Once teams grow beyond 30 people or so, you need to get over your natural abhorrence of hierarchy and start substituting some organizational and operating processes for your ability to know everyone on the team. At this stage, lead with relating and behaviors (how to connect, what impact). Work on the organization. Put in place enabling practices to scale. And remember the number one job of the leader is to own and reinforce vision and values. This gets ever more important (and complicated) as the organization grows.
With a small team, everyone is in sales. Everyone is in marketing. Everyone is in customer service. Actually, everyone does everything part of the time. They back each other up, hopefully driven by the same mission. As teams grow beyond 30 people, specialization is both tolerated and required on the way to building differentiated expertise.
As the leader, your job is to inspire and enable. What happens with teams of over 30 is that enabling requires more sophisticated, more complex work. It’s no longer sufficient for you to be part of the organization, doing your job and helping others as needed. Now you need to spend time working on the organization, doing less and less yourself, creating a hierarchy in a way that enables open communication and free-flowing ideas.
It gets worse. As the organization grows, you can’t be there or be close by guiding ...