Part 44 – Five Types Of Employees You Deal With As A Founder

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You have a vision and you have started your company and are looking at hiring your first employees. You should probably wait and consider the five types of people you probably haven’t thought about. These are people who have a specific relationship to your vision and who will either promote or hinder its attainment. In order to be successful, you need to be aware of all of these.

1 – People who are you

These are the people who go all in on your goals, process, product, and promote what you do at every opportunity.  They are the ones who continually come up to you and say, “What if we…” They are the idea makers. These employees should be your evangelists. They can fill in for you when you can’t. They are a valuable resource to have. These are the employees, as you, are willing to put in long hours for little pay.

2 – People you need to prove

These are the people who like your vision, but either don’t fully buy into it.  They may have specific doubts about the details, but not the overall vision. These are the employees of which you need the most. They are the ones who walk up to you and say, “We could..” They want to understand the rationale behind what you are doing and help improve  or refine your vision.  They see the problems and have a solution. They will volunteer to pitch in and help. They will sacrifice some of their own personal lives because they see benefits to the company as well as themselves.

3 – People you need to convince

These are the people who don’t buy into your vision because they don’t understand it. These employees are the equivalent of your customer-base. They are open-minded and need to see and understand the vision in order to buy into it. They are your best in-house sounding board. They come up to you and say, “Why don’t you…”  These employees are going to find your problems and have ways to improve things.  These are the employees who will pitch in and sacrifice if it asked. These employees can be converted to people you need to prove.

4 – People you need to watch

These are the people who are the skeptics even if they understand your vision. These employees are going to try to get away with certain things. They will only make an effort when there is some benefit for them or their own vision. They are the wildcards. They are the ones who come up to you and say, “I don’t think you…” This can either be a criticism or a challenge. You will need to learn to distinguish the two.  In some situations they can be a valuable asset when they act as a Devil’s Advocate and challenge your vision. They will test you and can either break or strengthen you. You need one or two of these. You should reward them when they do a job well and should listen to their complaints with an open mind.

5 – People who are not  you

These are the people who are the nay-sayers and the ones who are alway criticizing, but offer no suggestions of their own.  They complain and make others around them miserable. They are working only because they need a job. They think, “I don’t care…” The likelihood of them accepting your vision is remote. These are the troublemakers, and you should have none of these. They are self-centered and will only sacrifice if you make it worth their while.

How your employees approach you can say a great deal about the kind of person they are and how you can deal with them:

  • “What if we…” — ideas
  • “We could…”  — suggestions
  • “Why don’t we…” — needs clarification
  • “I don’t think you…” — criticism/Devil’s Advocate
  • “I don’t care…” — self-centered

You will make many sacrifices in starting your business.  Your passion will drive you. The thing to always remember is that your employees, in all probability, will not have the same drive as you. You should understand the sacrifices you will ask of them and how they will react. In certain situations, a good founder and manager will end up making sacrifices so that their employees don’t have to.

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