Who doesn’t want to be surrounded by a team of amazing professionals? The reality is that actually building a dream team takes incredible resolve and focus. It also takes a knack, a bit of the intangible but above all, a passion. Very few people actually succeed at building the envy of all teams. If it were a matter of following five easy steps, then everyone would do it! But for some, these steps come naturally.
Step 1: Be A Part of Your Industry Community
People who are active and passionate about what they do tend to meet and attract the company of others like them. They have an insatiable appetite for consuming the thought leadership. They publish, interact and participate. They involve others from the industry in what they’re doing, bring them in to consult, meet the team, brainstorm, seek mentorships, offer to mentor and in the course of doing so, naturally surround themselves with amazing talent.
Step 2: Be Selective in Your Hiring
Candidates who are most qualified on paper aren’t always in reality. Many people fail upwards. Get to know your candidates and let your trusted team members do the same. Look for entrepreneur qualities that are well balanced with strong teamwork and leadership. Look for people who are passionate but can debate reasonably, respectfully and keep their egos in check. Look for people who want to listen and learn. Trust your gut, but put the work in first to vet them out. It will save you hassles down the road and show your team that you take seriously whom you choose to work alongside them and you.
Step 3: Never Stop Growing and Developing Team Members
Make sure that you place equal passion into developing your team members. This starts on day one. Know what they really want to do, what their passion is. Discover talents they may not showcase and continually seek opportunities for them to learn and prove themselves. Let them experience and try things. Encourage and facilitate the sharing of ideas and information and the publishing of thought leadership. Provide mentorships. Provide guidance on paths to success and, should they fail, help them discover opportunities for improvement.
Step 4: Be Decisive and Make Hard Decisions
Not every hire works out. If you sense that someone is not a fit make the tough decision and let them go. Do so correctly and respectfully, but do so swiftly. Your team will appreciate it. If your team feels that you’re letting the weak link hang around for too long, then they’ll start to feel undervalued, resentful, and potentially apathetic. Lastly, don’t ever, EVER, hold onto someone who’s bad for the team but great for business. Read Robert Sutton’s book, “The No Asshole Rule.” And here’s why Forbes agrees that you should read it.
Step 5: Be the Best Manager They’ve Ever Had
It’s not a competition, but a goal and as such, it guides how you focus your efforts on your team members. While this is similar to Step 3, the distinction here is that it’s a mindset more so than just facilitating growth and development. Set clear expectations and hold your team accountable. Be hard on problems, soft on people. Be respectful, available, honest, transparent and fair. Treat them as you’d want them to treat your clients. Listen and solicit ideas. Be genuine and sincere. Be appropriately patient and optimistic. Be mindful not to distract your team with tough realities that they may not need to know and shield them from details that don’t provide value. And again, because it warrants repeating—be fair.
You’ll notice that nowhere in this article do I discuss pay, benefits, incentives, etc. Those are details which, when approached with these five steps in mind, will sort themselves out. Potential employees will naturally seek top compensation, but the people who truly comprise a dream team don’t place compensation as a top priority other than being able to take care of themselves and their dependents. The people you want will care more about the company, the team, the culture and the opportunities. If your top candidate seems to focus the most on compensation, remember Step 2!