” It is a 2-day workshop that helps people reflect on their past experiences for both work and non-work life and see how it has prepared them for the next stage(s) of their lives. We all have some great times and some hard times in our lives. The only consistent component of all of them is that those situations greatly influence how we show up in our lives each and every day. But, most of us don’t take enough time to reflect on them, learn from them and then alter our future course because of it. This workshop is designed to help people do just that. Oh yeah, and I am excited about my current company @SocialStage.
What does it mean to you to #bealeader ?
Being a leader for me means to be authentic, be encouraging and lead with a vision. Those that can see and like your vision will follow. Those that don’t, won’t.
Please join us this Thursday, June 28th and engage Brandon Lee with questions and issues that you may have with leadership, business and social media engagement. This should be a great hour of community with #bealeader. See you there.