How to manage teams better?

A study from 2013 points to this 60 percent of startups fail due to poorly assembled teams. We are now in 2022 and although advances in technology have changed the world the way it was, that fact still holds true – people are the backbone of any organization.

So good teams can make or break a startup.

In 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic forced employees to work from home, companies faced unprecedented challenges.

It was feared that this would lead to a lack of Facetime less collaboration, irregular communication and unequal distribution of work, which would ultimately lead to unhappy teams. The pandemic forced managers – who were already struggling with the GenZ invasion of the workplace, which led to a myriad of changes (both positive and negative) – to think outside the box.

Communication had to be seamless, collaboration had to be cross-functional, and more importantly, team members had to be involved not only in themselves, but in the work.

Suffice it to say that team management has undergone many changes. So what are the best practices?

Entrepreneurship 101 decided to talk to startup founders about how to better lead their teams, with or without face-to-face time. If you want to know how to hire the right talent and keep your existing employees, click here and here.

Delegate intelligently

First, founders should move away from the idea of ​​taking responsibility for every job that needs to be done. “Release responsibility and hold people accountable for their results,” it says Kabir Jeet SinghCEO and co-founder of Burger Singh.

Second, founders should delegate work wisely. This means that entrepreneurs need to set clear and achievable goals for each individual team member and delegate tasks according to their expertise and breadth. This not only makes employees more productive and efficient, but also prevents overwork. Finally, entrepreneurs should involve all stakeholders in the work so that employees feel more involved and accountable strategic decision-making process.

Vaibhav Anant, founder of Bambrew, says entrepreneurs need to make people and their ideas feel important. However, he adds, “Tell them why you think it might or might not work.”

“Finding the right person for the job is key to running any business. Intelligent delegation should be followed by ongoing training to ensure key people are able to do their job,” agrees Harshil Salot, co-founder of The Sleep Company.

transparency

In a startup environment Overcommunication is always better than miscommunication. Communication within teams should be open, clear and professional at all times. “It reduces the likelihood of conflict and ensures timely delivery of important messages across the organization,” says Harshil, adding that open communication allows employees to have an appropriate platform to air grievances and concerns.

In addition, transparent communication bridges the gap between founders and their employees and promotes personal and professional growth. It creates a sense of belonging for employees and helps founders align all teams towards a common goal. Harshil says, “Clear and honest communication is critical to the functioning of an organization. Erase hierarchical boundaries to ensure transparency and speed of communication and reduce the likelihood of misunderstandings.”

Interestingly, employees with managers with poor communication skills are 23 percent more likely to suffer from declining mental health, according to the Harvard Business Review.

Akanksha Hazari, Founder of LoveLocal, says: “We have a flat structure where there is mutual respect for every project that is worked on, regardless of who is working on it. I also always make sure that team members’ time is valued as much as their contributions.”

Goal-oriented effort

“Teamwork is the ability to work together towards a common vision. The ability to align individual performance with organizational goals. It’s the fuel that enables ordinary people to achieve extraordinary results,” said philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.

Entrepreneurs should set customized and achievable goals for every employee in the organization. Especially in the initial phase or when building and launching a new product, startups should place more emphasis on accountability and quality.

“I always make sure that SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) are established for all projects, and I always take notes to make the work seamless and effortless,” says Akanksha. She adds that thorough planning helps LoveLocal’s teams identify blind spots and proactively identify problems and their solutions.

At Burger Singh, Kabir takes a similar approach. With 86 employees in the head office and a further 168 employees in COCO branches (Company-Owned-Company-Operated), the company sets clear goals which can be defined in numbers. Kabir regularly meets with his teams to either follow up or revise defined goals in light of real-world feedback.

He adds, “Hire people smarter than you to fill skill gaps… Identify the skill set of potential team members and align them with organizational goals.”

rewards and recognition

Vaibhav says, “Startup founders are better at leading teams by giving them space to experiment, fail, and learn.” At the same time, founders must “reward creative effort, dedication, responsibility, and hard work,” adds Kabir.

Rewards and recognition motivate employees to perform better and instill a sense of ownership and accountability. At The Sleep Company, all employees are in the process of earning ESOPs as part of their commitment to including employees in their journey of company growth.

In summary, Harshil says, “A startup founder has a responsibility to set the company vision and establish the right team spirit and work ethic. Strong leadership is key to ensuring these goals are met.”

A good founder should always prioritize his team and motivate them to do better than they did the day before. Not only will this add value to the employee’s lifestyle, but it will also lead to building team loyalty and desired outcomes.

Click here to read more articles from the Entrepreneurship 101 series here.

Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta

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