When you are at a point in your career when you are building, or developing a team, there are many factors that will contribute to how successful your team will be.
One of these success factors has to do with who you had the privilege of being mentored by as you were coming up the ranks. If you were fortunate enough to have an emotionally intelligent and common-sense oriented boss/mentor, consider yourself fortunate. If your boss/mentor also had mastered being empathetic, and was able to coach you through tough business scenarios, consider yourself to be in an elite group of managers.
What if your former bosses were not skilled people or motivational leaders? How do you learn these skills to build and develop exceptional, performing teams?
There still are ways you can obtain the experience to model after the ideal people leaders who build strong teams.
One of the ways you can do this is to identify a manager within your organization who you or others admire for the management qualities they have, and which you are drawn to learning from.
Since this person is not your leader, you will need to be creative in terms of how you can learn from them, but there is a simple solution to this conundrum. Simply ask them if you can meet with them once per week for about 30 minutes to learn from them.
Assuming they say yes, be sure to have questions to ask, and a well thought-through agenda. Ideally, share your agenda with your chosen mentor(s) prior to the meeting to give them some time to prepare.
You can also ask to shadow them, after you have built up enough time with them to move to this level of leadership mentoring. Depending on the size of your company, find out if there is a management training track available.
Typically, only companies with 250 or more employees will have this type of set-up.
I have been pleasantly surprised by much smaller and innovative companies who see the value of having a management rotation process in place. If your company has a rotational management process, inquire about how you can participate, as some companies will require you to apply, and others will identify you for their program.
For those of you who are already leading a team, how do you know you have the right team in place? I pose this question due to the fact it is not always possible to build your team from scratch. You will often be adopting a team to manage versus building one. For those of you who have adopted teams to manage, you still have an opportunity to treat the team as if you are building it out from scratch. I have done this on a number of occasions. The best way to accomplish this is to take your team off-site for a minimum of one day, but two days is ideal.
During your off-site, let the members know you want to re-establish the team as if it were new, and you that to get everyone on board.
Check out about leveraging StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath and his concept of identifying each team members top five strengths as the basis for doing a team reset.
Find or assign a facilitator to take you through exercises derived from knowing what the team member’s top strengths are. Doing this will give the team an opportunity to get to know each other much differently and in a way which will level set everyone’s basis for better understanding how to leverage each member’s strengths differently going forward.
If you are in a position to hire a team from scratch, consider yourself fortunate, as this opportunity does not come up often in most people’s careers.
For those in the majority of the business population, who will only be hiring two to six people for their team, here are six high-level guidelines for helping you to hire the right people.
- Making sure the person you are bringing onto your team fits into your corporate and team culture is critical. Make sure everyone on the team has a chance to interview the candidate. If the vote to hire the person is not unanimous, then the candidate will not be offered the role. Developing hiring consensus is one of the best ways to accelerate the on-boarding process for the new team member.
- Check the references of the person you are hiring, and ask really tough questions. Too many people skip over this important step in the process. You might be surprised by what you learn – both good and bad about the candidate.
- When possible, ask the candidate to come in to shadow your team for half a day. You and the candidate will learn much more about each other this way, and it will give each of you an opportunity to test drive the potential experience of working together.
- Coordinate with your team on what questions you will be asking the candidate. It is a waste of time for your team and the candidate to have to answer the same questions over and over again.
- Debrief with your team after each person has interviewed the candidate. Include your recruitment manager in the process, if you are fortunate enough to have one. Some companies have a process for you to input your feedback about the candidate into an online system, but if you do not have one, you can improvise and provide everyone who interviews the candidate with a series of questions. Since some interview processes can drag on for weeks, being able to look back on the team interview feedback will be helpful.
- Trust your gut. Even if the person looks perfect on paper and interviews like a pro, if your gut tells you there is something not right about this candidate, trust your instincts, as they are often spot on.
Of course, there are no guarantees in life, but if you follow some or most of these guidelines, you will have a far greater chance of building and having the ideal team in place to help one another to becoming an amazing team to lead.
Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CMO of Market Me Too. Market Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon.
Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis.
If you want better results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at firstname.lastname@example.org or (339) 987-0195.