As one of Amazon’s first employees, Joshua Burgin has gained plenty of knowledge and experience through his time working with a vast range of different individuals. Burgin slowly but steadily improved his ability to explain his strategies and lead teams in finding creative solutions to technological problems. Burgin recently took some time from his day to discuss his leadership style as well as what advice he can offer to potential leaders in the future.
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Burgin’s Leadership Method
The one piece of advice Burgin explains to anyone who asks about his leadership style is to focus on being a champion for others, not for yourself. To elaborate further, Burgin explains that his staff would rather see that you care about them and the company as much as they do. By promoting a healthy environment where everyone feels like a key component of the business, everyone feels more confident about their abilities to succeed and change the world.
In Burgin’s experience, he allows his staff to develop creative solutions to new problems rather than bind them to a single solution. For instance, if recent cloud technology is proving to be difficult to understand, he gives staff permission to find a solution in any way possible rather than place restrictions on their work.
Finding the Best People
Burgin has clearly stated that there are no shortcuts to leadership. To find the best people for the job, Burgin believes you need to instill confidence in new employees in order to increase loyalty. While he also notes that some of the best people still leave their jobs, their overall careers are still lengthy.
Burgin himself left Amazon briefly to focus on other endeavors, but due to his strong work ethic and willingness to find solutions, he still has a very successful career. Burgin doesn’t view confident people who are moving onto new opportunities as disloyal, and he encourages other leaders not to view it this way, either.
Success Isn’t About You
One of the most profound messages found in Burgin’s reflection is the idea that success isn’t about what you do but rather about what you’re focused on now and later. Instead of looking for how you can be successful through your work, Burgin recommends finding your best workers and determining how you all can move forward successfully. Burgin has admitted that he hasn’t always done this and had to seek guidance from other leaders and authors, such as Kim Scott and Marshall Goldsmith. Burgin states that rather than believing in ten employees, he finds it more viable to believe in ten organizations that are led by professional and encouraging leaders.
Some of Burgin’s top employees went on to start their own businesses or pursue other opportunities. Rather than become upset over this, Burgin took the opportunity to stay connected with them and assist them when it came to job-hunting. For instance, Burgin has had former coworkers visit him more than a decade after last working together for various purposes. One in particular mentioned to their boss that Burgin would be a great asset to their company, and this turned out to be incredibly beneficial to Burgin. Burgin then began working at VMWare, his current company focused on developing cloud-based technology.
To be a great leader, Burgin believes you must stay in touch with your best workers, past or present, in order to maintain a successful career and seek new opportunities. Burgin has recognized that to be a great leader, he needs to surround himself with great people. Rather than transforming poor workers and turning them around, find the potential in those who are as committed to the job as you are, inspire and encourage them, and you may become a phenomenal leader in your area of work.
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