One of the best aspects of being a founder and working in the startup community is that you are your own boss. You have FREEDOM. This can be liberating, challenging, and greatly rewarding.
At the same time, you should take this opportunity as a time to reflect on the best (and worst) people you have worked for in the past, to ensure you don’t make the same mistakes with your teams and your company. So, take a minute to reflect on the six most common people you won’t miss working for.
#1 The Micromanager
Steve Jobs famously said, “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do."
Micromanagers feel the need to be involved with everything that you do. From being cc'ed on all emails, invited to every meeting, and insistent upon knowing status at all times. These people are terrible to work with and you should avoid them like the plague.
Don't be this person because you will demotivate your people and look like a fool. Trust the people that you hire and empower them to do their jobs. Make yourself available to help and lead your team and encourage them to be leaders themselves.
#2 The Manipulator
Ever been in a meeting where somebody said the decision was fine but clearly wasn’t OK with it? And then you go back to your desk and see an explosion of emails and emotions and “ok…”? Yeah, don’t be this person, typically described as “passive-aggressive”.
Manipulators are cunning and play the political game at work instead of focusing on delivering value to the customers. If you're looking for a way to derail your company's culture real fast--this is it.
Be honest, transparent, and respectful. Don't use position, emotions, or threats to manipulate the behavior of your team. If you do use these tactics, you'll probably find that your team will begin to hate you, work against you, and eventually leave you.
#3 The Jerk
These are the people that can best be described with colorful language. In short, they are terrible to work for. DO NOT be this person.
Jerks in the workplace are demeaning, condescending, and rude. Oftentimes, these people are unhappy with their own career (or lack of it), life, relationships, or whatever else, and they'll take it out on you. Sometimes they like to make you look stupid so they feel smart.
In reality, these are terrible people to work for crush their people with the weight of their words. Don’t be a jerk; be a shepherd and guide your people along to success.
#4 The Panicker
If everything is an emergency, then nothing is an emergency. Makes sense, but you may be surprised by how many people treat everything like it is the number one priority.
Panickers are stressful to work with and often look like a walking anxiety bomb. If you say the wrong thing, took slightly a longer lunch, or made a typo in the report, this person might just lose it and flip out.
The honest truth is that panickers are generally people who are bad at prioritizing, delegating, and emotionally volatile. If you bring this onslaught of emotional baggage into your company, then you will ruin everything.
Be a founder who creates a reliable, effective, and lean culture than mitigates risk, balances the workload, and turns the unknown into success. Instead of striking anxiety into the hearts of your employees, give them confidence, balance, and the reassurance to do a great job.
#5 The Over-Promiser
This person could possibly be the quickest way to derail your project and miss deadlines. We have all worked for this person and sometimes we even are that person (shudder).
You know what I'm talking about. I had this just last week when my co-founder asked about my progress on three tasks. In reality, I had made zero progress because I overstated how simple and easy the tasks were. Well, the result was that I didn't finish the tasks, I over-promised, and I was unreliable.
This happens all the time and it's easy to slip into because most of us want to give good news by over-promising. Be strong, break this habit and be a straight-shooter.
Saying you will do something and then not doing it is complicit to lying. Let your yes be a yes and your no be a no. If you can’t deliver something, then say so. If you don’t know the answer, then say you don’t know. Either way, have good boundaries and promise what you can promise. If the other person doesn’t like that answer, then ask that person to partner with you to help you deliver more value.
#6 The Coward
By definition, a leader is at the front of the crowd. This means that you will be the first person demonized, lambasted, and held responsible. In other words, a leader's job is to take one in the chin so his team doesn't have to.
Do not throw your people under the bus, neglect responsibility, or hide behind process. This is what cowards do. You are not a coward.
Be a courageous leader who is willing to stand at the front and take the first blows. Lead with confidence and conviction, accepting responsibility, and protecting your people. Do not be a coward and blame others.
Don’t be like any of these 6 types of people. You started your own company for a number of reasons, not only because you have a great idea for a product or service, but partially because you probably got fed up with corporate shenanigans, lifetime middle-managers, and the rat race of clawing yourself to the top.
Take this as an opportunity to provide your wonderful product or service to the marketplace, but also as an opportunity to be the manager and leader that you always wish you had. Use your platform to inspire people to do amazing things.
Look at every time you were wronged and make sure you turn that wrong from your life into a blessing in somebody else’s life. Be the type of founder that your people will miss and want to emulate when they move on to other companies. Remember, your people are a treasure, make sure you guard them and invest in them.