There are often still arguments about who makes for the perfect start-up founder. Is the better founder the one who sits back and delegates tasks or the one who is more hands-on? That is an interesting argument and one we plan to answer in this article.
New research has found that start-up founders with a hands-on approach are more likely to keep their employees and build thriving companies as a result of utilizing such a management style. The results of such leadership can especially be applied to knowledge-based technology firms that rely on human talent as their main resource for company performance. This type of leadership calls for a more tight-knit organization that ensures each team member plays a vital role in the overall organizational performance. This process needs to occur in a growing start-up when the founder is juggling so many responsibilities and being a leader to their employees.
Start-up Founders Wear Many Hats
Think about the founder’s busy daily schedule. They must recruit new employees, raise start-up capital, create an advising board, develop key partnerships, create a strategic plan, and design the organizational flow. These are just a few responsibilities that demand their attention. With a founder being pulled in so many directions, their attention is often spread to its limit. This means they can often overlook key areas of their company that are vital to its long-term success. One such area is the mentoring and coaching of their team of employees. If the presence of a founder is not felt and their voice is not heard, their staff will often forget the purpose of their work. If this happens, the start-up will eventually begin to unravel and fail.
Founders are often more focused on the immediate challenges that their start-ups face – such as technological challenges and market pressures. Therefore, they will theorize that human resource tasks are better suited for managers in charge of such duties. But being present with their employees from time-to-time is definitely worth the founder’s effort. A founder’s direct involvement also helps develop a strong team who they can depend on.
Human resource management is more than a constant flow of paperwork. As the name implies, you must deal with people directly in order to understand how well they are performing within your organization. This means ensuring that they are working on their designated tasks, receiving the necessary feedback about their performance, and determining if they are happy with their role in your company. Founders must allocate the time to do these tasks if they want to be sure their start-up is filled with the right people who can assist with company growth. Founders who apply a more hands-on approach run better-performing companies. This is because they keep a watchful eye on their team’s progression with regular evaluations, define expectations, create team milestones, and track progress.
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Learning How to Be More Hands-on
Even if a founder is not naturally hands-on, the skillset can still be learned and applied to their approach as a leader. Since hands-on management can be learned over time, many founders are able to implement this practice to improve their process as a leader. When a founder learns how to lead better, it leads to happier employees, which produces a more successful company. This management style can be learned from other hands-on managers who have perfected this process. This helps founders learn why they should use these tactics and how to implement them into their own company.
The hands-on management skills are often acquired through peer networks. Bringing founders together to learn from one another is how some of the best teachings can be found.
They can learn how to provide structured feedback, conduct performance reviews, outline expectations, and establish team goals. To achieve the best outcomes, hands-on founders must be partnered with founders who are more hands-off. This helps ensure that a real learning process is being accomplished.
Practicing the Hands-on Approach
Founders who learned how to lead from other hands-on founders are more inclined to follow a similar leadership approach. Most founders have no problem making substantial changes in their approach when they know that doing so will lead to substantially improved results. They learn how to implement action items to produce better efficiency and effectiveness. Founders want to be sure that their teams are prepared to perform at high levels by giving them the necessary tools and personnel to do so. These leaders must make it clear to their team that they are doing everything in their power to communicate that their employees are a vital part of their organization.
Founders who implement a more hands-on management style are guaranteed to see positive results within their companies. Their companies will retain a higher percentage of their employees and will not be faced with the threat of having to close their doors forever. With fewer employees leaving and a higher rate of success, there is no denying the impact a hands-on management style can provide.
This is not to say that a more hands-on approach is always ideal. Excessive micromanaging can lead to negative results being garnered. Effective hands-on leadership is all about providing employees with the goals to be accomplished and allowing them the opportunity to achieve those goals on their own. If employees need help, they will ask for it. It does not mean the leader must constantly be looking over their shoulder. This is how people often confuse hands-on management with micromanaging. Founders must learn how to let go and delegate tasks if they do not want to alienate their staff due to their overbearing behavior.
Peer Learning is the Best Investment
Companies usually settle for formal training programs with consultants who teach entrepreneurs how to manage their companies. Often times, this training can be expensive, do not work long-term, and can provide impractical tactics for leaders who are working full-time on their companies. This is why founders should invest in mentor networks to pick up hands-on management tactics that they can use to effectively lead and grow their own teams. Experiencing these particular exchanges provides a more personalized approach than formal training programs. This is because participating founders can tailor the discussion to their company’s current situation and share their own personal experiences. Most founders will not gain these same types of in-depth discussions at networking events, where everyone comes together to sell the value of their start-up. Therefore, the focus of the conversation at hand needs to be on how to become a more hands-on leader. This is how founders learn how to become leaders who can position their teams for long-term success, which leads to continued growth for their companies.
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