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Often, when building a team, a leader’s employee selection methods are limited by the desire to fill positions with like-minded people. It’s easier that way. Like-minded people tend to think and do together. The problem is that this doesn’t create the best team.
Research tells us that the best teams are those that benefit from diversity. It’s not about hiring the best people. Think about putting a football team together. The following players may be top of your list:
All top-quality players, and all quarterbacks. If you pack a team with quarterbacks, it won’t be the team you expect it to be. You need diversity for a team to function at the top of its game.
Instead of searching for the best person for the job, hire the best person for the team. To do so, you need to redefine the methods you use to inform your employee selection.
Start hiring for your team by putting together a new hire checklist:
Be clear about what’s expected. There’s no room for general, non-descriptive hires. You may need a marketing specialist, but think deeper than this. What are the specific tasks that you will expect the marketing specialist to do, and what do you expect him or her to bring to the team?
Team players are good at the soft skills as well as the hard skills that impact their particular roles. It’s likely that you’ll need them to be good communicators. Consider at what level they will need to communicate, and how your team players will need to interact with end-users.
Consider, too, that good team players have a high degree of emotional intelligence. They’ll be comfortable giving honest feedback and questioning actions. They’ll be able to do so without pushing conversation into confrontation. And, of course, the best team members put the team above their own personal progress.
If you’re hiring from within, don’t be mistaken that the selection process will be easy. While you probably already know your people’s strengths and weaknesses, you will have internal politics to deal with. The best person for the job may not want to be removed from his or her current team. And those individual weaknesses? They could be impossible to fix.
If you’re hiring externally, you’ll have budgets to consider as well as the needs of your team. You’ll require a strategy for employee testing and selection that ensures you hire the best team players.
When designing interview questions, consider that it’s necessary to test mindset and gauge previous team experience. Whatever questions you ask, concentrate on how they are answered. Listen for giveaway clues as to the candidate’s attitude toward teamwork. For example:
Team players say that “We increased sales numbers by 20%” rather than “I increased sales by 20%”.
Test behavioral patterns by probing the candidate’s job history, and by asking about team-based aspects of their previous positions. Ask about how the candidate:
Ask about the candidate’s role and the roles of his or her colleagues. You’re testing how much credit the candidate takes, and how much he or she gives to others.
Building a dream team is hard work. Interviewing for team positions takes skill. You’re looking for personalities that can add to the team, not simply agree with everything their colleagues or manager says.
Start by defining the hard and soft skills the team needs to function, and which are vital to undertake the specific tasks required.
Design an interview that tests a candidate’s attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs. Ask open-ended questions that elicit story-telling, and listen to the clues that are provided in the answers.
Don’t build a team of ‘yes men’. Build a diverse team, in which each team member is open and honest. This is the team that will work in an environment of trust, probing to find the best solutions and inspiring others to outperform.
Hiring the best team is a task that all leaders are faced with. Our Management Development Series tackles these types of issues, helping managers to hone their leadership skills and evolve into inspirational leaders. Contact Primeast today to discover more.
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