10 Traits You Need to Make It as a Startup Employee

Here are 10 critical traits that startup employees should possess, develop and nurture for success

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You know before you accept a startup job, it’s going to take grit. High-growth, fast-paced startups are dynamic and challenging in nature. In other words, someone who crushed it at their 50,000-employee, publicly traded organization might feel underwater at a Series B company (and vice versa). So, what do you look for in a startup candidate? Which traits do you nurture so your employees can grow and flourish?

If you’re new to the wild world of startups, I’m here to be your guide. I’ve completed 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 critical traits that employees should possess, develop and nurture. Do you know what it takes to succeed? Find out now.

Related: 4 Essential Skills Needed to Thrive As a Startup Employee

Traits you need to thrive in a fast-paced environment

Startups are made from scratch. That means when you accept a job, you’re also accepting uncertainty, fluidity and regular pivots. In order to succeed in this type of environment, employees need to spike high in the following areas:

  1. Ambiguity tolerance: Does the phrase “gray area” give you stress or energy? It’s imperative that  are not only comfortable with ambiguous situations but see them as desirable, interesting and a chance to solve complex or novel problems.
  2. Flexibility: Being flexible is essential for startup employees. They’ll be asked to pivot frequently, and they need to do so without anger and resentment. They also need to be comfortable owning multiple tasks or lanes of work — some of which might be outside the scope of their role.

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