10 traits you need to make it as a starting employee

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You know that before you accept a runway, it takes guts. Fast-growing startups are dynamic and challenging in nature. In other words, someone who crushed it at his publicly traded organization with 50,000 employees could find himself underwater at a Series B company (and vice versa). So, what do you look for in a starting candidate? What qualities do you cherish so that your employees can grow and prosper?



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If you’re new to the wild world of startups, I’m here to be your guide. I’ve done thousands of hours of behavioral research and worked with every kind of startup under the sun. Over the years, I’ve compiled a set of 10 essential qualities that employees should own, develop and cherish. Do you know what it takes to succeed? Discover it now.

Related: 4 Essential Skills Needed to Thrive as a Startup Worker

Traits you need to thrive in a fast-paced environment

Startups are created from scratch. That means that when you accept a job, you also accept uncertainty, fluidity and regular pivot. To succeed in these types of environments, employees must peak in the following areas:

  1. Ambiguity Tolerance: Does the phrase “grey area” give you stress or energy? It is imperative that new employees not only feel comfortable with ambiguous situations, but also see them as desirable, interesting and an opportunity to solve complex or new problems.

  2. Flexibility: Being flexible is essential for starting employees. They will often be asked to turn around, and they must do so without anger and resentment. They also need to be comfortable with multiple duties or jobs, some of which may be beyond the scope of their role.

  3. Being open to learning: Every startup is a laboratory to learn. Employees should try to challenge the status quo, seek feedback, seek different points of view, and engage in discussions that will help the team improve.

Qualities you need to work well with others

Lone wolves don’t make it in startups. An employee’s attitude to cross-functional collaboration will make or break their success. Here are the qualities that entry-level employees need to have if they want to achieve interpersonal victories:

  1. Emotional intelligence: In a constantly changing environment, you need to quickly read a room and adjust your approach in real time. You also need to be able to regulate your emotions. Startups can be stressful and you should not allow negative energy to affect your colleagues.

  2. Conflict handling: Recognize when there is a problem and take action to solve it. Startups are notoriously short on time, so if you can tackle problems immediately, solve them, and move on, you’ll quickly prove your worth.

  3. Team Support: Regardless of your rank and title, you must recognize and appreciate the efforts of your teammates. Be in public when people are doing a good job. This will help everyone stay motivated, even in the most challenging stretches.

  4. Sharing knowledge: Communication is important in any job, but especially in startups. Share industry knowledge, context, and resources with others so anyone — and everything — can act quickly.

Qualities you need to do your best work

Priorities can change in the blink of an eye, and start-up workers must accept constant shifts and competing demands. If you need clear guardrails and processes, you may need to look elsewhere. But if you possess the following traits, you probably have what it takes to make it at a startup:

  1. Personal initiative: A to-do list on a silver platter and delivered on time? This is simply not possible at a startup. You have to be a self-starter, see opportunities, make plans, develop goals and bring new ideas to life – without being pushed to do so.

  2. Reliability: Do what you say you will do and keep your promises. Be honest and realistic about what you can do. Reputations build quickly (notice a trend?), and people who are trustworthy, steadfast, and trustworthy will find their way around more easily.

  3. Grain: Grit = passion + perseverance. It is the ability to overcome adversity, work hard and get things done. Your startup journey will be full of thrills and excitement. Do you have the stamina to stay on task, even when the going gets tough?

Related: What Is Grit And Why Does It Matter When Hiring For Your Startup?

Like the startup itself, employees need to be ready to step into the ring knowing there are risks. These fast lanes aren’t for everyone, but if you strongly identify with the ten traits, take it as a sign. You could be ready to join a venture that values ​​what you put on the table. And what do you get in return? A place to grow rapidly, continuously learn and contribute in ways you never thought possible.

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