In the previous part of my series, I discussed the right kind of leadership for your startup. In this installment, I’m talking about how to build the right team.
As an entrepreneur, you are the leader and guiding force for your project, the captain of the ship. But any ship that means to make its destination needs a good crew, and an entrepreneur who wants to grow their business will have to find others to help with the task.
Building a team for your business can present some different challenges, as can any situation where you’re introducing new personalities and opinions to the existing order. The possibility for conflict and competition arises, and that potential strife can potentially derail your work if not managed correctly. But a team built with the right mix can be the difference between the success and failure of your company.
When hiring, it’s helpful to consider personality along with skills and experience in considering potential employees. Some might possess all the skills and talents that you could hope for to fill a particular role, but might not be a good fit for the culture of your company. Ability is important, to be sure, but the best teams are the ones that work well together to accomplish a collective goal.
To that end, your hiring should look to fill a variety of roles not only in your organizational hierarchy but in the talents and personality of those people you bring on. Just as you need leaders, you need those willing to follow that lead; divine inspiration needs to be matched with the technical know-how and organizational ability to make those big ideas a reality. If you or your team have shortcomings in certain areas, you’ll want to find people who’ll fill those gaps to turn your company into something resembling a well-oiled machine.
Part of building the right team is knowing when a part of that machine isn’t functioning correctly. If an employee isn’t up to the task or isn’t fitting in with the team and the culture you’ve put in place it’s best for all involved to make a quick, albeit difficult, decision to let them go. It does no one any favors to try to make work what is obviously a bad fit, and it will end up hurting both your company and your team if you try and stick it out to avoid confronting the issue.
Building the right team is an important first step, but managing and motivating that team presents a new set of challenges. Even if your team is a hard-working and trouble-free group, getting five or ten or more people to pull in the same direction requires a clear and concise message that everyone understands. As the leader of the team, it’s incumbent upon you to make clear to your employees your goals and objectives and expectations as they stand now, and letting them know as they might change. You can’t expect your team to understand your ideas and the thought process behind it if you aren’t communicating it to them, and you can’t get upset with employees going in the wrong direction if you didn’t give them a direction to begin with.
Being the head of a company and the leader of your team means that your word goes, but that isn’t always the best way to build morale or to get your employees to buy in. You want people who’ll follow directions, but you presumably brought these same people on for their own creativity and intelligence. Brainstorming and a healthy exchange of ideas in the right environment is a great way to not only come up with new innovations or methods for your product or business, it reminds employees that their ideas are valued, and gives them a skate in the ultimate success of the company.