It’s tempting to measure leaders simply by the success of their businesses. But even the most successful founders know how much timing and luck can be confounding factors in this approach. Measuring leadership through bottom-line company performance also fails to provide any clues as to how someone can improve as a leader. So is there a better way?
Steve Huffman, the thirty-three-year-old co-founder and C.E.O. of Reddit, which is valued at six hundred million dollars, was nearsighted until November, 2015, when he arranged to have laser eye surgery. He underwent the procedure not for the sake of convenience or appearance but, rather, for a reason he doesn’t usually talk much about: he hopes that it will improve his odds of surviving a disaster, whether natural or man-made. “If the world ends—and not even if the world ends, but if we have trouble—getting contacts or glasses is going to be a huge pain in the ass,” he told me recently. “Without them, I’m fucked.”