There are many articles, podcasts, interviews, videos and talks from different leaders and managers on what it is that one needs to build a successful team.
Great teams take more than just attracting, hiring and retain the best talent with the right mix of professional skills. Taking into account things like: goal-oriented mindset, commitment to role, shared culture etc, and all the generic well known basics; from my own experience, I have found these five to work best for me and my teams.
1.Diversity in teams
I bring on board people with different skills and expertise than me, especially my core team. Having people who think, act, do and are exactly like me would be detrimental to the organisation. It’s important to find people that challenge my ideas, bring in ideas of their own, disagree with me, and have different ways of doing things. Having a team with a diverse skill set is something that ensures that we can complement each other on different skills and expertise that each individual has.
This has been one of the secrets to our success.
Giving autonomy to the team but also steering them in the right direction. I strongly believe in hands-off leadership. This will only work if an organisation has the right people. By strongly believing in the goodness, professionalism, expertise and skill that each team member brings on board, every individual has the autonomy and freedom to work the way they do, and knows that they have 100% support. This not only creates the best community, but also taps into the uniqueness of each individual. In return, this enriches the organisation in invaluable ways.
As a founder, I focus on getting the right people, smarter than me, different from me, and then allow them the freedom to bring out the best version of themselves. This not only empowers the team, but also creates that sense of belonging and assurance that each team member is valued, respected and equal.
Trust also includes giving the team the autonomy to do their work, knowing that they can make mistakes and that is ok, and that no matter what, you will always have their backs. It doesn’t mean that they don’t take accountability, it means that they can stumble, fail, make mistakes and you will work together as a team to move past them and never throw them under the bus.
3. Honesty & transparency
People perform the best when they have all the information they need. By being 100% honest and transparent with the team at all times, team members always feel that they belong, they are respected and valued. Transparency in the good, bad and the ugly creates the sense of family unity and togetherness. Magic happens and productivity is usually at its peak. Transparency includes company financial performance, pay scales, fair hiring and promotion practices etc.
Open, honest and fair communication. Giving everyone an equal and safe environment to communicate honestly and openly, allows organisations to tap into the uniqueness of each individual. Team members feel safe to voice their concerns, opinions, suggestions or things they are not happy with, without worrying about facing backlash.
Vulnerability is an underestimated leadership skill. Many leaders and founders are so cautious and afraid to be vulnerable or show any sign of vulnerability. There are unwritten rules that each leader or founder adheres to and one of them is to avoid showing vulnerability at all costs. Sadly, it is still viewed as a sign of weakness. What this does is create this notion that leaders don’t experience pain, disappointment, sadness or loss like other people.
Vulnerable leadership also opens up the door to difficult conversations. It also sends out the message to the teams that, they too are allowed to be vulnerable. It creates that safe and humane environment where leaders and founders can connect with all team members.
This is by no means a conclusive and only list for building successful teams. There are many tools available for managers and leaders.
The most important aspect of being a good team lead, is by understanding yourself as a leader; understanding your team members, not just as professionals, but as human beings; making sure that your goals are aligned and always be willing to learn and listen as a leader or manager.
With open & honest communication and willingness/ openness to learn, I think the rest of the things can be acquired a long the way. There is no one-size-fits all when it comes to leadership.
As a manager or leader, you have to find your own way together with your team on how best to build a strong foundation that can help your team weather the storms and be successful.