Want to succeed? Start with your team.

So you have successfully created, financed, and finally founded a business. Is the hard part over? Of course not. This is just the beginning.

Making the transition from founder to manager is a complex one, as you are now reliant on your employees to help your company to develop and expand. However, the modern work-life balance is now harder than ever to achieve, and it takes much more than clearly defined roles and company perks to sustain an engaged and efficient workforce.

Sir Richard Branson, best-known as the founder of Virgin Group, speaks from experience. With Branson’s net worth now estimated at a staggering $5 billion and over 400 companies to his name, he has frequently emphasised that his employees are imperative to Virgin’s success. In one of many interviews the entrepreneur was quoted as saying that ‘Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.’

An admirable mantra, but how best to put this into practise?


An online survey by Interact of nearly 1000 US workers earlier this year revealed that 91% of those questioned felt that poor communication was dragging executives down. Examples given included:

• A distinct lack of recognition of employee’s achievements
• Vague or unclear directions
• Failure to provide constructive criticism
• Refusal to converse with subordinates
• Unwillingness to engage with employees on any form of personal level, demonstrating a lack of interest in their team’s life outside of work.

While a manager-employee relationship is obviously a professional one, it still requires trust, recognition and inclusion. If you do not take the time to properly establish clear goals and objectives for your staff – and fail to recognise when they achieve them – there will be no unified team. Ensuring that each employee, whether responsible for answering the phone or making multi-million dollar deals, feels both valued and appreciated will go a long way towards your company’s success.


It is only natural for humans to be driven by achievement. However, successful managers are aware that setting goals is not just a way to increase overall profit, but also an essential means of motivation.

So, how do you commit to motivating your group?

• Begin by setting realistic, achievable targets. While you might think that fantastical goals will encourage your employees to work harder and faster, it will most likely have the opposite effect on their motivation. Very few can be inspired to achieve the impossible.
• Elicit feedback and demonstrate that their opinions are valued, remembering that lower and mid-level employees will need to feel that their contributions are equally as important as those of a more senior team member.
• When projects falter or fail, focus on strategies to avoid this in the future instead of merely assigning blame.


Many managers make the mistake of over-working talented employees, and assume they need no recognition for their effort as they have always been efficient. This is a sure fire way to incite frustration and puts you at very real risk of losing exceptional staff.

• If you must increase an employee’s workload, you must increase their status as well. Promotions, raises and positive changes are all suitable ways of doing this. Very few will choose to remain in a role where there is little to gain from giving their all.
• Praise success, whether verbally or in writing. Do not expect your staff to continue to achieve if you completely overlook it when they do.


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