The Entrepreneur Insiders network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in America’s startup scene contribute answers to timely questions about entrepreneurship and careers. Today’s answer to the question,” What leadership style should every entrepreneur try to adopt?” is written by Brad Jefferson, co-founder and CEO of Animoto.
We’ve all had jobs that have felt like a chore—jobs where you struggle to get out of bed to head into the office and just go through the motions. Working with a passionate team that cares about your company’s vision makes all the difference—not only in the quality of your day-to-day life, but also in the success and trajectory of your business as a whole.
Here are four strategies I use, and recommend, for building a passionate and inspired team:
- Hire for success
Building a passionate and inspired team begins with hiring. I spend a lot of time on hiring in order to make sure that each successful candidate is a good fit not only for the role, but for our company culture, too. Here are some questions I recommend asking yourself about each candidate to determine whether they’ll be a good fit for your company:
Have they used your product and do they have a perspective on it?
A candidate doesn’t need to be a regular user of your product, but they should take the time to try it out before they enter the interview process.
What does their work ethic look like?
Do you believe it fits with the work ethic of the team members they’ll be working with? A question I like to ask is, “How would one of your peers describe you?” It usually reveals quite a bit about a candidate’s work ethic.
Are they passionate about the mission?
At the end of the day, when the going gets tough, if you’re not hooked on the mission, then it’s just a job. Did the candidate seem enthusiastic when talking about the position and the company, or were they just going through the motions? Passion is usually pretty easy to spot.
Does it seem like they’ll mesh with the existing company culture?
How do you imagine the candidate fitting in with the team on a personal level? Do they contribute to your company’s diversity? We like to have as many team members interview them as possible, especially those who will be working directly with the candidate. From there, we try to make hires that everyone is genuinely excited about.
- Provide a vision
Hire people you believe will thrive on their own, and then let them jump right in. Provide a vision for their role and let them know where you’d like them to take it, but then let them bring their own ideas, experience, and smarts to the table.
I make it a practice to work with the rest of our executive team to set and share yearly and quarterly company goals to set a benchmark for what’s expected. Each quarter I share my vision and let the team run with it, holding them accountable to achieving the goals I’ve set in the ways they see fit.
How do you nurture an environment where your entire team feels comfortable bringing their own ideas to the table? Set new employees up for success by starting them out on hard projects to instill a sense of trust and respect. If you feel the need to micromanage, it may mean you’ve hired the wrong person.
- Be transparent
Transparency is key. When your employees have visibility on things like company goals, financials, and why certain decisions are being made, it creates an environment where everyone feels they are working toward the same goals and are truly invested in the mission.
I schedule anonymous Q&A sessions, where anyone, from our interns up to our executive team, can ask me anything (I’ve been asked everything from what my spirit animal is to where our next stage of growth will come from). When you embrace a culture where nothing about the state of your business is taboo and everyone is in the know, it leads to a more passionate and enthusiastic team.
- Make it fun to come to work
Finally, all work and no play is never fun. That’s why it’s important to incorporate social activities into the workweek to give employees a chance to get to know each other better and become a more tight-knit team. I recommend activities that allow individuals to show off their unique personalities and talents, while still being sensitive to introverts and extroverts alike.
Twice a year, we host a company-wide hackathon. Employees are invited to spend three days working on their "hacks," which can include anything from product improvements to fun projects, like new product features and tools that increase productivity. And, if you want to get people really excited about your own product, you can break into teams like we do and actually use your product as if you were a customer, which will give you a new perspective on features that should be highlighted, bugs that need to be fixed, or use cases you had not thought about before. This also gives employees a chance to work with people from other teams they don’t usually get to work with. We also host community service days, have a softball team, participate in NCAA brackets, and do painting nights. These types of activities help build relationships, trust, and accountability.
When you take the time to hire for success, invite your employees into the fold, and make coming to work fun, you’ll find it leads to a passion and excitement around your mission that is contagious.