Leadership is so important as a Startup Founder. Not only must you get really good at leading yourself (which is more difficult than it sounds), but as your business grows you also need to become skilled at leading a team.
Many founders resist building a team, and for a good reason. It could feel scary to think about managing and investing time to grow a team when you already feel stretched so thin. The reality is, however, that your business can't make it to the next level until you start onboarding others to help. This means investing time in sharpening your leadership skills is key to maximizing the ROI of your team-- freeing you up to focus on big-picture strategy and needle-moving tasks.
5 Best practices for first-time leaders
Adopt a Growth Mindset: Leaders are made, not born. Find peace in the fact that no one is perfect and being a great leader is recognizing your imperfections and actively learning strategist to improve on your weaknesses. It is an ongoing process and one that you should apply to all areas of your life.
Invest your time in Building Rapport and Trust with your team: At the beginning of any meeting, consciously allocate some time to getting to know your teammates as human beings. Be interested in them and their lives. Discover what motivates them. What lights them up. This small act of kindness with not only build rapport but also make your team member happier to work with you. Remember, people want to feel appreciated and acknowledged.
Clarify goals, Roles, and Expectations: Nothing is worse than having someone on your payroll who isn't sure what they should be doing or how they contribute to the overall business goals. Make it a point to be clear on roles and responsibilities. Set expectations for performance by issuing KPIs. Clearly communicate your company's BIG vision and get aligned on the quarterly goals for the department and by individuals.
Hold regular meetings: Have a clear meeting cadence and be careful not to stray from your routine. Be conscious of how you show up with your team. Don't cancel meetings and have inconsistent meeting agendas. This is seen as disrespectful and causes stress. People love clarity and certainty. Establish a rhythm and build a culture from day one. I suggest having a company meeting 1x per week (or meeting by department) and then regular 1:1 with each team member. Depending on the size of your startup and how involved each teammate is, those 1:1 would be weekly, bi-weekly, or even monthly.
Practice asking good questions and listening: Remember, no one likes being ordered around. Treat your team as just that, a team. Tap into their knowledge, creativity, and experience. Try to listen more than you speak. This will help others feel seen/heard and help them to become more established and committed to your company.
We often think that we go faster if we go alone. This couldn't be further from the truth. If you listen to the advice of any highly successful person, they will tell you that the only way to go far is to go together. Start building a team before you're ready. Even if that means getting an assistant or someone to simply take a few things off your hands. Practice delegating and leading. Practice giving clear instructions and setting expectations. Maybe you'll be terrible at first or feel uncomfortable, but the act of getting started and refining your skillset as a leader will set you up for success in the future.
Take a listen!👇🏻
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Victoria is a Marketing Mentor to early-stage founders. She has built compelling brands around the globe and has worked as a marketing director across several verticals. She is passionate about helping women think BIGGER about their businesses and giving them the tools to grow. She'd love to connect on LinkedIn or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.