The 10 People Management Skills You Need to Be a Startup CEO

The Hubble Team
The Hubble Team|

Let us shake your hand – you’ve done it! You’re the CEO of your dream startup. You’ve taken the reigns of a business you’re proud to call your own and you’re going to take it from strength to strength. Unfortunately, in order to achieve this at the current rate you’re working, you will also lose all of your hair, become fat and really boring, and all of your friends and potential soul mates will disappear along the way. But at least that new app that you’re developing will be popular… right?

The 10 people management skills you need to be a startup CEO

Wouldn’t it be great if you could successfully run your startup and maintain a balanced life all at the same time? The good news is that you can – all it takes is some strong management skills (and an ability to accept when it’s time to go home). The key to a successful business is clear and efficient management – if your colleagues respect the direction that you provide, your entire office will function efficiently and you will have greater success in the business world.

We’ve put together ten key management skills you need to be a successful CEO. Taking the time to develop and improve these skills will not only help your business to flourish, but it might also save you some hair.


1. Have a clear mission

If you don’t know what you want your business to achieve then neither will your co-workers. You’re their guide and you need to set a clear mission statement of what your business is, how it functions and what it is working towards.

While this mission doesn’t need to be a mantra that your entire staff repeats on a daily basis while looking at a framed photograph of Mark Zuckerberg, it should be understood and supported by the entire company.

2. Choose to work with people who inspire, challenge and improve you. 

The 10 people management skills you need to be a startup CEO

While working with people who dote upon your every move and do everything you say can have its advantages, surrounding yourself with people who think differently to you, who can challenge you and who bring new ideas to the table will be what helps make your business grow and develop. Whether you choose to work with a business partner who has a completely different skill set to you, or you employ people from diverse backgrounds and work histories, being open to new ideas and being able to use them to the benefit of the business is a valuable management skill.

3. Show, don’t tell

When a new project, issue or task needs to be tackled, is a best to show your co-workers why it needs to happen and ask them to work out how it will be done. You are allowing them to use their own expertise and skills to solve the problem and they will take ownership of the work at hand.

There’s nothing worse than being in a job where you feel like a monkey behind a wheel, being told what to do and when to do it by. Happy workers are productive workers and the end results will demonstrate it.

4. Find solutions to automate processes

The 10 people management skills you need to be a startup CEO

Daily administrative tasks can really slow a company down, and small startup businesses can’t afford to waste time, energy or money on paperwork and filing. Being aware of the latest apps and software available to automate these tasks can really help save you time and money.

Organising regular team meetings to discuss any overlaps in work, inefficiencies in the group and ways in which you can work faster and smarter will also improve your business workflow.

5. Keep track of your progress

Being aware of how your business is functioning, the work your co-workers are delivering and the rate at which your company is growing is a key motivational tool. Providing raw data to your colleagues to show that the time and effort they’re putting into their work is really paying off will help boost morale and keep everyone on track.

6. Say no to ties

The 10 people management skills you need to be a startup CEO

Gone are the days of formal business attire and unless you’re a group of bow-tie wearing hipsters, there’s no need to force your colleagues to wear uncomfortable work clothes.

A comfortable office is a productive office and allowing people to wear what they want to work (within reason) can help increase creativity and productivity – you don’t have to wear a tie to be a good manager.

7. Develop intelligent networks

While the current economy is competitive and you want to be leaders in your field, building networks with other businesses, freelancers and startups both inside and outside of your industry can be valuable. Being able to draw on external skills and expertise, gain additional industry insight and collaborate with other companies can help transform your startup from a small business to a thriving enterprise.

8. Be inspirational and motivate your team

The 10 people management skills you need to be a startup CEO

Your co-workers need more than just a monthly paycheque to remain interested in their jobs – they need a leader who inspires them to achieve the highest level of work possible. Support your team, listen to their needs (and actually care – pretending to care isn’t the same thing), include them in big decision-making processes and occasionally buy them a beer or two and they will be happy campers.

9. Be willing to listen

Listening to your co-workers is crucial to maintaining a successful startup business. If you don’t listen and act on the needs of your co-workers they will be finding work elsewhere. Include your co-workers in all aspects of business decision making processes and ask for their opinions. You will learn a lot from your colleagues and they may provide you with valuable insights that you had never even considered.

10. Get your hands dirty

The 10 people management skills you need to be a startup CEO

Just because you’re CEO doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get involved in the day to day work of the business. Be part of the team and do your bit to ensure all of the nitty-gritty details of a project are completed (without micromanaging). If you want to your business to grow from a small startup to competing with the big kids, you need to call that courier, do that final proof, or finish off that coding. 


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