Building a great team

A great team with good teamwork doesn’t just happen. It demands thought from those who built the team and ongoing effort from all individuals in the team – including the leader. Teams are a crucial part of any organisation, but what predicts a successful team?

Research consistently demonstrates that personality characteristics are more predictive of success, over job-specific skills and general cognitive ability, especially when working in a team.

Teams as a well-oiled machine

To have a team that works like a well-oiled machine, the first step is having a clear objective for the team to work towards. Rather than just an outcome, it is also important that they all understand the benefits the outcome will provide; will it generate more leads, improve client relationships, grow a lead pool? This helps them to align themselves with each other and with overall company objectives.

The next key element of a team is cooperation. This is something that you cannot provide, but you can enable. By encouraging the team to communicate with constructive dialogue, whether it is about a new idea that they want to try out or constructive feedback on a failed attempt, you can help create an open environment. Everyone should be able to ask a question or communicate an idea smoothly to the team.

These tips for good teamwork are essential, but what about selecting your team?

Whether you are selecting for a project team or are recruiting to grow your team it’s key to make sure that the individual abilities of your team members meet your base level of requirements. This could be assessed through past performance, reviews, or even cognitive assessments.

However, performance abilities need to be paired with softer skills and work styles to build the best team. By building the team based on work style, you can create a balanced team. For example, when developing the team you would not want it to be fully built out with leaders/initiators or entirely filled with people who are happy to take direction from others – either of these combinations would result in not much work being done. In creating a team with complementary personalities and work styles, you can develop a team that will excel.

Because work styles tend to be more static over time (or at least adapt/evolve less rapidly), it can be easier to recruit for complementary work styles, rather than develop it. This works when you are starting with building a team, but when creating a team from existing employees it is just as important to understand their work style so you can help develop their skills and put them into well-suited project teams.

How do you assess your proposed team?

There are many different ways to figure out people work styles and team types, but it can be hard to evaluate what ones are accurate. Talegent offers a team type report that factors in an individual’s competencies to different team types.

Talegent Team Types Graph Innovator: Comfortable breaking rules and works best without constraints; Prefers to work on the more difficult problems; Thrives on the opportunity to be creative; Embraces thinking in new ways. Social Investigator: Sociable and confident; Exploratory nature seeking new information through social interaction; Effective at influencing others; Excellent interpersonal and networking skills. Appraiser: Highly analytical and strategic; Suited to make critical, non-biased judgments and suggestions on the effectiveness of ideas; Takes a sceptical approach to evaluating situations. Orchestrator: Motivates and leads others towards tasks; Comfortable and effective at leading teams to make decisions; Has a strong belief in own ability; Can tend to take credit for the effort of others Initiator: Effective at taking plans, methods or instructions and implementing them; Highly detailed focused; Prefers proven ideas and methods; Practical and efficient; Can be inflexible to new ways of working; Strong work ethic. Finisher: completion; Prefers to work on one task at a time and with clearly defined goals with little ambiguity; Enjoys being involved with the finer details of a project; Takes an orderly approach to completing projects; May demonstrate signs of strain when under pressure. Collaborator: Thrives on collaboration; Effective at calming team conflict and tension; Co-operative and empathetic; Unlikely to be competitive; Accepting of others but tends to leave the critical decision making to others. Driver: Thrives on a full workload, Excellent at overcoming obstacles and avoiding distractions; Action orientated and driven; Makes decisions quickly; Can be prone to frustration and irritation.

An efficient team is one that works together towards a shared goal. When creating a team, it is key to select based on individual abilities that meet requirements and complementary work styles for a high performing team. It is easier to recruit for diversity in team types, rather than develop it, so keep work styles in mind every time you need to fill a role.

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