3 Ways to Build a Great Team

03/18/2016 | Roger and Susie Engelau

For many of us, team building seems like it should be a simple process.

  • We post a job description.
  • We collect resumes.
  • We schedule interviews.
  • We find and hire the perfect candidate.

In a perfect world, the hiring process would be this simple. But in reality, even when we follow the first three steps listed above, finding and hiring the perfect candidate is much harder to accomplish.

So how do we hire in ways that deliver great candidates and build strong teams?

When asked about his approach to team building, Bill Gates once said that, “at Microsoft, there are lots of brilliant ideas, but the image is that they all come from the top. I’m afraid that’s not quite right.”

And therein lies team building lesson #1: Hire for brilliance.

Maybe not always the “genius” type of brilliance, but when you’re creating a team, don’t be afraid to hire people who are skilled in areas that you aren’t. In fact, you want to build a team filled with people who have brilliant ideas and exceptional visions.


Because when you allow your employees to merge their discoveries and dreams with your best laid plans, business growth and success will typically follow.

Team building lesson #2: Hire for more than skill.

Studies show that employers are reporting an absence of “soft skills”—skills that aren’t seen on resumes and don’t show up in many job listings. A few of my favorites?

  • Critical thinking
  • Cultural awareness
  • Curiosity
  • Empathy
  • Adaptability

For many hiring managers, desired soft skills often relate directly to company culture. How so? Let me give you two examples:

  1. If you’re a leader who wants to empower your team members to make decisions on their own, then you’ll want to hire excellent problem solvers and critical thinkers. This will help foster a company culture of innovation, autonomy, self-awareness, and empowerment.
  2. If you’re a leader who wants to foster an environment of care and innovation, ask job candidates questions about empathy and curiosity.

Inc.com has a great list of questions for soft skills that you can find here.

(Sidenote: If you aren’t interested in these soft skills, I’d recommend the book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. Author Patrick Lencioni provides practical insight for team leaders, providing a framework for building successful teams and avoiding some common pitfalls. It’s a quick but worthwhile read that will provide some incredible insight on why soft skills really do matter.)

This also leads us to team building lesson #3: Know who you are.

To take it a bit further, know who you want to become. What is your company culture? Top CEOs agree: Building great teams requires building even better cultures.

Rob Bellefant, TechnologyAdvice Founder and CEO, says that the “biggest tip for building a great team is making sure you clearly define everything: your mission, your culture, your values, job roles, and the attributes you value in your employees. Once you define these things for your company, you can establish a hiring process that helps you identify talented candidates who are a fit.”

Not sure how to define your business culture or identity? More on that with our next post.

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