In a startup, the business owner will also likely be the one who manages the entire team as well. While there are only a handful of employees in your team, the lines can often be blurred, and anyone can jump in on different projects and do different things.
In such a situation, the manager is the one holding all the cards, the trump ones at least, and they need to be very good at balancing everyone’s personality and skills with the tasks at hand.
Here are a few tips to help you manage your team more smoothly, and most importantly, more efficiently.
Focus on Team Goals
Working together towards a unique goal is what will help any team thrive, so bear that in mind when you set them. Naturally, you will all be working to take your company off the ground, and you need to make sure everyone feels they are participating in this.
Don’t set goals for different parts of the team – the goals should be team-wide, but the tasks used to achieve them should be individual. That way, you know and they know that there is no success until all of you have completed all the tasks successfully.
Treating every team member the same is a given. Don’t treat someone differently just because you like them more, or because they have never made a similar mistake before, or they are having trouble sleeping.
Establish clear rewards, and stick to them every single time, and establish a way to deal with broken deadlines or botched projects. Make sure that every member of your team is aware of these facts, and do the praising in front of everyone, so that the rewards are public, and not just between you and a single member of the team.
Organize Team Building Activities
Even if your team goes out to the pub without you, you need to make sure you put together an event that will have everyone participating. You don’t have to choose any of the typical things companies go for, like trust games or paintball. Do anything you will your team will like, even if it is going out for lunch together, with you picking up the tab.
Establishing a sense of unity is important, as people who work together well are more efficient and happier to come to work, which translates into better performance.
Lead by Example
If there is a deadline to meet, and you expect people to work overtime, don’t go home yourself and check in by phone or email. Stay with your troops, and show them that you are just as committed, if not more, than they are.
You need to work hard in order to inspire others to do the same. Chances are you will be doing this anyway, as this is your company we are talking about, but don’t let your team feel like they are doing all the heavy lifting.
Listen to Ideas
Don’t be the kind of manager who always knows best. Open your doors and ears to ideas and opinions, and genuinely consider the ideas your team brings to the table. Cooperation is the best way forward, so you can often learn something new, or come up with a great idea by simply brainstorming over a morning meeting.
Even if an idea is not what you plan on implementing, make sure your team feels valued and knows that you have taken the time to consider what they have said. Don’t ever shoot down a bad idea. The next time a good idea pops up, you might not get a chance to hear it.