It is important to remember that even as an entrepreneur, you are not going to be the only leader on your team. Learning to delegate is a significant key to leading a team successfully. Eventually, you will have managers running departments in your start-up, and it is important that you hire or assign the right people to those positions. Put the wrong people there, and your start-up will fail.
Fortunately, there behaviors and habits you can identify to see if someone is not fit to be a leader. These are things you can ask potential managers about if you are hiring them, or observe in an employee if you are planning on promoting from within. Keep an eye out for a number of negative traits that can indicate that someone is not fit to be a leader.
There’s nothing more pleasing to many entrepreneurs than someone who’s willing to work into the wee hours — at least at first. Eventually, all that work is going to catch up with them, and they shall start burning out. They are essentially sacrificing long-term productivity for short-term success, and that is not going to work for your start-up.
The reason this is a problem is they may carry that mentality into a managerial position. There will be days when everyone needs to spend the night at the office, but those days should be accompanied by days of rest and recovery. It can also damage office morale as a whole if a manager keeps pushing the staff to the limit and to work overtime.
The way a person behaves is as important as their management style. The moment a potential hire or employee shows that they have a habit of belittling people in public is the moment they should stop being considered for any leadership position. Their criticisms may spot-on, but that pales in comparison to the damage they are doing to office morale and their credibility. Snapping in public shows that they do not have the self-control to properly address crisis situations and are prone to emotional outbursts.
Any criticism should be leveled in private. The purpose is not to embarrass someone; it is to improve their productivity. Public spectacles are more about ego and show than actual leadership. Letting someone who verbally attacks people manage your team can lead to an office afraid of pushing boundaries or making tough decisions because of fear.
A manager or leader is not just someone skilled. They are someone who can give their team direction. It is less about their personal ability and more about how they manage their team’s skillsets. Observe any potential managers and see how independently they can work. Can they work autonomously or do they need to be micromanaged? If it is the latter, they are going to do poorly in a leadership position.
Part of your job as an entrepreneur is to provide direction to the start-up as a whole, and that is a job you share with your managers. Your managers must direct their team’s efforts in an efficient manner, and they cannot do that if they do not know what they want to happen. If they do not have direction or can’t work alone, you will spend a lot of their time doing their job for them.
At some point in your life as an entrepreneur, you are going to have to give someone negative feedback. It is difficult, but if you do not do it, the recipient will never grow. You may hurt their feelings, but in the long run, it is better for them. They will learn from their mistakes, and your start-up will grow as a whole.
When considering someone for a leadership position, ask them to deliver negative feedback. Don’t make something up. There’s bound to be someone who needs criticism in your office. Have them do it and see if they dance around the issue. Observe their phrasing – are they direct? Are they needlessly cruel or are they too nice? Keep in mind that how they deliver criticism will not be perfect, but you will get a better idea whether they have the potential to deliver it well or not.
The leaders and managers you choose as an entrepreneur will impact your start-up’s success and can even doom the company if you are careless. Without the right managers, you will be forced to handle daily issues and end up too busy to look at the big picture or handle more pressing problems, such as finding investors or interviewing potential partners.
Remember to follow The Scope Weekly on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram! If you would like to become a contributor to The Scope Weekly, read our submission guidelines, and apply. For product reviews, click here. We welcome your ideas and recommendations.