The team you choose to work with is one of the most important decisions you can make as a business owner or leader. If you choose the right people, you’ll all soar together. On the other hand, one mismatched or toxic person can bring the team (and the project) down.
Fortunately, there are strategies you can use to make sure you put together the right team from the start.
Here are 12 proven tactics for building a better team:
Take On Staff Members Who Balance Your Weaknesses
Some business owners struggle to build an effective team because they’re afraid of working with someone who’s better. However, to build a great team, you NEED your staff to be better than you at certain core skills. Hire people who are specifically talented in areas where you struggle, and look for people who have strengths that you do not. Remember, you’re already on the team there’s no reason to hire a replica of yourself!
Look for Emotional IQ and Social Sensitivity
When recruiting for your team, look for candidates who demonstrate social sensitivity and emotional awareness - the ability to understand and manage both our own emotions and those around us. This also means being attuned to body language and nonverbal expressions of mood, such as frustration, anxiety, and discomfort. Research has shown that the ability to read others’ emotional states is vital to a team’s success.
Hire Analytical Thinkers to Complement Idea Thinkers
As a business owner, you’re probably a big-picture thinker and may find yourself most comfortable around that type of person. That said, a study from Carnegie Mellon University demonstrates how important it is to have analytical thinkers, detail-oriented and critical thinkers on the team as well. These folks know the specifics and can tell you when your “small change” to a project isn’t actually all that small at all.
Related Article: Hiring the Hero: 9 Traits to Look For in Successful Candidates
Employ Both Introverts and Extroverts
In entrepreneurship, introverts often get a bad rap, because they’re seen as less able to form the relationships needed for business growth. However, this isn’t the whole picture. Introverts often have their own unique qualities, such as being thoughtful, observant, and self-aware, that can benefit any team. Introverts may not make a splashy first impression, but studies shows that, over time, their status on the team increases and their value is undeniable.
Create a Truly Diverse Team
Too many companies respond to the call for diversity by having a single woman or one person of color on the team. Genuine diversity requires a diversity of different mindsets; entrepreneurs need to recognize that diversity of backgrounds and life experience means a diversity of ideas, perspectives, and opinions. And a diverse team naturally results in the diverse set of skills needed to find creative solutions to the challenges your business will ultimately face.
Hire for Fit as Well as Skills
Many growing companies make the mistake of bringing someone on who has great skills but is a poor fit for the culture of the company. As you build your team, remember that skills can be taught - but attitude, enthusiasm, and drive cannot.
Consider Remote Teams
While managing a remote team can be a challenge, it can often outperform an on-site team if you take the time to put the right systems in place. If you clearly communicate members’ value and make use of great task coordination and communication tools, you’ll benefit from more satisfied workers who are willing and able to perform tasks that an on-site team may not.
Related Article: Millennials In the Workplace: How Will They Affect Hiring?
Scout for Team Members Before You Need Them
When you’re in a time crunch and need someone NOW, you run the risk of scrambling to hire and making poor staffing decisions. By scouting out top talent before you need it, you’ll know exactly who to contact when an opening appears, resulting in a much better chance of getting the fit you need.
Conduct Effective Team Building
Research from Citrix shows that 31% of office workers say they absolutely cannot stand team-building exercise (and if you’ve had to sit through some of these truly awful experiences, you may be one such person yourself). However, a connected team is far more effective, and the American Psychological Association has found that team building often helps staff members feel valued and motivated. Try volunteering events, field trips, or shared meals over the traditional (and sometimes cheesy) team-building exercises.
Try Remote Brainstorming
Studies have shown that the dynamics of in-person brainstorming generally make the process unproductive for great idea creation. Instead, try remote brainstorming. Have each team member take some time alone, either in the office or out, and then email or message the leader their ideas. You’ll get better ideas in less time.
Generate Opportunities for Non-Work Communication
A study from MIT shows that communication during non-work, informal meetings is a strong predictor of how successful a team will be. While not everyone on your team has to become best friends, opportunities for non-work communication, such as lunches or parties, will help your team bond and become more effective.
One of the greatest keys to a successful team is encouragement. When you recognize the accomplishments of your team members and let them know that their contributions are valued, they’ll perform better, leading to stronger overall growth for your business.
Creating a great team isn’t easy, but these 12 tactics should make the process much more manageable. When you have the right team, with the right people on the bus, anything is possible for your company.