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Challenge: Back to School 2021

Building A Strong Team: Tips from Teen Entrepreneurs

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As I navigate the growth of WIT and work towards bringing new people on the team, I find myself thinking about lessons learned from past hires. Over the past 10+ years it’s been a mix of incredible hires and ones I wish I could forget.

But, I don’t want to focus on the negative. Instead I want to focus on what I’ll do differently this time around. So, for inspiration I decided to turn to a few teen entrepreneurs to get their tips around how to create a great and productive team.


Shared Goal + Vision

Everyone I connected with felt like ultimately there should be a shared team vision and goal that motivates everyone to do their part and share in the wins. Sejal Verma, co-founder of Maytik, shared that she focuses on “playing to the strengths of my team members and delegating tasks based on those strengths.” She also shared that doesn’t hesitate in vocalizing her appreciation for everyone, “I voice my appreciation. People want to hear what they are doing well.”

Khushi Gupta, founder of With Passion agrees with not only sharing praise but listening, too, “It isn’t a race of who is doing it better, it’s about staying open to the creative ideas and goals of my team members.” Gupta also believes that supporting her teammates and helping them when they are stuck is essential to building trust, “it’s so important that your team members know that you care about them.”

Delegate + Be Clear

Barrett Deng, co-founder of Clore, shared that one of the most important things he does with his partner Sebastien Burkhardt, is to delegate tasks and “utilize clear communication on Slack with specific guidelines so we can avoid misunderstanding and errors. We want to be as productive as possible.” He also makes sure time is set aside at meetings to make everyone feel welcomed and “comfortable with sharing different ideas so we can get to creative solutions for problems and focus on productive discussions.”

Simerus Mahesh, co-founder of Talkhappi, sees every member of the team as responsible for the success of the business. He also agrees with Deng’s focus on communication, “each person on the team must be going in the same direction, otherwise, the team's progress is at stake. This is why it's very important to clarify overarching goals, roles, and responsibilities as they will dictate how fast and effective a team will be able to progress.”

Share The Struggles

The founder of Gifted Seams, Claire Su, shared in depth about the importance of leaders talking openly about setbacks, “this type of transparency builds trust and also encourages people to be more open in sharing any struggles they’re having.” She believes that when leaders do this it makes it possible for other team members to share struggles and provide feedback or solutions. Su is also a big believer in the positive impact of monthly brainstorming sessions where all team members are encouraged to share new ideas without fear of judgment or intense critique.

After getting all this input and inspiration from these teen entrepreneurs, I’m once again reminded that age is just a number. These young leaders are helping me become a better and more effective leader. I hope they inspire you, too!

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