How to Hire Enthusiastic and Productive Startup Talent

“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm,” said Ralph Waldo Emerson. Entrepreneurs are natural optimists, but not everyone is always as excited about your new business idea as you are. Therefore, when selecting people to join in your success and pursuits, cherry-pick the ones that are bustling with enthusiasm.

I would argue that attitude and the belief that a task can be completed well is everything. In fact, most highly successful salespeople will tell you that before they even make a sales call, they know whether or not they will close the sale. Heavy perceptual insight or a self-fulfilling prophecy? Confidence and belief in the business or oneself plays heavily into the optimal outcome or result. Enthusiasm plays an even larger role.

Naysayers vs. Critical Thinkers

A business’ longevity can be easily determined based on how the principals manage negativity and naysayers. It’s best to try and eliminate naysayers at every turn. Leaders must make it clear that those who aren’t for the business are against it. CEOs who focus too much on the entire team effort tend to lose sight of the individual motives, strengths and weaknesses of the members.

The best way to determine if someone is a naysayer or a critical thinker is to evaluate their problem-solving style. A naysayer will see a problem and point it out as mockery. On the other hand, a team player will see a problem and approach you directly once they have identified possible solutions to the problem, and view the opportunity as a celebration.

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A great startup team is made up of winning-oriented individuals, with each one pulling their weight as well as making up for others’ weaknesses with their strengths. As entrepreneurs and individual employee managers, here’s how to hire an enthusiastic — and therefore, productive — startup team:

  • Be transparent about your leadership style. Make it clear early on that problem solvers are welcome and problem creators will have to move on. By examining and shaping the “true” motivations of your team, you can predict where the team is headed long-term, and in effect know where the company will be years down the road.
  • Place team members where they want to be. The nature of startup organizations is that people must wear many different hats, but it’s important for leaders to specialize their team members and compartmentalize their skill sets in a way that complements what drives each of them.
  • Keep two-way communication open. Try to look at your organization as the collective motivations of your employees and determine the best way to build morale through problem solving incentives and continual feedback.
  • Be responsive to true productivity. Most prospective employees will naturally tell you that they are the “perfect candidate” and that they are winners in their field. However, the evidence is in the productivity. As time moves on, the outliers tend to show themselves, while the weaker links drag down the bottom line. One bad naysaying apple can eventually ruin the whole bunch, so it’s vitally important to see the signs early on.

Kimberly E. Stone, founder of POSHGLAM.com, is an entrepreneur with a knack for recognizing creative talent and pinpointing successful fashion lines. She’s been featured as one of Black Enterprise’s Top 10 Women of Power under 40 and continues to set the standard for social media in the Fashion 3.0 realm.

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.

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