When looking to build a team for your department, business or startup, your goal is to try and assemble and grow the strongest team you can.
Most great leaders and entrepreneurs are only able to do what they do because of the people they hire. It’s the reason Google, Apple and Facebook are constantly battling to attract the best hires – a good team makes a difference.
Here are 10 best practices for building and maintaining a great team:
1. Hire great people
Don’t hire the people that you think will listen the best, or won’t cause trouble – hire those that will be creative and push the limits. Your team will only be as ambitious as the people you put on it. Hire people smarter than you. Don’t be afraid of those people, make them part of your team.
2. Trust the team
You have to trust that you’ve hired the right people, and let them do their jobs. Don’t micromanage and constantly stand over their shoulder. It annoys the employee, and you have better things to do. Trust the team to do the job. Be there to support them and only check in from time to time.
3. Nurture talent
If you have talented people on your team, let them be talented. Nurture them. Help them grow. Let them be outside the box part of the time. It’s part of the reason for the Google 20 rule. Google allows employees to spend 20% of their time working on whatever it is they think will benefit the company most – no matter how farfetched it is. Nurture your team’s talent and it will benefit the business.
“In most cases being a good boss means hiring talented people and then getting out of their way.” – Mary Kay Ash
4. Value all ideas
Listen to everyone on the team. Include them in brainstorming processes and make sure you value all contributions. Encourage them to share and feel like they’re helping to build the company. When you value all ideas, you’ll find the team is much stronger.
5. Lead by example
Leading by example will help set the standard for the team. It pushes team members to better themselves, to meet your standard. It also shows them you’re not just leading the team, but that you’re part of the team. You’re helping move things forward. By setting the work ethic of the team yourself, you’re able to show the team what it takes on a day-to-day basis.
6. Teambuilding exercises
Teambuilding exercises have been around since the dawn of teams. They work. They help teams become more comfortable outside the work environment, so they can be more comfortable inside the work environment. When a team knows each other, understands each other, and communicates better, the team will function more as one unit, than several individuals.
7. Non-work communication
Recent studies have shown that teams do better when they’re allowed to have non-work related communication. This plays into the idea that as teams get more comfortable, and get to know each other better, there’s less friction as they understand where they’re coming from. Don’t shut down non-work talk. It can be mini team building that happens every day.
8. Create a diverse team
Hiring a diverse team makes for a stronger team. Don’t think that everyone on the team should have things in common or be cut from the same cloth. Diverse teams tend to do better. It brings different perspectives, ideas and solutions together that can really help make team really strong.
9. Trust the resume
When looking for new team members, trust the resume. If you can spot mistakes, that’s a bad sign. Mistakes are really easy prevent with so many articles that have resume tips for first time writers. A poorly designed or written resume is a sign they’ll make the same mistakes on the team. The resume should be the best they have to offer. If there are problems with it, expect problems when you hire them.
“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do. We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” – Steve Jobs
10. Show appreciation
Let the team know when they are performing well. Let them know they’re valuable. You’ll find a little appreciation can go a long way. Celebrate the little victories every day that team members think you don’t notice. This will go a long way to growing trust and making members feel like they’re a vital part of the team.
Hiring and nurturing teams isn’t always easy, but following the above practices will help you avoid costly mistakes. Don’t be afraid to tweak things as you go along. The worst thing you can do is double down on poor decisions. Hire a good team, treat them well, and you’ll be on your way.