One thing you need to anticipate as an entrepreneur is that eventually, | you’ll be building your team to help you execute your business strategy. You will, after all, have to free yourself up for the big-picture thinking and decision making, and hire people who can help you with different aspects of business that may not necessarily be your strength (think: numbers, marketing).
If you’ve had minimal or no management experience, you’ll have to be mindful of making sure that each team member is comfortable working not only with you, but with the rest of their colleagues.
Here are some ideas on how to ensure that your team members get along with each other and produce the results you are after, even if it seems that they may not have a lot in common:
1. Identify the main goal.
Make sure that everyone understands exactly what you’re all working toward. This will be your strongest, most unifying factor. In sports-speak, encourage everyone to keep their eyes on the ball. Working toward a larger goal (or higher purpose), like nation building, helps people look beyond their differences and realize that it’s not about them—it’s about the goal.
2. Determine individual roles.
Clarity in expectations eliminates a lot of potential mishaps, even when people have personality or chemistry problems. This allows people to be productive in their particular areas of expertise, and saves you time and effort. Also, this gives each person a sense of purpose, and that they are individually contributing to the larger picture.
3. Allow people to shine.
You brought them into the team for a reason (sales, project management, etc.). Maximize their expertise and let them do what they’re good at. In an era when we celebrate individuality and creativity, allow people to use their passion to direct their decisions and recommendations. Giving people autonomy goes a really long way.
4. Give everyone a voice.
Even if there is a final decision-maker (you), make everyone feel that their feedback is valuable—not only to you but to everyone in the group. It is important to instill a culture of open ears and minds in the group. The greatest thing about being exposed to people who are very different from you is that they see things in a whole different light, and can lend creativity to solutions you’d never even dream of yourself.
5. Communication is key.
Nowadays, with teams sometimes scattered all over the world, you may not be able to meet in person anymore. The best thing to do is find a common platform that everyone is comfortable using. There are so many online collaboration tools available, each with different strengths. Regular on- or offline meetings and interactions should help get the conversation flowing and the team on the way to accomplishing a goal!
Lastly—but this should go without saying—be the leader. It is, after all, your company and your team, so step up! Be their sounding board, be their disciplinarian (if you have to), be the final decision-maker. There’s a reason why you’re the boss. Make sure everyone knows where you stand and what you stand for so that it will be easier for them to help make all of your dreams come true.