So you congratulate yourself when you manage to get your team to reach your target goal – a task that had seemed almost impossible at the beginning, but you’ve finally done it. You get admiring and congratulatory emails from business partners asking you how you did it. You smile smugly and feel on cloud nine. But did you lose your team members emotionally along while doing so? As an entrepreneurial leader, is the end result your only goal or does the journey matter more?
You got your team to achieve the impossible, but along the way, you made many enemies by making your team work like bulls on a farm – viewing them more as tools than anything else. They work 12 hours a day (sometimes more), sleep just a few hours, then it’s off to work again. They have been doing these for weeks, even months at end. You might argue that you do the same, so if you’re okay with the hours, so are they. But, assume not. Do you know if they were happy doing so? Or were actually lashing out at the horrible hours behind your back?
As an entrepreneur, you argue that in a startup, hours are expected to be long and hard with non-proportional monetary incentives. And that your team should have known what to expect. True, but then again, they might have come into the startup at the beginning brimming with excitement at the new product or service that you are starting and even looked forward to the long hours. But, do you know if this still stands? Have you retained your people but lost their passions?
You might also argue that in a startup, as the CEO, you have lots on your hands: product innovation, fundraising, watching the market, networking…with that much to worry about for the survival of the startup, how would you have had enough time to ensure that all of your employees were having nice and dandy lives as well? “They need to work for it, you know!” But pal, you’re forgetting one thing: they’re humans, not robots. They have lives to lead, families to provide for, kids’ tantrums to fret over, pets to take to the vet, angry maids to appease…just like you. Think about it, have you gone to labeling everyone with their titles and neglected to acknowledge the living, breathing human beings underneath your CFO, CMO, CTO, etc?
Don’t make them do what you want them to, make them want to do it for you. Take care of your people, and they will take care of you.