There’s a poorly-kept secret in “New Business” that the key to being successful is to be autonomous. This is not strictly true.
What Type of Employee Are You?
The people who are able to raise a Startup from nothing to “something” are people who can lead themselves, need barely any direction or feedback, and are able to see tasks to fruition with little outside interaction required. We’ll call these people “Bob.”
Once a “Startup” becomes a “Company”, however, these type of people are often not useful to the new structure, and there can be some friction or growing-pains with the transition. Non-Startup-minded employees need clear direction, more feedback, and more direct interaction. We’ll call these people “Farrah.”
Bob may be more likely to become a “Serial Startup” person, leaving when a venture becomes a “Company” to start something new. He enjoys the erratic hours, the constant changes in roles, and the general risk involved.
Farrah, conversely, will not join a venture until it has become a “Company,” safe in the knowledge that she will be given a set of clear tasks that she can complete and go home.
There’s nothing wrong with either role – they’re both necessary for a company to succeed. However, if you’re not sure which “type” a person is, its extremely easy to spot:
Random Person at Company: “Hey, I’m looking for some help with this project I’m doing.”
Bob: “Sure, sounds awesome! Let me make some time to help you.”
Farrah: “That’s not my job.”
- Knowing which kind of employee a person is allows you to know how to manage them properly.
If she is a Farrah, she will most likely be very dependable for her defined tasks – so be sure to clearly define them.
If he is a Bob, you have to be very careful that he does not take on too many things just because they are new and interesting.
When a company is “young”, there are many tasks that need to be done, however, by the time you have both Bob and Farrah at your company, you will need to be sure that you truly understand the value of the employees you have.
What Type of Manager Are You?
Not only are there different types of employees in a Startup, but there are also different types of Managers. This will entirely depend at what phase of the venture you are at, but you will definitely encounter any of these types:
“Sam” was given a management role with little to no formal experience. He has a group of Bob’s underneath him who desire and need little interaction. His success is tied to their ability to be autonomous, and this will work generally until the venture becomes a Company.
“Chris” is an experienced manager, often with a degree in Management. He has effectively led Farrahs before and knows how to ensure results from them. His success is tied to their ability to follow orders, which will work generally after a venture becomes a Company.
“Tom” is an experienced manager, with or without a degree in Management. He has encountered all types of employees and managers in his career. He knows how to employ the strengths of all of them and make them work together. This is useful at any phase.
As with our employees, it is useful to have all three types of managers in your company. While having a fleet of Toms would be useful, it is not practical. Bobs react better to having a Sam manage them (as they often “become” a Sam at some point). Farrahs appreciate having a Chris in charge, as he is an example that hard work and dedication (in the form of a degree) can pay off.
For Tom to be successful, he needs to be respected by both the Bobs and the Farrahs. Someone who can unite polar opposite types of employees and make them accomplish tasks is worth finding.