Build the right team to achieve your company’s growth goals with these 3 key leadership skills.
To build the right team, a leader must be able to attract, select, and form teams with diverse styles and perspectives, and foster productive, collaborative teamwork. The goal is to build a team in which every team member knows, understands, and is committed to the organization’s success. Building and maintaining such a team is not easy; it takes preparation and commitment. You must begin with having the right people on your team through an effective hiring process. Then, you must be able to retain those employees and keep them engaged, focused, committed, and motivated through recognition and continued development.
Hiring the Right Talent
Building the right team starts with attracting and hiring the right team members. A Gallup study found that companies fail to choose the job candidate with the right talent for the position 82 percent of the time. Yet, this is perhaps the most important decision that leaders need to make. To be successful in today’s fast-paced, customer-centric business environment, companies must have the right employees who love what they do.
A wise leader will pursue candidates who come from different backgrounds and have diverse styles, perspectives, and strengths, while also having a personality that will integrate well with the culture of the organization. Of course, your candidate also needs to have the technical skills and experience to be able to perform the duties assigned to the role with excellence. These are aspects that often can be assessed from résumés and references. But how does a manager make an educated decision about the candidate’s drive or ability to think critically and solve problems strategically? How can a manager assess the candidate’s level of emotional intelligence and ability to work well with the rest of the team?
The interview plays a critical role in answering these questions and making the best determination if the candidate is the right fit; however, the interview process is only as effective as the questions that are asked. This is why behavior-based questions are so popular among hiring managers. Behavior-based questions help you identify if the candidate has the soft skills required to perform the job well. These questions do not waste time with hypothetical inquiries. Rather, they help you understand in detail how candidates acted in specific situations.
Behavior-based questions usually begin with “Tell me about a time when…” or “Tell me about…” When you ask the candidate to talk about a specific type of experience, make sure to align the rest of the questions around the key competencies you are hiring for. Some examples of commonly used behavior-based questions include:
- Tell me about a goal you set that you did not reach. What steps did you take? What obstacles did you encounter?
- Give an example of how you handled a difficult situation with a customer.
- Tell me about something new or different you initiated that improved productivity. What was the impact and how did you measure it?
- Tell me about one of the toughest groups you have had to work with. What made it difficult? What did you do?
- Give me an example of a time you had to adjust quickly to changes over which you had no control. What was the impact of the change on you?
Using an interviewing panel, rather than one-on-one interviews, is another good hiring practice. Interviewing panels eliminate the tendency for candidates to be asked the same question multiple times, and also allow the interviewers the advantage of hearing and seeing the candidate’s responses to others’ questions.
Each interviewer on the panel should be assigned a specific selection of questions to ask prior to the interview. You may decide to split up the questions based on how the candidate will be interacting with the other members of the interviewing panel, or you might break them into more functional sections, such as leadership key competencies, values, and technical skills specific to the job.
An Interview Competency Evaluation Form helps facilitate and organize the interview-by-panel process. At the end of the interview, the panelists complete their evaluation form and report on their feedback during a debrief meeting facilitated by the hiring manager or human resources manager.
Interviewing is a key component to building the right team in your organization, but it is only the beginning. Once you have found the right candidate, on-boarding is the next component that lays the groundwork for the entire employee-employer relationship dynamic. On-boarding produces higher employee engagement, retention, and an understanding of roles within the organization. It also infuses your employees with your organization’s culture, the “why we do what we do,” and builds the groundwork for why they should care. A great on-boarding process includes four components: prelaunch, administrative, organizational, and technical.
Your goal in hiring the right talent is finding team members who are competent, committed, and collaborative contributors. Hiring the right talent is just the first step to building the right team.
Building a team that can communicate, collaborate, and coordinate effectively is complicated by the diversity of generations that exist in the average workplace. However, leaders who understand and engage generational expectations, perspectives, and opportunities will distance their teams ahead of competitors.
No matter where you are in the world, what industry you are in, or what kind of organization you are in, you are part of the biggest demographic shift the workplace has ever seen. We used to have two generations, maybe three, in the workplace. It is now common for managers to be supervising four generations on the same team. In today’s labor market, building the right team includes being able to harness the potential of employees ranging in age from 18 to 70.
Baby Boomers are living and working longer than those in past generations, while at the same time Generation Yers have entered the workplace in such numbers that they outnumber both the Boomers and the Gen X employees. Technology has changed so quickly in recent decades that each of these generations work and communicate very differently from each other. Gen Zers, those born between 1996 and 2015, are now just being introduced to the workforce. Managing this multigenerational workforce introduces a new and unique set of challenges and you will need the ability to motivate, engage, and communicate with each of these generations. Perhaps most importantly, you must be able to draw on each of their strengths.
Because generational groups around the world experience many of the same formative experiences, especially in terms of economic, parenting, and educational trends, they come into the workplace with very similar expectations, a similar outlook, and with similar ways of getting work done. No matter what their expectations or work habits are, each generation has their own set of strengths that make them an important, relevant part of your team.
Whereas managers tend to focus on the differences between the generations, ones who build the right team know how to harness the strengths of the different generations present on the team. The best way to manage a multigenerational team and engage them to perform better is to focus on the values that they share and the ways in which the strengths of one can balance the opportunities in others.
One of the ways you can do this is through multigenerational mentoring. People often think about mentoring in terms of more experienced individuals mentoring younger employees, but the fact is that nearly everyone has something that can be shared to help improve the skills of others. For this reason, fostering collaborative, multigenerational mentoring relationships is important for the development of your team.
Organizing & Developing Teams
Building a team that excels together requires ongoing development and leadership. Great teams are aligned on team goals and how those goals tie into the organization’s vision, mission, and strategy. Everyone on a great team understands how he or she adds value to the team and works to help others on the team succeed. Team members understand that if the team succeeds, they succeed.
Great teams are developed when team members can communicate openly and share ideas. They are also able to give and receive feedback both laterally and vertically; they are more concerned about the usefulness of the feedback than the source. Common goals and open communication feed a culture of cooperation and productivity. Team members can connect individual performance to team success and team success to organization vision.
This is achieved by involving the team members in the development of the team goals. Once the team goals are established, it is key to ensure that every team member commits to the goals. Each team member must define and share how he or she will contribute to reaching these goals.
Poor performance by one or a few individuals can be detrimental, but the effect of talented individuals working individually rather than as a team can produce the same negative energy and obstruct the potential that could occur by the team working together.
Developing your team members is as important to your organization’s success as it is to the individual’s success. Development happens in many ways that challenge people to venture outside their comfort zones to learn something new or do things that may require adapting to group dynamics. Effective leaders adopt a long-term approach to developing the individuals on the team to ensure team cohesion. One-on-one time grooming individuals can also prime the organization with a pipeline of management or leadership-ready people who can step in and fill gaps as the organization grows.
Building the right team starts with being an adaptive leader who builds bridges and inserts employees into positions that best match their strengths. You must facilitate communication and help individual members align. If you do this in a way that focuses on shared values and encourages mutually beneficial interactions, you can turn individuals into a unified, productive team.
Building the right team is not a one-time event, it includes hiring, organizing, and developing a team that is committed to working together to achieve the organization’s vision. The right team can execute the organization’s strategy through values-based coordination, communication, and collaboration.
Core Competency: Builds the Right Team
Attracts, selects, and forms teams with diverse styles and perspectives. Fosters productive and collaborative teamwork and a sense of belonging for team members.
Builds the Right Team Skills
- Hiring the Right Talent: Attracts and selects high-caliber talent to best meet the needs of the organization
- Multigenerational Leadership: Understands and values the importance of a generationally diverse workforce with different perspectives and working styles
- Organizing and Developing Teams: Establishes common goals and creates a collaborate sense of belonging team environment
The Leader’s Toolkit: Try this to improve how you Build the Right Team
Hold a team retreat and define a team charter. This charter would include:
- Purpose: What is the purpose of this team? How does this team add value to the organization?
- Communication: How often does the team meet? Channel of communication?
- Conflict Resolution: How does the team resolve conflicts?
- Quality: How does the team measure quality?
Ensure that the team members get to know each other and understand each other’s working style and strengths. Develop a team identity, celebrate wins, and solve issues together. Ensure that everyone on the team has a voice and feels valued.