September 4, 2012
Leaders: Ask Your Team This One Simple Question

Recently, on my way to work, I wrote our team at BuySellAds the following email:

Tomorrow, I want each person to email me, privately,
1 thing that I can do to make their life better. Whether it be work
related or personal, no matter how ridiculous, I want to know.

I’m sending this today because I don’t want off-the-cuff replies.
Take 24 hours, sleep on it, think about it a little bit, and let me

- Todd

It was a very honest, innocent, and spur of the moment thought that I
had, to send the whole team this email. Turns out, it’s probably the
most leadership worthy thing I’ve done all year. There are a number of
ways to be a leader, and I’m sure every leader out there has read some
post titled “10 things that make a leader a true leader” on [insert blog
name trying to boost pageviews here].

The point is, sometimes being a leader means caring. Caring about
what it is that makes the team you work with feel good. Caring what it
is that has them a bit frustrated and figuring it out before it stays
bottled up too long. Caring for 2 seconds about something other than the
company, yourself, or your investors (BSA doesn’t have any investors).
Caring about any personal challenges they are going through, if they are
willing to share.

I say “leader” and not CEO, because this really applies to any person who is asking a team to work hard for them.

Do the world a favor, and ask people around you what you can do to
make their lives easier. If you don’t actually care, then don’t waste
your time. If you’re not going to follow through and make an effort to
help them out, then don’t waste your/their time. But if you do care, and
you are going to follow through, take a moment and ask your team a very
simple question. Not for profit. Not in exchange for anything. Not
because I told you to. Because you want to. Be a leader.

Todd Garland is the Founder & CEO of  You can find this post, as well as additional content on his blog located here.  You can also follow Todd on Twitter (@toddo) by clicking here.