Putting the “I” Back in Team

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Build well rounded teams by hiring for individual strengths

It makes sense to hire someone with exactly your same beliefs, skill sets and professional attributes, right? Not exactly. But when tasked with hiring a new team member, many young managers seek candidates that bring the same set of skills to the table. Or even worse, they try to mold new hires into their professional clone, and ignore the wide array of strengths those individuals bring to the table.

When building a team, trying to hire your “mini-me” is a hiring error that will cost you. Instead, recognize that the best teams are comprised of individuals that each contribute a unique skillset to the betterment of the group. The best leaders aren’t always well rounded, but the best teams are—which is why it’s important to embrace the strengths of each person on the team.

According to the Harvard Business Review, managers who build up the strengths of their team members will reach their highest potential. I have also seen that embracing individual strengths with a team results in happier, more productive and more loyal employees. But it was a lesson we had to learn the hard way.

When I was charged with hiring my first team member, I thought it made sense for him to be skilled in all of the same areas as I was. That meant approaching business relationships in the exact same way and through the exact same process. I was young and mostly inexperienced, and truly believed that there was just one way to operate. It was a disaster because I neglected to embrace the strengths he brought to the table. We were both miserable–and the performance of our team suffered.

It didn’t happen overnight, and required a lot of self-reflection and tough conversations, but in a lightbulb moment, I realized the problem and we were able to start turning things around. Once I understood that my new hire had his own strengths to contribute to our growth, I took a step back to see how our strengths complemented each other, and we started the foundation of a well rounded team. As a result, we both were happier and our results skyrocketed. I learned that when you empower and identify one’s individual strengths, you put the “I” back in team—and our team was now stronger than ever.

It’s a philosophy that applies across businesses of all different industries, sizes and locations. One of my favorite examples of a balanced and well-rounded team is the leadership at Wolf Point Advisors. By assessing co-CEOs Geno Mattioda and Dominic Volini using the Gallup StrengthsFinder 2.0, we were able to take a closer look at how their leadership styles complemented each other, and were blown away by the outcome. Both leaders were strong in different areas, creating the perfect yin and yang of talent.

Delivering Strengths WPA

When it comes to leading and managing a team, identifying the candidates unique strengths, and applying them to their daily tasks, will only make the team stronger. Don’t hire your professional clone, instead build a team that brings a lot of different skills to the table. And remember, the best individuals aren’t well-rounded, the best teams are.

Read more about how to value differences by understanding strengths on the Carver Peterson Consulting blog here.

By | 2017-06-26T20:34:40+00:00 March 23rd, 2016|Blog, Featured|0 Comments

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