How to Build a Successful Team
One of the most important things we do as leaders is to build a team, as these are the people who will become responsible for delivering your ideas and projects.
It’s not surprising then that it is also one of the most challenging things we will do as a leader, because the hard truth is that not everyone will be capable of taking your vision into the world and making it happen.
Which brings me to the million-dollar question in leadership – how do you build a successful team and what key elements do you need to keep in mind that mean you can attract the right people in the first place?
Below I’ve delved a little deeper into the three core areas that will help you do this.
1. Prioritise values and mindset as highly as you do skill set
It is often no longer your responsibility to deliver on your ideas and projects, but to inspire and empower others to do so. This means that everyone in your team must be aligned on the vision and be able to take that out into the world and make it their own.
A key part of your role will involve you needing to be able to bring your ideas and projects to life to create buy-in and momentum; and so, when you build a team, you need to be confident that you can create a vision for them and know how to build alignment to that vision.
After all, there is no vision without alignment, and teamwork will not happen without shared values.
Before attempting to build a team you, therefore, need to be clear on what it is you need; and you must remember that it’s not just about the skills and experience of your team members, it’s also about mindset, values and connecting the right people.
By spending the time at this early stage honing in on what it is that you need from your team as a whole and as individuals you are far more likely to bring together those people who can make what we want to happen, happen.
2. Be clear about your expectations
Once you know what you’re looking for, you need to set clear expectations with those you are looking to bring onto your team.
You must give potential new team members the opportunity to understand the type of organisation they would be joining and how they would need to work; and once your team is in place it is your role to provide clarity and set clear expectations.
This is about more than just a job description; it is about being clear about what values and skills you need from your team, what tasks they will be responsible for and how they show up and respond to challenges.
If you need people who can be flexible within the team, work with fluid structures and not need to be told what to do, you need to tell potential team members that. Do not fear scaring people off, instead reframe your mindset to ensure you bring the right person on – not everyone will be suited to your organisation and that is ok.
Recruitment is a collaborative effort between you and the candidate to ensure you find the right fit, but neither of you can do that unless you tell them exactly what you are looking for.
Of course, this may mean that you will reduce the number of candidates and in some cases it may take longer to find the right person or people for your team. But the key is not to panic; not to lower or shape your expectations based on who you meet.
We all know, many of us from personal experience, that it is much more costly in the long run to hire the wrong person than to wait a little longer to hire the right person. The most successful teams often take a little longer to build but the impact they make lasts far longer.
3. Remember building a team is a creative process
It is easy, when building a team, to become bogged down in the challenges and minutiae of the process but creating a team is and should be a creative process.
Just like creativity, building a team is a blank piece of paper and it enables us to move beyond the thinking and into the doing.
Using those creative skills that make you a successful leader when creating and building your team – imagination, vision, originality, inventiveness – you will be able to bring together a group of people that not only succeed as individuals but as a team that is greater than the sum of its parts.
After all, our teams are our most creative tool and the one by which we will present and deliver our ideas to the world, and we should approach the process of creating it as such.
The key to an effective team is trust, and it is your role as a leader to help them get to know and understand each other so that the trust can be built. Be courageous and curious in the questions you ask and the time you give to really know who your team members are and understand their needs, get to know them as individuals and then support them to come together as a collective.
Putting our team together is one of the most challenging aspects of being a leader because we know how important it is to get right, and how easy it is to get wrong!
This means it can be a very daunting process and comes with a lot of pressure – but with my Courageous Leaders Club, it is not something that you need to do by yourself.
By joining my community of leaders from within the creative industries, you will be part of a safe, supportive (and successful) team created just for you. It is a space to learn, share ideas and overcome challenges together, giving you the confidence to go forward and create the team you need to succeed.
To find out more about the Courageous Leaders Club and to apply to join visit https://thechangecreators.com/courageous-leaders-club/Ho