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Practical advice for cyber security entrepreneurs. Learn from our experience.


How To Bring Out The Best In Your People

Many who have played the CEO role will tell you that your primary goal as leader of your startup is to write mission statements, define clear goals, or increase revenues. Others will tell you to focus on investor relations, raising funds and team building in order to grow the company. All of this advice is useful, even critical. But these are the wrong metrics to use to measure your success.

I believe that your main role is to inspire your employees and bring out the very best in them. Inspiration is not a measureable metric, true, but it is magical and its benefits can be reaped endlessly. It is the only way to beat the statistics of success and failure in the startup world. Your venture’s success is based on people. It is up to you to make sure that your people achieve their best, every day, to even exceed their own expectations of themselves.  It is up to you to lead them all the way to the finish line.

How do you do it? 

  1. Clearly identify employee strengths and create opportunities for those strengths to be used to the benefit of the whole team. Do not focus on their weaknesses and don’t push them to improve the things they cannot.  Your role is to know your people inside and out. In order to bring out the best in your employees, you have to understand them.  Gain a basic understanding of what interests them, what triggers them, what motivates them, and what makes them truly care. It could be a raise, it could be garnering respect. Perhaps it is that bigger office, or maybe it is the opportunity to spend more time with their children? As there are endless combinations of people, so too there are endless combinations of hopes, dreams and aspirations. The better you know your people, the better you will be able to pull together a cohesive group that reaches and even exceeds the goals of your company.
  2. Listening is key. You must truly listen to your team members and empathize with them. Leaving your employees to solve their own issues without yaour ear and support is not a habit that leads to success. A sympathetic response will, at the very least, help reduce tension.
  3. Recognize and reward good work that is being done by your people. It is not enough to just say “good job” or “well done”. You need to be more creative than that. In many instances your employees may have other, most attractive, financial alternatives. Leadership, personal growth and a feeling of success can be the reason why somebody joins and continues to work for your startup.
  4. Delegating is a key feature of good management. One of the best ways to increase motivation is by allocating responsibility for important goals within the organizational mission of the company. It generates a tremendous sense of teamwork and a positive atmosphere.
  5. Create an open environment, one in which people feel that they have permission to think, speak, and act within reason. Empower them with the sense that their recommendations are deeply valuable to the mission at hand. Give them the credit when your company acts on their valuable advice.  That is how you will get the best out of them.
  6. Lead by example. Your people expect you to fight with them, not only to lead them. They fully expect to see you in the battle field, leading the charge. Be with them whatever the circumstances. Setting a fine example costs you little and inspires productivity.

Remember, it is impossible to build a cohesive team without a leader that can be followed and respected. The CEO and management team must demonstrate that they are playing by the same rules they ask others to observe. The best managers are insightful and place the employee at the center. They know and understand their employees, and realize that bringing out their best will ultimately drive positive business results. And that is their key value as managers.