The best start-up CEOs are:

  • driven
  • unhappy if they are not building
  • truly enjoy doing great things with their team
  • are grateful for those on the journey with them
  • want very happy employees
  • incredibly proud of the crazy things everyone has pulled off
  • are usually pretty excited to get to work on Monday

but … happy themselves?

I am not sure the best CEOs I know are happy. But they are driven, engaged, and alive. And would not want to do anything else. At all.

And so also understand that in the end, this is part of what makes CEOs different as they cross the scaling phase. They’re doing it in many cases as much or more for you as for them. And that changes you. It’s immensely satisfying and enriching and engaging.

But realize the CEO is on a different track than everyone else in terms of expectations. And especially, if this is your first time reporting directly to a CEO — understand that may be the #1 way it’s different. And the #1 way they are different.

(note: an updated SaaStr Classic answer)

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