YouTube CEO Neal Mohan has 4 words of recommendation for anyone trying to succeed: Be true to yourself.
The sentiment “sounds clichéd,” but Mohan wishes he took it to heart when he was younger, he said at a recent Stanford Graduate School of Business event.
“[It’s] essentially the most salient thing, and this is definitely advice I give to people [asking], ‘What’s the secret sauce of being a successful creator on the platform?’ It truly is just being true to yourself,” he said.
“I wish any person had given me that advice early in my profession, because nothing rings more true.”
Mohan was hired to guide Google’s display promoting business in 2008, then moved to YouTube seven years later as chief product officer. He took the reins as CEO last yr.
The experience at YouTube, Mohan said, taught him in regards to the value of authenticity. By his estimation, essentially the most successful creators on YouTube are transparent about their real lives and show their personalities in videos.
“Whether or not they’re sports creators, whether or not they’re musicians or artists … after all, they’re incredibly talented and know how you can tell stories, but they’re true to themselves,” Mohan said. “[Viewers] can tell instantaneously whether that is definitely, truly your authentic self.”
Authenticity is not only helpful for attracting followers on social media. It is also useful within the office and other workplaces. Some studies suggest that emotionally intelligent leaders — who display signs of authenticity, empathy and flexibility at work — are higher at connecting with their employees. The result: Those employees are more engaged at work.
That interest and care can encourage productivity: “Highly engaged employees improve their team’s performance by as much as 27%,” management consulting company Gartner reported in a 2022 study.
Being real at work might be helpful even should you’re not in charge. It’s especially essential for young people early of their careers, Mohan said on the Stanford event.
You may scour your boss’s LinkedIn profile for inspiration or obsess over landing the so-called perfect job by age 25 — but it surely could be higher to chart your personal path. Start by taking inventory of your personal abilities and goal, then follow opportunities that come your way, he suggested.
“Think really hard about setting your personal course … long term,” Mohan said. “Just try to essentially answer the query … ‘How is that this going to be truly about what I would like versus what other people’s expectations are of me?'”