The smaller the company, the more different things you will be challenged to do. Some, most probably, will be outside your profissional competences. As such, some may not feel comfortable in such a multidisciplinary environment.
Which leads me to the question..
Which soft skills are required?
At Adapttech, for example, we are still a small team and it's very common to have colleagues from different fields helping each other. Hell, I am a Lead Developer, but many times you'll find me soldering micro-electronic components, helping assemble our laser scanner... (and even writing blog posts!).
I do it with joy, because it's really fun to get out of my safety zone and learn/do new things.
Look forward to new challenges
So, in my opinion, the most important thing is the desire to be challenged! That's a personal trait you don't find in everyone, having the drive and motivation to move forward when challenged with something that you have never done.
I also believe this is really helpful in understanding the challenges other "departments" have to tackle as well. By knowing their turf, you are making yourself aware of how to best prepare your work to connect with theirs, and that, in a small company, is key to make things flow!
Which leads to me to the second trait I find most important...
If you are not a curious person, you will not have the drive to check and learn what your colleagues are doing.. And if you don't know what they do, how can you work effectively with them?
In a small company, such as ours, everyone needs to know what the others are doing, and speak the same language. Using an ubiquitous language is super important for everyone to communicate effectively.
For that language to grow, the overall knowledge of the team also needs to grow. And it grows by asking questions and being interested in what others do.
And third and last personal trait I value most...
Don't be an asshole
Respect other teams work.. Never think your work is more important than theirs. First, that's extremely arrogant on your part; second, only the absolute essencial teams exist in a startup. That means that if they work along side you, they are as important as you are, even if you think differently.
If your colleagues from electronics need help, try and find time to help them; if your colleagues from sales need help, you do the same. If the cleaning lady needs help, go ahead!
And you can always think that your personal work may be getting a bit behind, but remember that most likely the whole company is moving forward... faster.
That said, from a Lead Developer perspective, always try to give that extra something. Everyone will be happier at the end of the day, and the team will grow stronger.
If you liked this post, get to know how we created our team!