Twitter CEO Dick Costolo tells leaders how to avoid 'path to ruin'

SAN FRANCISCO — Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said all great leaders have a superpower.

“We lionize personalities and read books from successful leaders about how they do things,” Costolo said onstage today at TechCrunch Disrupt. “There are many different ways to be successful. You have to find your individual superpower and leverage that, to be successful in your own way.”

Costolo assumed leadership of Twitter in 2010. He has been named one of the most “influential” and “impressive” CEOs by multiple organizations and frequently speaks about leadership.

“You have to lead people without really caring what they think about you,” he said. “Managing by trying to be liked is the path to ruin.”

“How to lead” is one of the key questions entrepreneurs face on a daily basis. The tech community reveres successful CEOs and founders like Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page, Tim Cook, and Marissa Mayer, looking to them for wisdom about what it takes to build and lead a billion business.

Costolo is one of these CEOs. He sold Feedburner to Google in 2007 for $100 million and joined Twitter as COO in 2009. He then took over the role of CEO for founder Evan Williams, and the company has grown exponentially.

Costolo distilled his experience and expertise into a management course that all managers at Twitter must go through.

“You have to build trust with your team and people,” he said. “You do this by being forthright and clear from day one. As a leader, you are totally transparent — your people are looking at you all the time. If try to lead in some way that isn’t true to who you are, they will see through it and you will lose trust of team.”

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