Leadership – Making a Great Company Great
May 30, 2024   Dave Lewis

You’ll forgive me if I drift away from postal news for a bit and talk about something else near and dear to my heart – leadership.

Leadership to me is one of those delicate things that I’m almost afraid to look at too closely or acknowledge, like trying to explain why a joke is funny. To some extent, being a good leader is like being funny – you can read a funny joke from a book and make people laugh, but that doesn’t necessarily make you funny. Funny just comes naturally to funny people and leadership comes naturally to some as well.

I like to think of SnailWorks as a great company – we offer industry-leading services, our customers love us, our team loves working here, and we keep growing and making a profit. I hope my leadership has been part of the reason for our success. Here are a few principles that I try to apply to how we operate, and how we work as a team.

Don’t Get Carried Away with Yourself

A good leader generally leads a team of people who do what they do as well as he does. Your job is to be the leader – do it well. Expect – and allow – the same from your team.

You cannot be a good leader without a good team. You may be good at your role as leader, but the rest of your team is just as important in their roles. As soon as you believe you are better than them, I think your leadership starts to falter.

When we started SnailWorks, I could do it all. I knew how all the reports worked, how to fix problems, and explain what we do better than anyone else. Boy, is that no longer true. I pity the client who has me as their project manager. Our team can do it all, and they do it brilliantly – because we let them. That makes their job better for them, and everything better for our customers. I don’t need to be best at anything except maintaining a vision, and I’m not. I wouldn’t have it any other way.


I believe our team knows what is important to me, and what our values and principles are, because we talk about them a lot. They know when we’re doing well because we share it with them. We don’t run open books, per se, but we share the key numbers with our team, and explain what it means. It gets complicated sometimes – accounting is like that – but they get it because they care.

At the same time, I am always available to them. They can approach me about anything without fear of reprisal. I don’t always love what they say (though I usually do) but I want to hear it, and I am grateful that they can share it. I can’t guarantee I’ll agree, but I’m surprised at some of the stuff I do end up agreeing with.

Being open and honest leads to some interesting…um…discussions, but our team knows they can say what is on their mind safely, and we stay focused on what is best for the company. We all respect one another.


This is a good leader’s cause – maintaining a vision for the company. The leader needs to have a strong vision of what the company stands for, and the direction it is moving in. You need to trust your instincts, but be open enough and, yes, humble enough to see when there may be changes needed.

Sometimes you just need to be a boss and insist on your way of doing things, but never without a willingness to listen to other ideas.

Have Fun

If you don’t like your job or your business your team never will either. Enjoy the opportunity to lead a talented team. Be enthusiastic.

Make It Great

So, the principles of leadership we try to follow at SnailWorks:

  • Have a clear vision and communicate it.
  • Stay open to all your teammates – open and honest communication is essential.
  • Don’t get carried away with yourself. If you’re lucky, everyone on your team is as good at what they do as you are at what you do.

Anyhow, that’s how we do it at SnailWorks, and I like where we are so far. Of course, different styles of leadership fit different situations.  A military leader may dial back on humility and openness and still get things done, but for a small business don’t forget you’re just one part of a team. Make it great!