Hiring a great team for your business is no different than a coach selecting the best athlete for each position on a sports team. You have to find the players—or the employees—with the right combination of skills, experiences, and attitudes for each role.
There’s a reason a football coach can’t put 11 running backs, 11 wide receivers, or 11 quarterbacks on the field though. A football team needs different skill sets for each position. The same is true in business. You need the right attitudes and experiences combined with unique skill sets to establish your high-performing team.
Desirable Soft Skills for All Teams
Specific, technical skills are important, but there are a few key soft skills that the best teams share, starting with the mindset to learn and grow. Industries are rapidly changing, and the skills people need to do their jobs are changing even faster. New technologies, new markets, and new possibilities require constant learning. It’s impossible for leaders to keep up with it all, so you need a team that’s willing to continually learn, grow, and evolve to stay current.
Another characteristic of great teams is active participation within the organization. You want people on your team who understand that the best way for them to reach their career goals, and the organization’s goals, is to be a team player. Think about brainstorming sessions. Do your team members join in? Or do they just want to be told what to do? As you assemble your team, look for people who challenge themselves (and others) as they actively engage in their work.
Attitudes to Monitor on Your Team
Great leaders recognize that you can’t put anyone into a single box, but they know most personalities can fit into broader categories. Every team will encounter seven different attitudes that can be detrimental to your organization if they’re not managed appropriately. Watch out for these seven perspectives:
- “I can handle it all.” They believe they can control everything, and they hesitate to accept help from others. Extreme independence disrupts collaboration, trust, and respect.
- “The world is coming to an end.” They project negativity; they’re pessimists. They treat everything as a crisis, and their negative attitude tends to bring the entire team down.
- “Everything is perfect.” They use unfettered optimism to hide their fear of failure. They desperately try to fix problems on their own—often unsuccessfully.
- “I’m afraid to piss anyone off.” They’re driven by fear of conflict. They don’t bring up issues or concerns because they want everyone to like them.
- “I’m quiet until the meeting is over.” They don’t speak up. They separate themselves from the team by staying quiet during meetings and then sharing feedback and opinions privately. They’re the opposite of a team player.
- “This is the way I’ve always done it.” They refuse to push themselves to learn, try new things, or handle situations differently than they have in the past. They’re unwilling to change.
- “I know best.” They believe their ideas are best, and they’re unable to be objective about their own work. They ignore feedback and input from others.
These attitudes present challenges, but that’s not to say you shouldn’t hire them. Rather, if you notice any of these attitudes on your team, be prepared to coach these individuals to shift their mindsets.
How to Lead Challenging Personalities
One way to lead difficult attitudes is to ask strategic questions. Encourage your team to come to resolutions themselves rather than telling them what to do. Leaders must ask questions to help their team members understand their mistakes, but more importantly, leaders should ask questions to help them improve their skills and change their attitudes, so mistakes don’t happen again.
The other thing that works with difficult personalities is sharing experiences. When you’re dealing with difficult attitudes, share your own experiences as a leader. Describe how you’ve successfully dealt with similar situations in the past or, better yet, remind them of how the team has overcome challenges in the past. This usually alleviates some stress.
The Right Mix of People for Your Team
Hiring a great team is like chemistry; it’s finding the right mix of people to create something bigger than its parts. You want a mix of personalities and attitudes that balance and challenge one another. Finding the optimal combination is up to you.
Questions to Consider
- Are your team members focused on the WE, or are some more concerned with the ME?
- Do you have any challenging personalities on your team? How do you manage them?
- Does your team work collectively to push one another, and you, toward the best outcome?
If you’d like to discuss how to hire a great team for your organization, contact me. I’d love to help you understand the personalities on your team, develop your leadership skills, and assemble a high-performing team.