What co-founder should a CEO be?

Career & Salary

Many startup founders attach great importance to one thing above all: the job title that is emblazoned on their business card. I've seen that happen many times in the past. There should definitely be a management position on the little card - preferably "CEO". In gold letters if possible.

It is important for many founders to be seen as CEO. Often they don't even know what a CEO is supposed to do. Or that a Chief Executive Officer at a GmbH is also liable with his private assets. At least if certain details were not taken into account when drafting the contract. (That is why GmbH also means company with "limited" liability and not company "without" liability.)

No CEO falls from the sky

So does it really matter which title is on the business card? Or wouldn't it be more important that the role that can be read on the card is 100 percent covered by competence? So that even in stressful situations you act in the interests of the company?

Take a look at these three business cards and figure out which title suits you best. I believe most of you will spontaneously choose the business card called CEO. How so? Because apparently - even for young entrepreneurs - there is nothing better than being able to say: "I am the boss of this company, my employees have to do what I say."

My Opinion: It doesn't matter at all! It's about everyone doing what they do best and working in an area in which they can play to their strengths and at all times act with full conviction in the interests of the company. A company can only be successful if everyone works in the role they have mastered and which they trust themselves to be. So why turn a very good developer into a bad CEO, or turn a very good sales person into a bad developer?

Everyone should wake up in the morning, look in the mirror and be enthusiastic about the fact that they are faced with tasks that they have mastered again today. It makes a difference whether they are tasks that I am experienced in or tasks that I would like to do but don't know or don't know how to carry out. No master has fallen from the sky yet - but startups in particular should be set up in such a way that all competencies are well covered. Especially at the beginning, when the company is developing and important decisions have to be made.

In my opinion, the team will be successful when everyone can perfectly slip into the role that is on their business card. Everyone learns, everyone develops and everyone has the opportunity, perhaps later, to slip into the role of CEO. In my opinion, by no means too early. Unless you have a coach or mentor at your side who provides support and advice on what needs to be achieved. Or even take on certain work.

How to calmly cope with stressful situations

Every employee in the startup wants to be in the so-called "safe zone". In this zone he feels comfortable and secure. This also applies to the tasks that he has to master: he knows it, he can do it, he is experienced. As soon as an employee leaves this zone, he gets into the so-called "danger zone". In this zone he no longer feels safe, does not know exactly how to master his tasks and under certain circumstances makes serious mistakes that can ruin the entire startup.

Everyone should be allowed to make mistakes, because mistakes can make you stronger and safer. However, it always depends on which errors are there - are they just development errors or is it a signature on a crucial contract?

If you have mastered your role and can demonstrate experience and competence, you will remain calm even in critical or stressful situations. Why? Because you know exactly what the solution has to look like and because your skills enable you to react to it better without directly panicking.

  1. 8th place: programmer
    Programmers are faced with similar requirements as software developers - however, they write, test and code the applications and software developed by the developers. Amazingly, according to the American Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), fewer and fewer programmers are being sought.
  2. 7th place: software developer
    The job of a software developer is to develop computer programs. Ideally, he should meet his deadlines, satisfy customers and meet the expectations of his company for software development. The demand for this job profile will increase by 17 percent by 2024, according to the BLS. That also makes the job as a software developer more stressful.
  3. 6th place: IT service technician
    With the technological upturn, the need for service technicians who keep computers and other devices alive in the workplace is growing. So it's not surprising that the IT service technician is one of the eight most stressful IT jobs.
  4. 5th place: data scientist
    The "data madness" has been spreading for a long time. Many companies are therefore desperately looking for data specialists, but cannot find any (or only a few) suitable candidates. The few who already hold such a position have a lot to do.
  5. 4th place: network administrator
    The job of network and system administrator is not enjoying growing popularity (BLS: minus 8 percent by 2024) - but it is still one of the most stressful IT jobs. No wonder, after all, the poor guy with this title on the business card is responsible for all of a company's network traffic.
  6. 3rd place: IT system analyst
    System analysts are responsible for examining a company's IT systems and processes. Your goal: maximum efficiency. The job itself is blessed with a pronounced level of stress - but the stress factor is given a significant boost thanks to the technological zeal of the digitization era.
  7. 2nd place: technical writer
    According to BLS, the profession of technical writer will become increasingly popular over the next eight years (growth by 2024: 27 percent). The main task of the technical writer is to work closely with developers on the basis of which technical documentation, specialist articles, tutorials or operating instructions are created.
  8. 1st place: web developer
    Web application developers have the most stressful job in IT. But also those most in demand by companies - according to BLS, more than one in four HR professionals is looking for skilled workers now or in the coming years.

But many people panic quickly: because they are not used to something, because they cannot assess the situation or simply do not know how to react. A tip: take a look at Dirk Nowitzki's litter. He always throws the ball exactly the same and usually bends one leg. He does that every time - regardless of whether the throw is carried out with a 0-0 or if it is 80:80 and the throw will decide whether to win or lose (or draw). Why is he doing this? Because he is used to it, because he does it all the time - because it gives him security. He knows exactly how to react, every time, even in stressful situations.

So everyone should think carefully about their personal strengths and weaknesses. It is not important to improve or even eradicate every weakness. The only important thing is to think about it. Should I rather build on my strengths? Or do I want to turn certain weaknesses that burden me into my future strengths? If you ask yourself these questions, you can not only benefit yourself - your startup too.

External impact vs. perception

The healthiest view is probably: I don't care what others think or say about me. However, in my opinion, this attitude has to change if you represent a startup. Because: what is more important than the customer?

The job title that can be read on the business card determines how an employee is perceived. The worst-case scenario: The other person realizes that the competencies in this role are not evident and the employee cannot exchange views on certain topics on an equal footing.

There is a reason why there is the saying: "Equal and equal like to join." At the corporate level, this means: developers like to talk to developers and CEOs like to talk to CEOs. All the better if everyone works in a role that they can completely immerse themselves in in order to communicate with the other side on an equal footing. And last but not least, so that he can also recognize the weaknesses of the other person. The Chinese philosopher Sunzi writes in his book "The Art of War": "If you recognize the weaknesses of the other and your strengths, you do not need to worry about the outcome." Of course, many would prefer to talk to a CEO - but you should be able to judge for yourself whether you can really fill this role.

It doesn't matter what title is on the business card. It depends on what kind of person is behind it. What can he do, what are his competencies, strengths and weaknesses? Those who are willing to work on themselves will sooner or later have a different job title on their business card - if that's what they want at all. At some point, most people realize that even in the case of the three longed-for letters "CEO", not all that glitters is gold. (fm)