Uber. For those few of you, who have been living under a rock and aren’t familiar with the term, Uber is an app introduced by Uber Technologies Inc. The app allows its users to instantly hail cabs with just a few clicks. The app radically changed the face of the concept of hiring cabs. Within a short period of its launch, Uber has become an app that is widely used. The app simply connects customers with drivers who have signed up their vehicles for hire with Uber.
On June 20, 2017, Travis Kalanick stepped down from his position as the CEO of Uber, and on August 30, 2017, Dara Khosrowshahi took his place. The new CEO of Uber formerly served as the CEO of Expedia Inc., an American travel company that operates across the globe. On taking up his place as CEO, Khosrowshahi gave a profound and inspiring speech on leadership. He expressed that he is vulnerable and prone to making errors just like anyone else. He conveyed to his employees that beneath the honor of being the CEO of such an MNC lies a man just like any of his employees. With eight simple words “I have to tell you I am scared” he emphasized that neither is there shame in being vulnerable nor is it a sign of weakness.
The Parting Letter To The Employees At Expedia Inc.
There is something to be learned from the eloquent words penned in a parting letter that Khosrowshahi took the time to write to his former employees. He made sure to thank his team for their hard work. Through his words, he showed what it is like to be a leader. It is not necessary to get everything just right. Mistakes and failures happen even if you are a leader. What’s important is that a team should be able to trust in its leader. A leader should be able to gain the confidence of his employees and make sure they can approach him or her with a new idea, or feedback. Creativity can only be born if certain risks are taken.
In his parting letter to the employees of his previous company, the new CEO expressed that he was terrified of the change since he had been at Expedia for so long that he forgot what it was like outside the company. He encouraged them to get out of their comfort zone and explore the many options in front of them because the greatest learning experiences come through big changes. His ability to tell the employees of one of the most competitive startups in the nation that he was scared already has people believing that he is just what Uber needs right now.
Get out of your comfort zone and explore the many options in front of you because the greatest learning experiences come through big changes.
Vulnerability-One Of The Strengths Of A Leader
Khosrowshahi attributed vulnerability to be one of the strengths of a leader as it helps him to support his employees even during times of failure and in turn, earn their trust. This is what builds a strong team. A leader who is aware of not only his weaknesses but also that of his employees. This kind of understanding is what binds a team together and keeps them loyal to the company. It nurtures the confidence of employees and helps them to work with open minds.
A company where employees think twice or thrice before approaching their leader will lack the growth that comes from innovative and creative ideas. Fear or the shame to express can kill the enthusiasm to work.
From his letter, it seems that Khosrowshahi has figured out the art of leadership. He conveyed through his words that fear and failure is inevitable during the growth of a company. To achieve something great, you have to accept that ultimately, success comes after bouts of fear and perhaps trying multiple times.
Significant changes can happen only where employees are allowed to brainstorm, experiment, innovate, make mistakes, and learn from it. The ability of a leader lies in whether he or she can create such an environment for the employees in an organization.
Khosrowshahi’s Approach To Leadership May Be Just What Uber Needs
Of late, Uber has been facing a bit of a setback over issues such as harassment and unfair compensation on account of which the company has had to suffer losses of nearly half a million accounts. The new CEO with his steadfastness and firm beliefs may just be able to lead the company out of this state with his remarkable leadership. After all, he did receive warm praise and appreciation from the employees of his previous company for being an affable leader.
With eight simple words, Khosrowshahi brought home the qualities that make a strong leader. The point he made was loud and clear. Embrace your vulnerability. It is what will help you to understand the people around you better. Not just in your work life, but also in your personal life. Understanding your weaknesses will help you identify better with the fears of your employees and knowing that you can and have been in the same place as them at some point in your life will help you to assist them in finding better solutions to their problems.