One of the main tasks of a leader, a founder of a business, a startup CEO, is to form a dream team that will be able to keep the whole startup up and running. No one can reach ambitious goals on their own. With the biggest share of responsibilities before the future team, investors, clients and/or consumers, a leader has to have someone to rely on. These people will communicate personally and discuss business problems. They will put forth propositions and make decisions, affect the corporate culture, and build the environment themselves. If we step aside from ‘be inspiring, be an example, and have passion for what you do’ advice, we’ll figure out a number of more practical tips you should always keep in mind.
1. Become an HR manager yourself. You have to know the right person from wrong. An HR manager can help you assess the professional experience and approach of a candidate, but it’s you who has to feel whether this is the person you want to work with. Choosing the core of the team is the responsibility that begins with you.
2. Hire the best professionals you can find. This is the main rule – hire people with knowledge in different areas. They cost more and it’s harder to wake and retain their interest, but the efficiency of work and their contributions will cover salary expenses. It will also be much less necessary to control each and every of their activities. Hiring a ‘so-so’ professional may eventually lead to a need for replacement, so why not prevent it at once?
3. Offer challenges. Money is a good motivator, but may be not the best one. In many cases experienced professionals have no troubles while looking a job, so they would prefer a perfect chance for self-actualization rather than a minor salary improvement. Ambitions, combined with non-standard, challenging, creative tasks, can play a pivotal role in launching a startup.
4. Gather adversity of personalities. Members of your team don’t have to have the same age, gender, character traits, ethnicity, whatever. A diversity combined with experience, professionalism and shared vision of strong personalities, is a strong, effective backbone for the team.
5. Look for people with achievements. Whatever these achievements are, whether they concern your area of expertise or not. This shows a person’s dedication to what they like and enjoy doing. Afterwards they should have all the necessary conditions to enjoy their work, and a further wish to set goals, do their best, and succeed – just like they did before.
6. Never hire full-time by reason of urgency. You are likely to end up eventually looking for a replacement. The waste of time and money can be prevented by offering a one-time amount of work. Or maybe you will be lucky to quickly find the person you need – who knows.
7. Set the mission of your business endeavor, shared vision, values and goals. You need to agree on what you want to achieve and the ways you will be achieving it.
8. Be clear with expectations and goals, and encourage teamwork. Clearly define responsibilities of every team player. However, do not isolate anyone (this concerns a single person, as well as a whole department) to make them concentrate on their own duties only. Teamwork is always far more effective. Specialists in different areas (a CEO, a technical specialist, a marketing manager, whoever else) will make contributions to solving common business tasks – for a startup it’s an optimal solution from the very beginning.
9. Be patient to mistakes. If a person repeatedly makes the same mistakes, unable to analyze and improve the outcome of work, maybe that’s not the person you have been looking for. But in general everyone makes mistakes, including you, and the best thing is to learn from them, and solve problems together.
10. Help people develop their skills. This will boost the performance of the whole team in the end. Practise brainstorming of ideas and never let anyone rest on laurels.
11. Handle conflicts positively. Conflicts are inevitable, but they may become opportunities to improve teamwork, so that each conflicting party will be satisfied with the final decision. After all, it’s in arguments where the best decisions can be discussed and made.
12. Pay attention to problems of your team members. Unspoken thoughts and feelings can negatively affect the overall atmosphere. Be open with people and let them openly express their feelings, including negative ones, help them if you can.
13. Build mutual trust, confidence, and conscience. From the beginning the leader has the total control over every aspect of a business, but as it grows, this control weakens as associates start making decisions themselves. This process is natural, and trying to stop it means slowing down the growth of your business.
Bonus: 14. Have fun together. We spend much of our lifetime at work, and we must do our best to live it. Spending time outside work together, with people willing to, is a healthy sign for the team. Aside from training courses or corporate celebrations that may take place in your company, it’s good if you simply gather together for an evening out or to celebrate a birthday of a team member. Work together, have fun together, and make work fun for the sake of friendly atmosphere throughout the hardships of busy days.