2 min read

good leaders are in the details

good leaders are in the details
Brian Chesky, Airbnb CEO

Good leaders are in the details.

Brian Chesky, one of the founders of Airbnb, explains on a podcast:

...So I basically got involved in every single detail and I basically told leaders that leaders are in the details. And there's this negative term called micromanagement. I think there's a difference between micromanagement, which is like telling people exactly what to do, and being in the details. Being in the details is what every responsible company's board does to the CEO. That doesn't mean the board is telling them what to do. But if you don't know the details, how do you know people are doing a good job? People think that great leader's job is to hire people and just empower them to do a good job. Well, how do you know they're doing a good job if you're not in the details? And so I made sure I was in the details and we really drove the product.

The best managers and leaders where I work are in the details too.

And I need to be in the details if I want to excel.

Brian Chesky again:

...we made sure that every executive was an expert in their functional domain. So you know how there's a lot of engineering managers that aren't that technical or maybe not a lot, but they exist. Or there's designers, but there's design leaders who lead the people. A design leader's job should be managing the design first, the people second. That's what Jony did. They're interchangeable. I could never imagine Jony out at Apple just being a manager of people. He was looking and designing the work with the team. How do you manage the people without managing their work? How do you give them development if you're not in the details with them on the work? So the same thing is true. So people had to be experts. Everyone had to be an expert.

This takes longer for a leader at first. But in the end it saves everyone time.

Here's the full podcast episode.