Energy at a startup is critical. It is reinforced by product launches, customer milestones, press recognition and so on. But at its core, the energy must come from you and your team. Your employees are working against all odds as startup employees, putting in long hours to hit tough deadlines and operate within an all-around stressful environment. For your employees, the right attitude is paramount. As they say in the sports world, working at a startup is 90% mental and only 10% physical. The startup game is a marathon, one that requires of its leaders and employees the right attitude to survive, much less thrive. When hiring, talent is important, but attitude is everything.
So what does attitude look like? No, you don’t need to see bright teeth and smiles 24 hours a day. But a positive outlook and demeanor is essential. You want a person with demonstrated mental toughness; someone who remains resolute in the face of obstacles. Startups need people who can handle tough times and stressful days and still keep their eyes on the prize.
The impact of the right outlook on an employee’s work results is apparent. Attitude gets things done when things get tough. Attitude keeps people moving when adversity arises, as it does often for a budding company. Attitude keeps employees alive at times when hope seems lost. It’s a dramatic picture, yes, but startup life is not all excitement and games. It’s difficult work under stressful conditions, tight deadlines, unanticipated changes and responsibilities across multiple fronts.
A single employee’s attitude impacts more than just their own work. Each employee contributes to the state of the team as a whole. Morale reflects the culture, and one person with the wrong attitude can make an impact all around. Employees contribute their energy to the whole as well as take from the whole, so putting the right people in place is important. Employees value talent in their team members, but value a positive environment even more.
The attributes of experience and integrity are all a vital part of the startup employee recipe, but will mean very little without the right mindset to accompany them. When an employee has the right attitude, it will be reflected in the morale of the team, the work they do and the things they create. It’s why cultural fit is so important, why passion is a nessecity and why, when working at a startup, attitude is everything.