Not Suitable as a leader?

Just started my first startup. 4 founders at first with me being the CEO, but after lots of internal conflict, only 2 of us remain.

The worst part? All of us were best friend from childhood and it really breaks me apart. I haven’t given up yet, but I’m barely holding on. This is not my first time leading something and it’s not my first failure.

So I guess I’m really not suitable for this then. Just want to share it with you guys because I don’t really where I should go from here and who to talk about this.

  • Hang in there buddy!

    It’s good to introspect, but too often we entrepreneurs take the blame for everything. It could very well be that those two ppl who left are incompetent themselves.

    In my entrepreneurship stint, I’ve lost my best friends because they wanted to work with me and when i complained about their poor commitment, our friendship went sour. I’ve also lost my co-founders.

    I’m the only one working right now. The key is to keep going. Things will get better.

  • The number one reason startups fail is because of internal conflict. So you can take solace in knowing that your kind of screwup is very common.

    When four childhood friends there is a preexisting group dynamic. You can’t just start a business and expect that group dynamic to change overnight. You can’t go from being equals to a relationship where you are the boss and they suddenly have an obligation to follow your lead. You talk about “your startup” and “your leadership”, and about being a CEO and that phrasing is very telling. You make it all about you, like you’re the next Steve Jobs or something.

    When friends start a startup it should be about a shared vision and a shared purpose. You don’t need leadership, you need camaraderie. Four musketeers against the world. Don’t think of yourself as the CEO in a marriage, or you’ll fail and deservedly so.

    (Try to patch things up with your friends.)

  • Were you able to pinpoint what the origin of the conflict with your friends was? Was it about asserting yourself as the (only?) leader and the power struggle that might have ensued or was there something else?

    Depending on the current leadership model in your business, perhaps redistributing leadership roles according to each founder’s strengths could help.

    Also, you haven’t said anything about why you started your business in the first place and if this was a shared vision you had with your friends. I would strongly suggest that you hang in there and revisit why you started this whole thing with your best friends. Once you capture that again, hold on to it and hopefully you can move forward from there.

    Best wishes to you and your friends!

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