Think of all the people on your startup team and how you interact with each of them on a regular basis. Have you met Mr. Negative, Mr. Victim, or Mr. Critic? You’ll find them in the weekly team meeting dishing out the most self-conceited ideas or holding court around the office water cooler on how badly the startup is run.
Let’s take a closer look so you’ll be able to recognize and possibly do something about them before they run down your business.
As if the Nigerian business terrain isn’t already hard enough. Mr. Negative would most likely have a problem for every solution and drain enthusiasm from any new idea. His mantra is the deadly “This is the way it’s always been done.” He’s mired in the status quo like a car stuck in mud, spinning his wheels. When a window of opportunity opens for the business, he’ll pull down the shade. He will zap your startup’s energy and slow its momentum.
You won’t want to continue having this person on your team or spend time with them for too long. No, you can’t expect to run a successful business if you surround yourself with negative people.
Since they find it almost impossible to accept personal responsibility for their mistakes or failures, life seems chronically unfair to Victims. The email you sent them was not clear enough (never mind that they never bothered to ask for clarifications). There was never a real shot at completing their task because they weren’t given free data. The deck is always stacked against Victims, and they have nothing but excuses and bad luck.
They haven’t figured out yet that hard work puts you in a place where good luck can find you, and they are famous for putting in little or no effort. You’ll recognize them by their signature excuses, and it’s high time you weeded them out.
Who doesn’t know how critics operate? They are known for finding something derogatory to say about everything and everyone. In fact, in the workplace, they are particularly famous for trading confidential or negative information about their employers. Critics use gossip to bond with and control small-minded people. Make sure you’re never tempted to engage in their shenanigans, for everyone is fair game, including you, the founder or business owner.
Critics are threatened by talented and innovative people (never mind that they’re a part of the team as well). The greater your startup’s success stories, the louder their criticism, which they hope will draw the spotlight away from their own unimpressive résumés. Never let anyone who has done nothing tell you how to do anything.
The Bottom Line
Now, whether you’re building a leadership team or cleaning house in your startup, look for the encouragers and believers, the high-energy movers and shakers who don’t have “can’t” in their vocabulary.
Surround yourself with team members who dream bigger than you do. They passionately improve everything in their path, from processes and products to colleagues and employees. They believe anything is possible, and they’ll believe in what your startup stands for.