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How to build a team that works

It all starts with understanding people’s true nature

Have you ever hired someone who was perfect on paper, seemed spectacular in the interview, but became a disaster once you tried to integrate them into the organization because their true nature was not the right team fit?

Often someone’s resume and background tell us that they will be ideal for a job, and then disaster strikes. How can we improve our hiring processes? Whenever I’m interviewing people I look to answer three questions:

Can they do the job?

This question is deceptive. A person’s skill set might say yes. But in reality, their personality or past work culture might not be a natural fit. Is that a non-starter? Not necessarily. However, you need to consider who on your existing team will be working most directly with this person. Do these personalities mesh?

The solution: Get your team involved in the hiring process. Having your current team sit in on the interviews can help ease a transition. If your team feels like they were valued and involved in the process, they will be more likely to support the new hire, whoever that may be, and help you uncover how to build an effective team.

Will they do the job well long-term?

Answering this question is a little more complex. You have to be able to understand what the person’s goals are, and also understand their true nature and whether the job feeds that nature. Again, this is a place you can depend on your team. Ask for their input. Reflect on your best and most reliable staff members: What were your impressions when you hired them? What were your concerns? While there are no guarantees, it can help to examine patterns in your own thought process as you hire for your team. And don’t be afraid to be transparent with your team. If they feel they are part of the process, they will feel valued. Give them direct input on what you expect of the new hire and they will rise to the occasion. Though the final decision does rest with you, your team will appreciate your consideration of their input.

Are they the right team fit?

What do you need from this new hire? Be clear during the interview process about your goals and what you expect a typical day and week to look like. Do their goals match up with what your organization needs? For example, I’ve found in hiring personal assistants over the years, if I went to a Hollywood-based association of personal assistants and interviewed people that many of them did not last very long. The reason? Their real goal was not to be a personal assistant. Their real goal was to become an actor, actress, director or writer of TV or films. They loved the job because my network connected them with a lot of important people. They did the job, but they did not perform well long-term, because ultimately their goals were different than what the job was about.

Understanding the applicant’s real needs, desires and goals is critical. Similarly, you’ve got to know the person’s nature. Can an introverted person become an effective salesperson? Of course, but will they sell effectively long-term? The answer is no. Why? People’s nature rarely changes. When you can find a job where a person’s nature is rewarded by the job itself, their goals are aligned and they have the skills, you have a winner as long as they can pass the final question: Are they the right team fit?

Great players, whose natural personalities or approach to life puts them in conflict with other great players, almost always become a disaster. Team fit is critical for momentum. So how do you resolve this? It’s a challenge to negotiate strong personalities, so in addition to analyzing the person you are adding to the team, be sure to take stock of what types of personalities you already have on your team. Also, don’t forget to ask yourself the hard question: Is your existing team effective?

You’ve hired someone. Now what?

Establish leadership. It sounds trite, but it’s so important. Meet with your team – your entire team, including the new hire. Set clear expectations about what you expect from the team as you move forward. Then, entrust a team member to report to you. Even if you already have a reporting structure in place, it’s important to establish it again now that team has been altered with a new addition.

Then, talk to each team member individually. Stress how important it is to fit in with the team and explain that you need to build an effective team. Empower each individual with unique responsibilities that contribute to the whole picture, and make it clear to individuals that you expect to be copied on all relevant correspondence. When you give each team member unique job duties and explain how these parts fit together in regards to company procedures and growth, the team understands their interdependence on one another, which naturally strengthens bonds.

Finally, set ground rules for the new team. This is important for your existing team members as well as your new hires. When expectations are clear, there is less in-fighting. Empower your most gifted team members with leadership roles to inspire the team. Remember, your concern is how to build an effective team. In addition to helping the team run effectively, clear expectations from a respected authority and a no-nonsense accountability system to remind the team that everyone, regardless of seniority, is expected to perform at their peak.

There are many extraordinary tools available today that have been tested by millions of people in the business world. Take a look at the guest blog post below by my friend Jay Niblick, and if you’d like, click on the link and take the test yourself to understand what your true nature is. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses; where do you go under stress? What can you do to enhance your own performance and your enjoyment of life? Enjoy. – Tony Robbins

If They Follow Him at All, It’s Only Out of Morbid Curiosity

By guest author Jay Niblick, Founder/CEO – Innermetrix Inc.

A few weeks ago I was talking with the owner of a manufacturing company. As this owner described his woes to me about how they were struggling with poor leadership skills, he described the performance of some of his leaders by saying, “With some of our managers, if our employees follow them at all, it’s only out of morbid curiosity.”

The lack of leadership abilities, an inability to engender respect and overall poor performance was killing his profits. Unfortunately, while his way of describing his leaders was a novel one (i.e., morbid curiosity), the existence of poor leadership is anything but a novelty.

As a business consultant for the past 15 years, I’ve witnessed more ineffective leadership examples than I care to remember. And nothing impacts the overall health of the organization more negatively than bad leadership!

In all those years, however, I’ve also noticed a significant trend among companies that do not suffer from poor leadership issues. Over and over again those leaders who do elicit the best from their direct reports, who achieve higher performance objectives, who have lower turnover and whose companies grow more, all share some basic natural talents for leadership. They all share competencies that the under-performing leaders simply do not possess.

The most commonly occurring of these competencies are:

  • Envision an outcome – The ability to clearly envision a strategic outcome, think conceptually and see the big-picture.
  • Understand others – Often called “Emotional Intelligence” this is the ability to accurately understand those being lead.
  • Inspire others – Bringing understanding of the strategic vision and emotional intelligence together to effectively communicate that vision and achieve buy in.
  • Understand themselves – One of the most overlooked traits, this is the ability to objectively understand one’s own strengths and weaknesses.

While many assume these are traits that can be taught, or acquired, in reality research has proven that for the most part they are based on a person’s natural behavioral style and personality; and such things aren’t something one just changes by reading a book or training.

Most organizations struggle because they fail to measure these talents (or the lack thereof). These traits remain intangible and therefore, since we can’t see them, we can’t manage them and they don’t get factored into the leadership equation.

There’s an old quote that goes, “Hire for hard skills – fire for soft skills.” Basically, this means that we often hire people based on the tangible hard skills we can see (e.g., experience, résumé/CV, education, etc.). Conversely, we often have to fire people because they do not possess the intangible soft traits that so significantly drive performance as a leader.

The best performing companies, however, do the best job of measuring and understanding these traits (and others). They do a much better job of making these intangibles tangible, visible and quantified, and use this knowledge in hiring and developmental scenarios. The results: human turnover goes down, productivity goes up, sick-leave goes down, theft goes down and overall profitability increases.

So as not to be one to tell you what to do, then leave you alone to figure out how to do it, I’m including a link with this article that will allow you to complete a free talent profile that will measure these natural leadership talents.

Whether it’s yourself as a leader and you’re seeking to understand where your greatest strengths and weaknesses may lie, of a leader who reports to you that you’re hoping to help, this profile will help make tangible those key traits.

Originally posted @ Tony Robbins

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