Mark Cuban is a billionaire entrepreneur, television personality, media proprietor, and investor, whose net worth is an estimated $4.3 billion. He is known for being Co-founder of the successful start-up Broadcast.com, owner of the NBA Team Dallas Mavericks and is of course a star of the TV show ‘Shark Tank.’ But not many people know he is also a named inventor of 11 patent families and 23 distinct patent publications for his inventions. So, what can we learn from Mark Cuban’s leadership?
Lead by example
One of the best ways to lead is by rolling up your sleeves and showing you’re prepared to pitch in too. Of course, leaders also need to be able to delegate, and it would be a big mistake to spend all of your time on low level tasks instead of the boardroom. But when you’re asking your staff to go the extra mile for you, it helps if you’ve shown a willingness to extend yourself as well. He said:
“I’ve always had the attitude that there’s no job in my company that I shouldn’t be willing to do…I can’t ask someone to do a job I’m not willing to do myself. If I see paper in the parking lot, I’ll stop and I’ll pick it up. I won’t call someone to do it.”
This type of leadership creates huge loyalty from those around them. We have all seen those memes and cartoons on the internet that highlight the difference between a boss and a leader. The boss says go do it, the leader so let’s go do it.
Become an expert
When he was just starting out in his career and trying to make a name for himself in the computer business, Mark Cuban spent his spare time teaching himself programming and reading software manuals. Today, he still keeps up the habit of putting learning first. He speaks openly about how he is now reading about AI and other technologies. He said:
“Sweat equity is the most valuable equity there is. Know your business and industry better than anyone else in the world. Love what you do or don’t do it…When I get into a business, I try to know it better than anybody else…It doesn’t matter how much I have to read or how many people I have to visit or what I have to do — I’m going to do it.”
Leaders obviously need to hire good people and trust them to bring their own expertise too, but Mark Cuban’s also right about the need to master your subject yourself. Particularly today, when technology is changing businesses at an unprecedented rate. Its so easy to become outdated if you’re not constantly willing to invest in learning new things. This is a key reason why so many businesses have struggled to keep up with technological shifts and are now desperately trying to go through “digital transformation”. You need to be on top of new trends and changes or your competitors will leave you in their dust.
Its good business to look after your people
Mark Cuban very publicly set the bar for what good crisis management looked like during the Covid-19 pandemic. Doing everything you can do to protect your employees is more than just the right thing to do according to Mark Cuban. He says it’s also a smart business decision. The reason for this is simple, lets imagine two scenarios. In scenario one, you bring employees back to work as soon as government restrictions loosen. An employee brings the virus to work, potentially spreading it to others in the workplace. In scenario two, you stay on the safe side and remain closed. Which brand do you think customers and employees will be more likely to pick in the future? He said the following:
“I’m not going to tell people to go to work when I’m uncertain… How companies respond to that very question is going to define their brand for decades “
While the bottom line might be hurting, and you may be eager to throw your doors open as quickly as possible to get revenue flowing. Mark Cuban stresses that you should carefully consider the business risk of putting profits over people. The decisions you make now will directly affect the wellbeing of your employees. Do you want to develop a reputation as the employer that prioritized stakeholder demands over taking care of the people who keep your business operating and serve your customers?
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