Selling vs Leading

One lesson I’ve learned in 20 years of software development is this: Think twice before working for any company run by a salesman.

If you’re on the board of a company (that's not in sales and/or advertising), I’d say this: Think even harder before promoting a salesman to any kind of executive leadership.

Harsh? Maybe. But generally speaking, the best salesmen are the most talented liars, right? So how could you, your investors, and your employees trust someone like that?

If you're a salesman and you're looking to transition to leadership, I think you have a lot of work ahead of you to earn the trust of non-sales people. You should embrace it, too. Leadership is about problem solving, not promises and spin.


Note: I'm using the term "salesman" in a gender-neutral sense.