Building Great Teams

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The team is the engine that moves the product to the market. A team that is well oiled is often unstoppable. Every member understands where the product is headed and should be excited about the role they play in taking it there.

You are the driver. You are at the wheel making sure everything stays on course. To be an effective driver, you need the right tools. You need to understand how to build the engine, keep it oiled, and improve it.

Assembling the Team

This one is tough. Really tough. It can often be born from necessity instead of good planning. Your employees come to you saying there is too much work and not enough people. In a panic you quickly hire someone and think, “Crisis averted!” Maybe not.

When hiring new team members you must know what you are looking for before you start looking. Within this idea there are two primary categories you must define:

  1. What is the technical profile the candidate must meet?
  2. Will the personality of the candidate compliment the team?

The first question is usually easy. The second question is tough. It requires you to have a thorough understanding of your current team, the candidate, and how the two will interact. The trap is in thinking that hiring a clone army is the answer. It’s not. Try to hire new employees who will diversify your team while simultaneously complimenting it.

Caring for the Team

One of your primary roles as a manager is to understand your employee’s needs by regularly engaging with them one on one. It is important you understand they have a wide range of needs. Some of these issues could be small (office temperature) and some could be big (career stagnation). No matter if the issue is big or small, it is your job to seek out that employee and set aside time to listen to them. Sometimes you can help and sometimes you can’t. But always seek to understand.

Helping the Team Grow

It is your job to help every member of your team aspire to be better tomorrow than they are today. As you engage them one on one, ask what their goals and ambitions are. If they don’t have any, encourage them to develop some. In either case, fear is often the hurdle standing in their way. Fear of failure, fear of the unknown and fear of change are some of the manifestations that can prevent your team from growing. Help them overcome these roadblocks by:

  1. Identifying what their fears are.
  2. Continually encouraging them to confront those fears.

You might have to live in the encouragement period for some time. Keep at it, but don’t overwhelm them. Be sure to let them know you support them regardless if they take the next step or not. Understand that it is difficult for people to go towards the things that scare them. Your goal is to let them know that you believe they can succeed. In time, they will come to believe this too.

What are some things you do to strengthen the teams you are a part of? Let me know in the comments below!

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