Early-stage product leadership requires you to influence (without authority).

One of my favorite leaders had a surprising approach…

His goal was to present ideas in ways that people couldn’t argue with.

He spent lots of time mentally preparing. He’d consider how the other person viewed the situation. He’d think of ways to communicate the idea that fit their reference points. He’d think of the likely objections and be prepared with thoughtful responses. He’d create unique visuals that told the story clearly and succinctly.

In short, he tried to avoid unnecessary conflict. And he put in a lot of upfront mental work to make that a reality. It made him a tremendous leader and someone people respected.

There can be a lot of necessary conflict and tension in early-stage companies. And that can be good and healthy. However, the leaders that can prevent unnecessary conflict are truly remarkable. Be that kind of leader.