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The key personalities and soft skills you need on your initial start-up team

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by Startacus Admin

soft skills and personalities in startups
Not having the right team is a common reason why startups fail. Read this advice from startup specialist law firm Harper James Solicitors for some of the key personalities and soft skills you'll need in your initial start-up team...

When you look at the why startups fail, not having the right team is the third most common reason. It’s vital to select the right team of people who are ready and willing to work hard together to turn an entrepreneur’s dream into a reality.

Finding essential core team members that complement one another should be a top priority, but how do you know what their personalities look like, and how can you seek them out?

Get to know yourself first

Even though it’s likely that you are the best person to bring your own idea to life, looking in the mirror at your own strengths and weaknesses will help to reveal soft skills and personalities in startupspotential gaps in your skill set that your team needs to fill.

One way to reach a useful level of insight is to take a personality test, like the Big Five personality test, which can provide an overview of your approach to work and life. This particular test measures your personality in terms of agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, openness and extraversion. Knowing your own levels of these key workplace traits can help you balance out your team.

Diversity is key

Homogeneity on a team is one of the biggest killers of creativity, and can lead to fatal blind-spots when it comes to problem-solving, product developing, market testing and PR. If the similarity of soft skills and personalities in startupsyour employees means that your research and development takes place in a bubble, you leave yourself vulnerable to group-think, and you may end up alienating clients and customers by failing to notice and overcome challenges someone with a different background and skill-set may have identified. 

Effective personality types

As well as base-level professional traits, your team should be made up of a variety of personality types in order to be successful.

Meredith Belbin, the famous researcher and management consultant, identified that effective teams contain people fulfilling different (and sometimes overlapping) roles:

  • The Plant – Creative and imaginative, they can come up with multiple ways to solve a problem, but may not always be the best communicators.
  • The Resource Investigator – Great networkers, they cherry-pick ideas and investigate possibilities.
  • The Coordinator –Mature, inclusive and decisive, they love to delegate.
  • The Evaluator – Detached and impartial, they tend to be slow-moving and analytical.soft skills and personalities in startups
  • The Teamworker – Diplomatic and calming, great at smoothing out disagreements.
  • The Finisher – Super-accurate, and perfectionist in nature.
  • The Specialist – A font of knowledge, experts in their field and extremely disciplined.

If you’re putting together a start-up team, studying a methodology such as Belbin is a good place to start.  To figure out personality types, effective interviewing supplemented by online tests should help you deduce the place your candidate can fill.  

Customer service is for everyone

One of the biggest challenges faced by businesses is to make sure that every member of the team feels passionately about the need for great customer service. For start-ups, that issue is even more important.

Consider conducting surveys of your clients that identify clearly what they most want from the customer journey and your product. With that feedback, you can ensure your employees are properly equipped with the knowledge to give customers a great experience.

Getting the most from your employees

Great employees are highly mobile, and won’t hesitate to move on if you can’t offer them a stimulating experience and great company culture. Make the effort to really get to know your employees – by showing you understand them, rewarding them with incentive schemes and ensure that they bring the best parts of themselves to work. Just as when you build a great product, customers will come, if you build a great culture, then great employees will seek you out.

By putting together a brilliant team at the outset, you will put your start-up on the right footing for the years to come.

About: Advice provided by startup specialist law firm Harper James Solicitors, a full-service national commercial law firm who provide genuinely affordable, high-quality advice to entrepreneurs and high-growth companies in England and Wales.

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Published on: 12th October 2019

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