When it comes to getting a new venture off the ground, a sense of collective ownership is vital — but it’s not always clear how founders should go about fostering that shared ownership in their teams. In this piece, the authors describe recent research that looked at how different types of leaders attempt to cultivate a sense of ownership in their people, ultimately concluding that a careful balance between delegation and dictation is most likely to be effective. They go on to suggest that the best way founders can keep their teams engaged and their businesses on track is by proactively deciding which elements of their idea are open for discussion, and which are fixed — and then clearly communicating those distinctions to everyone involved.

Many promising new ventures struggle to get off the ground because their founders fail to cultivate a sense of collective ownership — a feeling that the venture idea is “ours,” and not just the founder’s — in their teams. When teams feel ownership of an idea, they are more collaborative, they take more risks, and they make more personal sacrifices to support the shared goal — and when there’s a lack of ownership, team members quickly become demotivated and unproductive. So what can founders do to foster that all-important sense of collective ownership?

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