A 27-year-old CEO says too many company founders get a key element of leadership all wrong
When Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe first launched her dating app in 2014, she had a tiny team and a lot of doubters.
"There was just a few of us," 27-year-old Wolfe tells Business Insider. "Early on, when you're starting a company, for every 10 people who tell you you're crazy, you've got this one person that's raising their hand, jumping up and down, saying, 'I believe in this - can I be involved?' That was our early team."
Wolfe, who cofounded the dating app Tinder but departed the company after filing a sexual harassment lawsuit that was later settled, says that her early team helped mold the current brand's DNA.
Forbes reported that, as of February, Bumble has garnered 12.5 million registered users, who spend an average of 100 minutes a day on the app.
The experience of working with a small group of passionate people made Wolfe realize how important gratitude is in a leader. Bumble's employees now number around 60, and she says it's important to value interns as highly as C-level executives.
"Everybody who touches your company or brand - you should be so grateful that they are dedicating their time, their knowledge, and their skills to something you created," Wolfe says.
However, she says she sees leaders get that wrong. "Sometimes it's just a little bit backwards," she says. "People feel that people should feel lucky to work for them."
Instead, Wolfe recommends that leaders measure success based on the positive impact they have on those they work with. In her view, leaders are only as successful, happy, and efficient as the least successful, happy, and efficient people on their teams.
"When our team says they're happy or they feel inspired or empowered, that's when I wake up in the morning feeling successful," she says.
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