5 Tips for Reducing Negativity in Your Startup


Nothing is worse than working for or with someone whose energy is equivalent to that of Lord Voldemort. Actually, one could argue that a startup is perhaps the worst place for negativity to infiltrate.

Startups need even more positive motivation in order to grow rapidly, compared to that of an already established company. So how do you ensure that negative vibes stay at bay?

Here are five tips I have learned for reducing any bad tidings at your startup:

1. Push for transparency and communicate often.
Plain and simple, a lack of communication leads to a lack of motivation. How is anyone supposed to push the growth of a company forward, when they don’t even know what’s going on within the company?

Whether it be sharing a published article that is relatable to the startup, addressing an opportunity for business development or even just sharing a random idea that came to mind, meeting on a regular schedule can promote a dialogue. Also, creating a private, internal website/blog for employees to share content freely may possibly allow for added communications and no doubt greater transparency.

It’s fairly common now for CEOs to send out an email or private blog post at the end of the week that states his/her thoughts on how the week went and what she envisions for the upcoming week. In effect, it lets you know where you stand.

2. Channel your Google side.
Does your startup truly embrace a fun, high-energy, productive atmosphere? Or do you just start the day off by providing jelly donuts for breakfast and in return, you expect everyone to put the company onto the Fortunate 500 list?

Obviously, a startup that’s on a tight budget can’t exactly fly their employees to Miami for the weekend. However, partaking in positive group activities may help motivate people towards building a great company and culture. These group activities may consist of entrepreneurial networking events, Ping-Pong, pool, running a marathon together, etc.

What is a better example of good culture these days than Google? While it’s well known that the company allots employees at least 20 percent of their time to work on their own projects, New York Times James Stewart recently explored the issue further.

3. Shut-down for finals.
When finals arrive, stress, tension and emotions can be at an all-time high. This can be really hard when you’re starting a new company and also trying to memorize equations.

Consider stepping back from your startup a week or two before finals. This way everyone involved can concentrate solely on their academic studies. It may not be 100 percent possible to completely put your startup on hold for two weeks, but giving in to a little down-time while also preparing for finals may not be a bad idea.

4. Don’t be a gossip.
If your startup has acquired people who haven’t exactly reached a certain level of social professionalism within a work environment, consider making it clear crystal: Gossiping about co-workers isn’t good for an employee and it absolutely won’t lead to positive business growth.

This is valid since startups will most likely attract a good handful of less experienced people. Still, know the difference between honest communication and spiteful comments. People can make a factual statement about someone vs. just saying something negative purely out of jealously or immaturity.

If an issue arises, address it then and there. Don’t let it build up to be some over-dramatic ordeal. Startups are not an episode of Jersey Shore.

5. Look for the good in people, not the bad.
Most startups don’t have a corporate-style work environment. So they’ll often allow employees to work as they wish. Despite the lack of formality, make it a point to notice the good in people rather than just their flaws.

If someone is doing something wrong, then obviously you’ll need to tell them how to fix the problem. But, think about how often that employee hears something good? Fostering a culture of giving and receiving positive feedback will do wonders for any new company.

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