Opting for a start-up over a corporate gig is not an easy choice to make. Working in a start-up is equally challenging as starting off something of your own by incorporating a company. It’s you along with a small team which ought to be self-sustainable, dangling with a do-or-die situation between failure and success. Your journey through formal will yet be drawn on the lines of an informal, friendly family constantly aiming towards success.
In this journey, if you ever encounter a situation of getting less work, don’t rejoice! Instead, you are in a trouble
In ideal circumstances, you are not expected to play such a guess game. Your boss would render honest opinion and feedback to nip any discrepancy in your performance in the bud.
On the other end of the spectrum, humans are complex characters. Many times, growing out from an informal environment, it becomes difficult for a boss to express. Apart from being afraid to confront, they might busy to check with you for feedback or simply lack communication skills. The gulf just widens with time and lands you in hot water.
In such ambiguity, how do you guess it right, that you are required to fix your work? Let’s probe some warning signals which indicate you are faltering at qualities required in a start-up.
Actions speak louder than words
It is difficult to disguise and compose one's disappointment for long. Keep an eye on your boss’s behaviour and tone towards yourself.
Some common examples are:
• Your Buddy boss gets agitated more often.
• The conversation becomes short and cold.
• They maintain an arm’s distance.
• Avoid engaging in conversation apart from just essential communication.
• Your boss noticeably gets more curt with you.
#What to do
Never put a blind eye to such situations. At times it also depends on the initial bond you share with your boss. It can be a subtle silence before you get kicked out.
Confront and address the problem instead of running away from such awkward negative performance review conversations. Buck-up and get back to his good grace.
‘I observed, you seem less happy with my work lately? How can I Improve?’
Yes, it’s that simple a line. However, what is not simple is the fact which follows. You need to listen patiently, don’t be defensive, be calm and take down notes. Go through the points carefully, introspect what is bothering you. Once you figure out, only then sit with your boss and explain your stand.
A simple conversation, done right in time can not only rejuvenate a sense of purpose again but instil more responsibility owing to a promotion.
Pouring Challenges Is Not A Punishment
If you are not delegated with important work, it does not mean your boss is giving you a break. Instead, they think you are incapable of managing things.
Some daunting signals which might hinder your future promotions are:
• Few complex tasks are removed from your platter and fed with grunt work.
• Some Coveted assignments often get passed to your colleagues.
• Job assigned feels like a step backwards in your career.
• The lesser burden at work. It might give you a chance to rejoice secretly.
However, start-ups, unlike the corporate world, have less of leisure jobs. In Startups, the basic mantra is ‘to grow and let grow’. Your career and self-growth are equally important to the growth of the business.
#What to do
Confrontation in haste might not furnish appropriate results. Think and identify what went wrong on your part.
Any recent errors? Or deadlines missed? Or lack of vigilance? Or a non-constructive reaction in a tensed situation? The reason could be any.
The only quick fix hack to control the damages is to own up to your mistake. Take the ownership, bring it up on your own in front of your boss. You would just rebuild the trust by letting him know that you recognise you were wrong, what you learned and any corrective actions.
‘I am willing to take up more tasks to contribute to the productivity and mitigate the loss if any.'
Just some amount of extra efforts and time invested can control the situation remarkably.
Feedbacks Are No Jokes
Negative feedbacks are helpful for growth. However, if the number of such feedbacks is constantly on the rise – you need to pull up your socks.
No matter how dedicatedly you work, there are always doors for improvement.
Some instances which drag you to the termination meeting are:
• Boss brings up the same issue again and again.
• The occurrence of negative feedbacks increases.
• You are always on the receiving end.
• You have received multiple warnings
#What to do
You should not be clueless, be very clear in your mind as to what are you expected to deliver. What metrics you have to achieve within what time duration.
In start-ups, it’s your performance which ranks your credibility. Communicate the steps you take to address the issue concerned. Tell your boss you value their feedback and are working to overcome the challenges.
In such situations, what matters is transparency and clarity, be it regarding your role, or expectations, pressure or responsibility.
Never Outshine Your Boss
Never try to strike directly on the go of your boss. It is not less than playing with fire. Even if there are no impulsive reactions, you will soon face the repercussions.
Some famous instances of ego clashes, indicating your weak standing at work are:
• In the recent season of Silicon Valley, Hooli’s CEO in his agitation promotes his employee to a new position. The desk is situated in the basement amidst the servers and maintenance workers.
• A significant dislocation in the work setting is indicative of a silent warning.
• When you start to flaunt yourself way too much.
#What to do
Fixing such clashes takes time. You can begin by contributing to the company’s goals, without playing dirty.
Give up power games and ego clashes. Make your work count, not by bragging but by simply demonstrating your contribution. Deal with bottlenecks peacefully.
Seek constant feedback from your boss. This would reinstate the fact that you are no longer striving to outshine him in his company.
It’s a feeling of pure awe to work in a startup, especially in your initial years of growth. Work hard and struggle, try to be an all-rounder. Always remember you are working more and more not just to accomplish someone else’s dream, but you are gaining a firsthand experience on someone else’s gamble.
Just keep your eyes wide open to understand such roadblocks before they become a hindrance to your growth.