3 mistakes to avoid while building a team
There is a fundamental, yet, often easily overlooked difference between a successful business and a struggling business. While the entrepreneur of a successful business looks at building teams as his or her core responsibility, the entrepreneur of a struggling business looks at it as a burdensome task, whether necessary or not. During my conversations with several entrepreneurs about building a business that can grow without them, I’ve discovered extreme resistance towards building a team of functional experts who can ensure consistent activity in every department of the business.
In fact, I am often faced with questions like “What if the person learns everything and starts their own business, or joins a competitor?” or “I have a team, but it is unable to do anything without me. Is it really possible to build a team which can operate the business without me?” My answer for these business owners is this – “Do you have a team, or do you just have people on your payroll?”
Elaborating on the same, here are the three most common mistakes I see entrepreneurs making while building a team:
Mistake #1: Not hiring out of the fear that people will learn and leave, or that hiring is an expense.
The Reality – The reason why certain employees learn and leave a job is that they are made to handle all the requirements of a business, without any opportunities for career growth. The key to this is to hire employees and help them become experts in a particular business function so that they can collectively manage the company even without you. Not only does this give them a career growth path, but a sense of fulfillment and focus as well! Additionally, if you think that hiring is an expense, what you do not realize is that not hiring is even more expensive, as you will end up handling the same tasks yourself, forever, unable to scale up. Hiring an employee is actually an investment, as it allows you to leverage the time, effort, and skills of several people to grow your business.
Mistake #2: Hiring people and simply expecting the job to be taken care of, magically!
The Reality – Your responsibilities do not end, once you have hired people. In fact, the primary part of your job begins once you hire your employees. As a leader, you have to spend time teaching, coaching, and handholding your team, until they produce the desired results. Face it; there is no ready-made talent available! If you are not willing to invest the time and effort in building your team, you will spend more time and more effort in doing the same tasks, while also fighting crises in your business.
Mistake #3: Hiring fast, but firing slow!
The Reality – Most business owners hire employees out of desperation, ending up taking in anybody and everybody with the hope that things will work out. This is a recipe for disaster, especially when you hire a liability! The best practice, instead, is to hire employees specifically to build a team, which requires people who are committed and competent. Commitment, as I see it, is the foundational character of a person, comprising a willingness to be ethical, honest, and responsible for what he or she is expected to do. Competence, on the other hand, is the collection of skills, knowledge, self-image, traits, and motive which a person needs to possess, to carry out their tasks, and hence, manage the job, effectively. Commitment by itself is not good enough to produce results, and only competence is a huge challenge, as you cannot trust the person. For any business to scale, you need teams which are both committed and competent.
Once you take these factors into consideration, not only will you be able to build a better team of employees, but by guiding and leveraging them, also lead your company to unprecedented success.