How Customer Success Managers Can Avoid Dysfunction within Startups

How Customer Success Managers Can Avoid Dysfunction within Startups

One of the key indicators of a successful organization is unity among its various branches and departments. When different teams are able to work cohesively, the company operates as a single unit that is effortlessly able to meet its goals and objectives. This cohesiveness promotes a healthy work environment where everybody knows that their input is crucial to the organization.

Think of an ant colony. As individuals, ants are inconsequential. But as a colony, they are one of the most formidable living forces on the planet. And this comes from one simple fact; every ant knows its role and goes on to do it.

Customer success managers are innately aware of this, but often have a hard time bringing together their dysfunctional teams towards a common goal. Part of the problem, however, is that most managers react to situations rather than proactively taking charge of their teams(s).

Most startups barely make it through their first year due to this issue. Employees are not aware of their precise roles in the organization. This leads to dysfunctional teams that cannot get anything done. As such, the startup is unable to meet a planned budget, stay on schedule, adhere to specifications, meet customer expectations, and maintain alignment with the business’s goals. The following are tips to overcoming dysfunction in your startup.

1. Assume Responsibility

As the leader, you must take full responsibility for the team’s mission. You must invest time and energy into uncovering the best strategies that leverage your team’s full potential. Often, the reasons behind dysfunction are both identifiable and treatable. Fortunately, there is an abundance of technologies that allow managers to surface the roots of the dysfunctions so they can analyze them. Smart solutions can convert complex matters into simple understanding to help managers address the obstacles to effective teamwork.

Using clear, data-driven insight from solutions such as customer success, managers can spur growth, eliminate guesswork, and make educated decisions based on facts rather than assumptions.

2. Teach Emotional Intelligence

Your knowledge and expertise are what allow you to be good at your job. However, it is emotional intelligence that enables you to be part of a team. An individual with high emotional intelligence is more empathetic and thus, willing to look at and understand the perspectives of others.

Emotional intelligence eliminates friction within teams hence eliminating dysfunction. As a leader, it is your responsibility to cultivate emotional intelligence within your organization. Develop these interpersonal skills then pass them on to your team members.

3. Provide Learning Opportunities

As the startup continues to grow, each member’s responsibilities become increasingly demanding and/or complex. As such, the level of skill required for the job increases as well. For most employees, this is an intimidating prospect as they begin to fear that they might not be up to the task. This results in dysfunction as team members are not able to pool their resources (skills) effectively to realize the set goals.

To avoid this, it is important to provide routine training programs that are geared towards making your employees better at their jobs. Doing this will increase their confidence and thus, creating a willingness to take on the set objectives.

4. Offer Feedback

Feedback is valuable for two reasons; it encourages good behavior and discourages bad behavior. As such, ensure to constantly give feedback on both positive and not-so-good actions. However, when giving negative feedback, be careful to criticize the action and not the person. This will allow them to change how they perform their job rather than feel like a victim. Positive feedback lets individuals know that their roles are valuable and appreciated by the entire company. Also, let everyone know that their feedback is appreciated so they can air any issues they might have.

Customer success managers have the incredibly difficult job of bringing everyone together to work as a cohesive unit. While it might be hard, it is not impossible; utilize the above tips to drive your startup to success.

Author Bio: Douglas Pitassi is a freelance writer and small business blogger.

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