Is there a formula for great employees or teams?
I saw a couple articles on Entrepreneur.com this week that caught my eye: 5 Attributes to Look for in High-Performing Employees and How to Assemble a Creative Team That Clicks. Seems pretty, well, formulaic I think. Find people with these five things and they will be great employees. Here’s how to make a creative team that would make Sir Jony Ive jealous. Seems overly simplistic, right? Too easy for the real world, right?
Maybe, maybe not, because like all generalities there is almost always a grain of truth in there as well.
Great employees have similar traits.
Looking first at the employees article, it’s hard to find fault with the traits:
- Horsepower (brains)
- Ownership and pride
- Work ethic
Who doesn’t want to work with people with these traits and skills? I can’t imagine trying to work with people who didn’t work hard, have smarts, etc. Taking items off the list is pretty silly, but what’s missing from the list? What are the traits you look for when hiring people? You might look at the work of Dr. Meredith Belbin and his ideas about “Belbin Roles” and how those are important to the make-up of teams. These five traits are great, but they are really just the beginning. Learning, adaptability, leadership skills, poise under pressure, are all skills you need on your team. The question for you is: which are the skills you need most?
Teams that click can’t be be pre-made, or can they?
One of the facets of Dr Belbin’s theories is the idea if you have people who have the traits for each of his Belbin Roles, you’ll have a great team that clicks and works. The Entrepreneur.com article talks about hiring, guidelines, and meetings are the secret to a great team. Well, those will work to start a team off on the right foot, but in reality having people with the five traits above, mixed in with how to hire for a great team, and maybe some of Belbin’s research is the real secret.
We’ve all be on lots of teams that just clicked. Not to mention some teams that look like a motley crew of people who couldn’t possibly work together but have a unique chemistry that just works, you don’t know why, but you’d sure like to bottle it. While How to assemble a great creative team is overly simplistic, you can’t dismiss the advice, just not rely solely on it. Pulling together a group of strangers together to make a powerhouse team is a dark art for sure.
How do you hire and create your teams?
At this point in your career you’ve probably hired, and fired, lots of people. Sometimes it’s a gut feeling, sometimes it’s something else, but there’s always something that you see that makes someone standout to you. So it’s your turn.
What do you look for when building a great team? What is that must-have trait that sets people apart from all the others? Contribute in the comments.