When you’re an entrepreneur, you’re the boss. You have control over the start-up’s direction, the way the product develops, and how your employees will be managed. The problem is the last part — management looks easy, but it’s also easy to make management mistakes.
It’s about making sure that your hires perform to the best of their abilities. The issue is that humans can’t be quantified. There’s no strict metric, which means that there’s no one true path when it comes to management strategy. Right answers vary according to your context; however, there are things that are universally considered errors.
Hiring too Fast
Mistakes are something big companies can afford. Does that include a hiring error? A big company can make up for it in a few months. Start-ups, on the other hand, cannot afford such errors. Hiring the wrong people doesn’t just cost your business money, it costs it time. New hires need training, and while you’re busy making up for bad hires, the competition is blazing ahead and leaving you in the dust.
Being an entrepreneur is exciting, but don’t let that eagerness push you into rushing things. Your first round of hires will determine how easy or how difficult the first few months will be. Take the time to properly vet each candidate. Time spent evaluating your hires is time well spent.
Promoting an Imbalanced Company Culture
Part of what drove you to be an entrepreneur may involve the company cultures you’ve experienced. You may have found yourself in a highly stressful business and sworn that when you started your own, things would be different, that people would be able to relax. The mistake is going too far; unlimited vacation days and flex time can make your employees feel great, but it can also result in reduced output.
You want your employees happy and that’s OK. Just don’t forget that things still need to get done. All work and no play may make Jack a dull boy, but all play and no work can ruin Jack’s start-up.
Assigning the Wrong Tasks
Presumably there’s a reason you hired each member of your team. You hired them to perform a specific task that helps your start-up function. The confusion comes when you take into account the fact that it’s a start-up. You and your hires will have to wear many hats, to take on multiple roles as the business requires. Eventually you may end up with employees taking on tasks that aren’t suited for them.
Keep track of who is doing what and make sure they’re working on what they do best. That goes for you as well; you can’t micromanage or step in whenever you please. Let people do their jobs so you can focus on your own.
Not Giving Feedback
As an entrepreneur, you need feedback. You want customers to tell you what went right with your product and what went wrong. It is this feedback that will determine what you need to do. Your employees need that same feedback.
Criticism is a touchy subject, but it’s a part of your responsibilities as the boss. Feedback and criticism give your employees an idea of how they’re doing. This will inform them whether they should stay the course or adjust their behavior and performance. It’ll also nip performance issues before they start costing the company money.
Forgetting to Treat them as Individuals
It needs to be said: they may be your team, but that team is made up of individuals. While they all do work under your brand and are expected to behave accordingly, they still have unique gifts, talents, and needs that you need to account for. Treating them all the same can lead to feelings of alienation or the idea that you’re not hearing them, which can lead to increased and costly turnover rates.
Get to know your employees on an individual level. It’s the only real way to treat them as individuals. There’s no shortcut here. There’s only hard work and an honest interest in learning what makes them tick and how you can help them be better workers.
These mistakes can sneak up on any entrepreneur, you included. Managing people is important work, so don’t let these details slip through the cracks. Treat them as individuals and give them feedback. Make sure they’re assigned to tasks suited to them. Take the time to find the right people for your company. Perform your due diligence when it comes to your employees and they’ll send your company soaring.
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