After officially forming a startup, the hard work really begins. Most successful entrepreneurs will tell you that ideas are worthless, it’s the execution that matters.
Well, it’s time to execute.
Beginning a startup is a very exciting time. There’s nothing quite like a fresh start. Usually there’s a lot of enthusiasm, plenty of big ideas, and no real problems yet to divide people. The first day is the perfect day, but it’s time to get to work.
Managing a team can be tough, but here are a few things that will help you out.
Team building seems like one of those cheesy things that people always say, but that’s because it works. Heck, what it does is actually right in the name.
Doing team building activities will help your team become more comfortable with each other. This will help them communicate. One of the biggest problems in the team environment is when teams are new and just don’t talk through issues for fear of feeling silly. By feeling comfortable, they’re more likely to speak up.
You know you need to communicate, but you need to do it constantly. You also need to be clear when you do it. Teams need feedback about how they’re doing, they need to know the challenges of the startup, and they need to know the big picture of what you’re trying to achieve.
Holding back information only weakens the team and the startup. It can be tough if you have nothing new to say, but just opening the lines of communication can greatly help. You never know what might pop up.
As this study shows, non-work communication is vital. That doesn’t mean co-workers need to be best buddies outside of the office, but it does show how important non-work chatter in the office is.
Try not to stifle this conversation. It’s easy to have instincts that push you to say “get back to work”, but that won’t help the situation. It will bring down the morale and not allow the team to develop communication among themselves.
Trust is a two-way street. Especially in a startup. Trusting the team is just as hard for you, as it is for them. Trust is a major factor in being able to let your team do their work, and for them to trust that you know what you’re doing. Being honest goes a long way towards allowing them to trust you.
You also need to trust that this team has the right people, and to let them do their jobs. No one likes being questioned on every decision.
There’s been a long held belief that making an example of people is a great way to get compliance. This is just not true. It’s much better for a team environment if you reward good behavior.
When someone does something great, show appreciation in front of everyone. This lets everyone know what the expectations are. If you need to correct some issue – pull the person aside. There’s no reason to embarrass them in front of everyone. The team will know what’s going on.
First and foremost, you need to make decisions. The answers aren’t always obvious, but putting off a decision until later usually doesn’t help (if you’re not postponing it to seek more information.)
If you’re worried about making the wrong decisions, don’t be. Just do the best you can to avoid making mistakes, and make a decision.
Even if you do make the wrong decision, look at it like a learning opportunity. Try and take something positive from it. Don’t let a lack of decision making paralyze your startup.
This is a biggie. Sometimes teams don’t always get along. The worst thing you can do is hope it sorts itself out. It usually doesn’t, and often makes things worse. If it’s work related, step in and work through the problem together. It’s not unusual for team members to have different ideas of how things should be done.
Managing conflict doesn’t mean solving it yourself. It just means you control the process. You can have your team work through it, just make sure everyone is respecting everyone else.
If the conflict is personal, you’ll need to pull the individuals aside.
Gone are the days of do-what-I-say-not-what-I-do. Nobody wants to work for that guy.
A team leader always tries to elevate the team by doing all the right things as an example to the others. By being hard working, being honest, and leading the way, your example is the one the team will follow. They all want to reach that next level. Show them how to get there.
Most startups don’t have any room for waste, so why would you waste the talent on your team? You’ll want to grow it help them activate creativity.
By giving your team the proper tools, training and freedom they need, you’ll nurture their natural abilities. As each member of the team continues to grow their strength, the whole startup benefits. It’s really easy to make it about you – but you’ll be surprised by the team if you make it about them.
There are no stupid ideas. That saying doesn’t exist because there are literally no stupid ideas – of course there are. The premise is that everyone on the team has value, and so do their ideas. It’s more of a principal to be followed.
Let the team express their ideas, and treat all team members equally. Don’t crap on an idea if you don’t like it. You don’t need to use it, but you don’t need to make them feel bad for expressing an idea. Good leaders find ways to help the team get to the end result by valuing everyone.
Startups are hard enough to manage without worrying about the work the team is doing.
Do your best to hire the right people, and they’ll do all the hard work of making you look good. Then you just need to focus on running the business.
Norman Arvidsson is a passionate author who was born in Sweden but then moved to the United States with his family. Now his goal is to share his experience with others through blogging.
He is familiar with such areas as web dev and design, marketing, blogging, freelancing, startups, small business, self-development, and eLearning. Considers personal growth as the main goal in his life. You can contact him through his Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn.