The need for the effective management and motivation of employees is crucial in a start-up, where all members of the team are likely to be in contact all day, every day. An unmotivated employee will be immediately noticeable to everyone and this can of course have a knock-on effect around the whole team. As a start-up founder, you therefore need to tread carefully in order to keep things ticking along nicely.
What Not To Do
DON’T shirk responsibility
As the boss, you need to be accountable for things that happen. The buck stops with you and by laying the blame for poor performance at the door of a member of the team, you’ll only serve to build up resentment towards yourself as well as lower the confidence of the employee in question. Instead, sit down with the team and discuss what went wrong in a productive way, without pointing fingers.
>>Pro tip: Record the things that went wrong for the whole team to refer to in future so as to avoid any mistakes again.
DON’T be unapproachable or rude
Your team judges you not by your intent, but by your actions. Mood and behaviour are closely related to this, so it makes sense to operate an open door policy.
>> Pro Tip: An unfriendly boss will never get the best of his/her team.
Perhaps the most important quality to have as a boss is honesty. The team will smell BS a mile off, so be sure to be upfront and open with them, even if it’s not what you think they want to hear.
>> Pro Tip: Make sure you’re being honest but not too harsh!
DON’T lose your temper
Whilst sometimes it may be necessary to raise your voice a little to inspire your team in order to get things done, or if somebody has done something they shouldn’t have on purpose, it’s important that you don’t get overly angry. Again, this will lead to a lack of confidence amongst the team in their ability to do things right and could lead employees to resent you. If this is the case, they won’t want to work hard for you.
Instead, sit down and talk about things in a constructive, informative way, keeping a note of steps you and the employee(s) in question can take on their road to completing tasks successfully by way of a centralised HR system, one that focuses on progress and development.
>> Pro tip: Sending passive aggressive emails won’t work either.
What You Should Do
DOpraise good work and effort
Make your employees feel valued and important to your overall strategic goals. A good way of doing this is by congratulating them when they come up with a good idea, complete a bit of work to a high standard or contribute to a company success. If you’re decided to congratulate them via email, ensure that you share the email around the whole team so that everybody is aware of the good work, fostering a happy team mentality.
>> Pro Tip: You can also create a ‘kudos’ section on your HR management software system that can fed directly into personal development.
DO bring everyone together
Employee mentor Howard Greenstein evangelises the benefits of taking the team out for lunch regularly, especially when a member of another office arrives in town for the day. This means that other divisions of your business won’t be feeling silo-ed.
>> Pro Tip: In some cases, you should invite staff to bring their partners as well. As Simon Corbett, founder of Jargon PR, puts it “Having a good relationship with people’s partners really helps. All those times when people stay late, instead of getting home to an earful, they get a much more sympathetic response.”
DO be hands-on
Rather than letting your team get on with all the work whilst you sit back and relax, get stuck in with day-to-day tasks and show everybody that they are just as important to the running of the business as you are. Implement training and development yourself via the, don’t hide away in an office and most importantly always be available to lend a helping hand!
>> Pro Tip: Lead by example, a productive team needs a productive leader.
If you’re happy, there’s more chance of the people around you being happy. Learn to laugh at yourself and don’t take yourself too seriously. Of course it’s important that you instil a solid work ethic in the team, but never underestimate the power of a genuine smile.
An remember, many of the tips above, especially ones related to tracking development and offering rewards, are made easier by investing in a decent bit of HR management software on which to record information effectively.
About the author:Marilyn Vinch is a freelance writer and human resources specialist who’s been working in the HR sector for the past 6 years. If you’ve enjoyed this article, make sure you follow her on Twitter: @mary_vinch.
- Five tips for quick and efficient recruitment (thestartupmag.com)
- Keeping the ‘start up mentality’ (thestartupmag.com)
- Interview with Amit Chauhan founder and CEO of Recroup.com (thestartupmag.com)