February 21, 2023

243: Lessons Learned from Building a Strong Team Environment with Abhishek Nayak

A positive workplace culture can be the difference between a thriving and barely surviving team; between people staying because they love their job and people eagerly searching to work somewhere else. When managers create an environment that is welcoming, trusting, and encourages creativity and feedback, people will find more overall satisfaction in their work. But how does a manager actually create this type of culture, especially on remote teams?

Today’s guest is Abhishek Nayak. As a co-founder and CEO of four startups, one of which was funded by Sequoia Capital, Abhishek is well-versed in the art of starting and scaling a business. But during a stint as an entrepreneur-in-residence at Accel, he discovered how much time engineers spend building internal applications, so he and two co-founders created Appsmith to put customizable app tools directly into developers’ hands. The once-small, open-source project is now used by over 10,000 teams, employs people in sixteen countries, and has raised over $51 million in capital.

Abishek and I talk about how he’s built an incredible team and culture for his fully remote business. He shares the lessons he’s learned and steps he’s taken to support his people along the journey from a small co-located team, through the disruption of COVID, to a fully remote, global company with over 120 employees.

Members of the Modern Manager community get a Template and Guidelines for Requesting Feedback. This internal document is used by Appsmith to guide employee feedback. Outlining feedback guidelines and questions for specific feedback outcomes, this resource can help any manager give and receive more valuable feedback. Get it when you join the Modern Manager community.

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Read the related blog article: Do These Five Things to Effectively Manage a Remote Team


Website: Appsmith.com

Twitter: twitter.com/arey_abhishek

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/abhisheknayak/

Email: abhishek@appsmith.com

Key Takeaways:

  • Know the advantages of remote work, including more focus time, a larger talent pool, and better customer service availability.
  • Invest in technology that provides the ability to virtually collaborate and takes advantage of the benefits of virtual work such as anonymous input and democratized participation in meetings.
  • If possible, help your team members set up a home office or provide a stipend for an office co-working space.
  • Give your team members autonomy, and hire for self-directedness.
  • Let your staff choose projects they enjoy and set their own deadlines. Review their plans and check in regularly to ensure accountability.
  • Discuss post-project what could have been done differently to foster additional accountability and long-term continuous improvement.
  • Create an atmosphere of honesty by being receptive to your team’s dissenting or critical feedback. Share publicly when feedback has changed your mind.
  • Your organization is an organism that is constantly evolving. With each new team member, expect the dynamics to shift.
  • Observe your teammates’ communication and cultural style to understand ways to create a more accepting culture.



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