By George Otte
Starting a business isn’t an easy task. Not all new enterprises survive past their first year of existence; more than half fail to make it past their fifth anniversary.
But don’t let those statistics deter you from following your dream. If you are not sure that you have the management expertise to build and inspire a first-rate team, you may wish to bring on a co-founder or senior executive with more experience in this regard.
Alternatively, you can help develop your team. These six strategies will improve your team’s internal functioning and may give your company the advantage it needs to survive and thrive in a competitive marketplace.
1. Delegate Non-Core Tasks to the Best-Qualified Vendors or Subordinates
New managers must learn how to delegate. There simply is not enough time in the day for you to address every issue that comes up in the course of business. Nor are you always the best person to address such issues. Indeed, as founder, your purview is strategic and high-level; you must leave it to others to execute on many necessary but non-core tasks. That said, part of your role involves finding and cultivating the best internal employees and outside vendors for each such task.
2. Maintain Clear Boundaries Between Your Professional and Personal Spheres
Although it is important to make your employees feel welcome and supported in their work environment, it is perhaps more important not to blur the lines between the personal and the professional.
“Strive to clearly and effectively communicate standards of workplace behavior and practices, and then hold yourself to these standards above all others.” — George Otte
3. Focus on Clear, Concise Communication
Professional behavior is not the only workplace matter that demands clear and concise communication. As a general rule, your employees should always know where they personally stand; they should also have some visibility into the company’s strategic direction, finances, and competitive position, as these domains may all come to bear on their own roles and employment security.
4. Lead by Example and Follow Any Policies You Set
As the company leader, it’s incumbent upon you to follow your own rules and policies. Make a point of leading by example; if you find it difficult to personally follow a policy you’ve set for your employees, think carefully about whether it should continue.
5. Use Project Management Software to Manage Complex Initiatives and Stay on Track for Longer-Term Goals
Rather than relying on ad hoc organization systems to drive complex initiatives forward, use a project management tool that allows collective visibility by all applicable stakeholders.
6. Give Subordinates Space to Thrive
Provided you’ve made sound hiring decisions, you should have the utmost trust in your subordinates to do the duties they’ve been assigned (as defined in their job description and subsequent coaching). Accordingly, do your best to resist the urge to micro-manage their day-to-day activities.
Are you a first-time entrepreneur? Which of these tips do you find most valuable?
George Otte is a Miami-based entrepreneur and executive with more than 15 years of multifaceted business operations experience.