In a small team, each employee plays a key role in the company. From marketing to sales to operations, every aspect of the business requires a full team effort to get going – and that can often mean team members are working outside of the roles they were hired for.
With so much extra time and effort, leaders will want to give their teams all the support they need to achieve their goals. Below, eight members of the Young Entrepreneur Council talk about several ways startup leaders can show support and prepare their teams for success.
1. Have regular one-on-one meetings with each team member
When leading a small team, one of the most important things you can do to lead your team to success is set aside time for one-to-one meetings with each employee. With small teams, I’ve found that it can be harder for employees to talk in group settings about areas they may be struggling with or tasks that may be overwhelming them. One-on-one meetings allow for open communication and faster resolution of emerging problems. It also allows you to express ideas or opinions in a safe and comfortable space. Ultimately, regular private and honest conversations with your team help ensure that you are all on the same page and working most effectively towards your goals. – Leila Lewis, get inspired by PR
2. Find out what motivates everyone in your team
We often make the mistake of assuming that everyone is motivated by the same things as we are. Whether it’s making more money, growing at work, getting good feedback or feeling like part of a team, every person needs something different at different stages of life and career. Once you know what motivates each person on your team, you’ll know how to better support them in their development. – Allison Esposito Medina, Bootstrap to Millions (with Allison)
3. Develop a culture of open communication
As a startup leader, it is your responsibility to establish the culture of the company. Creating a culture that values and enables open communication ensures that your team feels comfortable asking questions, reaching out for help, and collaborating. In small teams, roles are less clearly defined because everyone has to do a little bit of everything to make the business work. Open communication ensures that everything runs smoothly. —Diana Goodwin, MarketBox
4. Make sure your team aligns with your mission and vision
Our job as leaders is to make sure our teams align with our company’s goals and vision. Be sure to commit your team to the vision and mission to create an all-in-one culture that will empower your team. Once they are convinced, it is very important to listen to the team, their ideas and challenges. It’s easy to be a visionary, but taking the time to listen to your team’s views and give them the resources they need is a game changer. — Ryann Dowdy, Uncensored Consulting, LLC
5. Invest in employee education and training
One of the things we’ve done is make sure everyone has the training they need. We offer a lot of on-the-job training, but we also invest in external education through books, courses and digital training programs. This makes it easier for anyone to acquire the skills they need to succeed. In addition to the training itself, we are also heavily involved in documenting and sharing knowledge. This way, if someone is on vacation or we need to involve someone in a process, we have our internal wiki that contains all the information needed for cross-training. Between these two processes of investing in education and sharing our knowledge internally, we have really grown as a team and as individuals. – Nathalie Lussier, AccessAlly
6. Connect in daily team meetings
Organize daily meetings, even if they are only 15 minutes long, to keep everyone connected. Our conversation is each team member sharing how they are doing on the day, what their metrics are against goals and KPIs, what obstacles they have in the way, what is their top priority for the day, and one thing, for which he is grateful. This daily practice and rhythm helps our team members stay connected and feel watched as we see the progress they have made while working from home or wherever in the world they are. The final part where we say one thing we are grateful for helps us get to know each other better on a personal level, builds company morale, and helps maintain a culture of gratitude and humility. – Givelle Lamano, Lamano Law Firm
7. Implement an open door policy
The only thing you can do as a startup leader to give your team the support they need to succeed is an open door policy. Encourage team members to reach out to you when they need guidance or run into a problem. A common mistake most leaders make is distancing themselves from their teams. This is not healthy in startup culture. You have a small team and the only way you can move forward is by supporting each other. This is crucial not only for achieving your company’s goals, but also for your team, bringing them one step closer to success. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
8. Support them with feedback and praise
Be available to support your employees. In the startup culture, every person is extremely important and valuable. When you’re the leader, it’s easy to get caught up in all the “doing,” but remember that you are the thermostat of the company. Be open, honest and give feedback. Share with your team how important and invaluable they are to the organization. Positive attitude breeds more positive attitude, so tell them what they do well as quickly as what they don’t. Also, often share your journey and vision for the company. Make sure everyone has the same goal and really cultivate a team mentality. Finally, don’t be afraid to share your personal experiences. I often share with my team how I handled the situations they now face. — Racquelle Pakutz, Zen Freight Solutions Inc.