Failure is hard. But a lot of times founders make it harder for themselves by not being open about their & the startup’s struggles with their team till it’s too late. By nature founders are ever-optimists about overcoming their challenges, so wouldn’t like to spook the team needlessly. And they also would like to project an image of being in control. A feeling of being judged isn’t great. But an opaqueness about the startup’s fortunes slowly gets ingrained in the culture and the ‘team’ turns into ‘employees’.
There are so many examples from startup founders of their teams having gone above & beyond their call of duty in tough times. When death seemed imminent, those teams displayed immense creativity, took on orthogonal responsibilities, created opportunities to extend the runway, and in some cases eventually helped save the startup.
Being a founder is a lonely job. Make it easier for yourself by partnering with your team and not just by leading them. It’s in the culture.
Also btw, if your startup has less than 3 months of runway left, you owe it to your team to sit them down and share it with them today.