The founding CEO of the clothing company Bonobos discusses authentic leadership, his biggest failure, and the value of data and intuition.

Andy Dunn:

As a first-time founder, I became a boss all of a sudden; it took a while to learn how to lead people. I was 28 when I co-founded Bonobos, and I searched for a while to find my authentic personal leadership style. My co-founder, my housemate from Stanford and I had diverging approaches to how to build the company, and he left the company in 2009 with a lot of grace. After his departure, there was no one blame but me when things weren’t working.

Joel Peterson, a Stanford GSB lecturer and our first angel investor, once told me, “You catch more flies with honey.” There are some schools of management that tell you to set a high bar and withhold praise, or to motivate by fear; I have come to believe more in Joel’s approach. It’s like plants leaning into sunlight. You condition people to embody the very qualities you are praising. When I started to do this, it created an environment where it is OK for people to offer recognition to their direct reports. Slowly, the culture began to flourish.


Andy Dunn, CEO of Bonobos, talks about leadership and more. Read the full article at [EasyDNNnewsToken:Left Justify Embed 300 x 250]