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The 6 Keys To Creating A Successful Team For A Startup

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Are you the team lead or a manager at a startup? Do you want to have a successful team?

The following steps are keys to running a good team at a startup. Your team will look up to you, there will be fewer mishaps, less confusion and stress, and you’ll also have fun while shipping. Given below are the key things that if left out of your team planning and management, will cause your team to struggle. It will definitely hurt your company as a whole. Follow these keys to avoid the problems.

1. Lead By Example To Build Trust

Trust is a biggie when it comes to having a closely-knit team that works together well. As the team lead or manager, you’ll want to make sure that you build trust with your team. Show the example you expect from your team members. For example, if you want them to trust you then give them reasons to do so.

Actionable Tips To Implement Trust Into Your Team:

  • Spend some time each month to get to know your team members. Have a team event of some sort. (example: bowling, team picnic, ice-skating, or something that everyone enjoys.)
  • Lead by example. Show your team that you trust them. Don’t micromanage.
  • Do team building exercises.
  • Have your team do a personality test and the love language test. (This is usually for couples, but knowing the best way to speak to and work with your team member will really help them trust you more.) Doing these kinds of tests with your team will help you learn best how to serve and speak to your team members in a way that will make them respect you.
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2. Encourage More Face-To-Face Communication

We live in a world of constant communication. Phone calls, instant messages, and forums to name a few, but in our fast paced world of technology, especially in the startup world, we are forgetting something extremely important: It’s important to be more human in the workplace. Our brains are made up of cells and tissue.

There is a time for instant messaging and such, but when it comes to building a strong team you want to communicate face-to-face more often because misunderstandings happen so easily with instant messaging. It’s harder to hear a person’s tone of voice in these messages.

Actionable Tips To Better Communication:

  • Go talk to your teammate in person, instead of instant messaging them. This is good for you, for more than one reason. It gets you out of your chair and also helps you build communication skills.
  • If you have any team members who are remote, set up a time that you could call them on the phone or on video chat.
  • Smile.
  • When problems arise with a teammate or a few team members, go talk to them in person, but away from others. Don’t make a scene. It won’t make either of you look good.
  • This is similar to the bullet point above. Don’t talk to other people about problems that you might be having with a certain team member. Go to that person and discuss the problem privately.

3. Encourage A Healthy Atmosphere

You want your team members to be excited to go to work every morning, so it’s vital that you create and encourage a healthy atmosphere. In order to have a successful team, you need to have happy team members. And in order to have happy team members they need to feel secure and respected.

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Actionable Tips To Encourage A Healthy Atmosphere:

  • Don’t gossip or encourage it.
  • Don’t hold too many meetings. If you have meetings, keep them short and to the point.
  • Have a props session to talk up your team members. Compliment them. With the fast-paced speed of most startups, compliments sometimes fall by the wayside because you’re already onto new projects.

4. Encourage Healthy Living

Most roles (writers, designers, developers, and customer success agents) in a startup sit at a computer from 9-5 each day, during the work week (and sometimes even more than that).

We all know that exercise, eating right, and getting enough sleep makes a healthy and well-rounded person. We also know that sitting is slowly killing us.

So you can see why it’s important for you as the team lead to encourage a healthy living regime in order to have a healthy and successful team.

Actionable Tips To Encourage Healthy Living In And Out Of The Office:

  • Hold walking meetings where you and your team take a stroll around the block while holding your meeting.
  • Get some standing and walking desks in the office.
  • Set up a room in the office with exercise balls and yoga mats. A small yoga break might be all a team member needs to relieve some stress.
  • Hold monthly health challenges to encourage and keep your team healthy. For example, hold a walking challenge and see who in the team gets more steps in the month. Or a weight loss challenge. At the end of the challenge, the winner gets something awesome or wins some money. Make it worth it.
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Encouraging a healthy life encourages a better life, which makes a better team member and a better team altogether.

5. Define The Roles Well And Let Your Team Own Them

This part is so important.

First, before you do anything, ask your team members what is doable for them, so they don’t get overwhelmed with unrealistic goals. That would be a one-way ticket to a confused and worn out team member.

Write each person’s role and the definition of their role and what they do daily, so your team will know. Share the roles with each individual on the team. Also, share it with the whole team together so everyone knows who does what.

The next important step that you have to take as the team lead is: step back. Let your team own their roles. Sometimes it might be hard, but you have to. If you don’t, you are going to come off as a micromanager. And nobody likes that.

Actionable Tips To Help You Define Team Member Roles:

  • Speak with your team members to see what is going to be easily done. Don’t overshoot your goals and overload your team members.
  • Grab a notebook and write up each of your team roles and list out what each role entails.
  • Step back and let them own their roles.

6. Take Control When There Are Problems

Fire-drills. Disagreements. Unorganized projects. These are just a few problems that can throw a team out of sync.

This is something that you have to take control of as the team lead. Your team is looking to you. If your team feels stress with a project, that is a sign that the project wasn’t organized enough. It isn’t your team’s fault. It’ll be really important that you keep projects organized and specific.

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Another area where problems might arise is where team members get into disagreements that affect the entire team. Your role as the team lead is that you are on the team’s side. Not any single teammate’s side. You want the best for the entire team. You have to sit down and help the situation get figured out. If not, it will become a disaster.

Actionable Tips To Help You Take Control When Issues Arise:

  • Talk to all sides of the team (individual and the whole team).
  • Find out what is going well, what isn’t going well, and what could be improved.
  • Work on the “what isn’t going well” and the “what could be improved.”
  • Don’t pick sides. Stay open to both sides when there is a disagreement and look for ways to fix it.
  • Don’t cause issues between team members.

Leading a team at a fast-paced startup can be stressful if not properly done, but if you follow these 6 keys you’ll have a happier, less stressed, and more successful team.

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