8 Sure-Fire Ways to Nurture Your Dream Team

Are your team dynamics unhealthy? Do you ever feel your employees are more trouble than they're worth? Here are 8 tips for how to nurture your dream team.

Every entrepreneur wants a dream team, but many end up with something more akin to a nightmare. In this week’s roundup you’ll discover 8 sure-fire ways to nurture your dream team.

 

#1: Keep Culture and Passion Top of Mind when Hiring


Hiring the right people is the first step in having a dream team. The problem is, that's easier said than done. After all, no one intentionally hires the wrong people. Much of this comes down to culture, and looking beyond the obvious. This article published on Forbes deals specifically with hiring for the social enterprise, but many of the points are applicable to all types of businesses. During the interview process, they spend more time than many companies discussing their vision and goals and the types of problems they are trying to solve.

The article also suggests looking at the candidate's background to see indicators that they are truly passionate about the cause. Another great suggestion is to meet with candidates in a social setting where they may be more relaxed and thus reveal more of their personality and character.

Once they hire the person, they do what they can to ensure that the team member understands the value of their contribution to the cause, regardless of the nature of the position.

How to Hire the Right Person for Your Startup

This article published on Entrepreneur.com provides the following four tips to help you hire the right person for your startup:

  • Hire an extra lookout.
  • See past the keywords in a resume.
  • Look for traits beyond what’s written.
  • Ask for a test drive.

I especially like the last one because it's a great way to find out if someone's a good fit before either party invests a ton of time, energy or money. The article highlights the advantages of hiring contractors instead of employees who may start off part-time and temporary. They may then potentially work into full-time employees.

The bottom line is that hiring the right people to begin with is an essential step in nurturing your dream team. Hiring people that fit the company culture and values and hiring some freelancers is a great way to find the right people.

#2: Be Proactive in Giving Feedback


Have you ever been working away, thinking all is well, only to find out that your boss isn't happy with you? It doesn't feel good, does it? Why then do it to your team members? Failure to give feedback to your team members  is likely one of the main reasons that a dream team turns into a nightmare. After all, how can you expect people to improve if you don't give them feedback?

This article published on Entrepreneur.com provides the following tips for giving feedback to your team:

  • Ask permission to provide feedback.
  • Be timely.
  • Be specific.
  • Concentrate on behaviors.
  • Describe what you’ve seen, not what others told you.
  • Respect the person’s privacy.

There are so many great points in this article, I  recommend that you read the entire article. In the meantime, here are a few of my thoughts. While asking permission to provide feedback sounds nice, as the article states, you have to be prepared to drop the subject if the person says no. That's not such a great idea if the topic is something you really need to discuss.

Here are my thoughts on two of my favorite points.

Be Timely

While you don't want to jump on someone the moment they do something you're not happy with, it can be even worse to be annoyed by something and let it go on and on, only to deal with it when you hit a breaking point. I know that I'd much rather know that I need to change what I'm doing sooner rather than later. Give that same courtesy to the people on your team and you'll keep small problems from becoming big ones.

Describe what you’ve seen, not what others told you.

This is a tough one because at times you may only be aware of a problem because others have told you about it. If you do hear about problems from someone else, use that to increase your awareness. This will increase the odds of observing the behavior yourself. You can then share what you've seen instead of what you've heard.

An alternative to this is to ask the person who raised the issue to go directly to the person in an attempt to resolve the issue. If the issue is unresolved, have the person who reported it go with you to discuss it with the offending party.

#3: Deal with the Office Bully


No one likes the office bully. Sometimes a bully is well aware of the fact that they are a bully, and other times they may not be. One of the best ways to deal with bullying is to increase awareness. Whether you're giving feedback to someone or providing group training, being open about issues is often the first step in dealing with the problem.

Sharing and discussing articles such as this one is a great first step in dealing with bullies in the workplace. If you do encounter a bully on your team, refer back to the article on giving feedback so that you can nip the problem in the bud.

#4: Look at Things from the Team Members' Perspective


So often conflict comes about as a result of not being able to see things from the other person's perspective. This article, Looking Through the Lens of the Leader looks at three different lenses:

  • The organizational lens.
  • The employee lens.
  • The leader lens.

When a leader looks at things not just through the leader lens but also through the organizational lens and the employees' lens, they have a more complete view on any given situation.

You can read the entire article here.

#5: Coach Your Team to Success


While failure occurs for many reasons, sometimes the reason is that team members don't receive the coaching they need to reach their full potential. Being an effective leader or coach isn't an event; it's a habit. This article published on Entrepreneur.com provides the following seven habits of leaders that coach their teams to success:

  • They're collaborative.
  • They're relationship oriented.
  • They give credit where credit is due.
  • They treat people equally.
  • They're open.
  • They use their senses.
  • They're intuitive.

The last paragraph in the article does  a great job summarizing why it's important to coach your team to success:

Great managers believe in their purpose, their individual team members and all that it takes for everyone to feel satisfied, happy, motivated and successful. The morale created by these elite mangers guarantees personal and professional success and esteem.

By the way, an article along the same lines was published right here on PatrickBetDavid.com:

How to Motivate Every Team Member to Reach Their Full Potential

 

#6: Embrace Wackos


When Jeff Bezos was about to start Amazon, his request to his executive search team was, "Give me your wackos." He knew that true talent doesn't always fit into a neat little box. He was not only willing, but eager to embrace those whose talents couldn't be measured in a test.

This concept is covered in detail in the book, Superbosses by Sydney Finkelstein, and briefly covered in this article published on Inc.com. This quote from the article sums up some key elements of the book:

My favorite insight from Sydney is that the exceptional leaders he documents--leaders who create "trees of talent"--are confident enough to hire subordinates who are better than their bosses are. He says, "Superbosses take chances on people, and tolerate more churn if it means finding the right people later."

This article by the same writer is worth a read as well, as the focus is on once you find talent, give them freedom to do their work, their way.

#7: Understand the Needs of Unique Needs of Different Team Members


This article published on Small Business Trends actually focuses on the following seven ways to help younger employees improve:

  • Set Expectations.
  • Provide Opportunities for Collaboration.
  • Educate Millennial Employees in Management and Conflict Resolution Skills.
  • Communicate Often and Honestly.
  • Provide Ongoing Feedback.
  • Design a Workspace that Enables Both Collaboration and Focus.
  • Help Them Lessen Stress.

The article does provide some great insight into working with younger team members. If you currently have or want to in the future hire millennials, it's certainly worth a read.

But as I read it, the thing that immediately came to my mind is that team members in different seasons of life have different needs. If this wasn't the case, there would be no need for an article on how to help younger employees thrive, right? So think about the different team members that you have.

Here are a few unique team member situations that came to my mind:

  • Single parents
  • A mom with young children at home
  • Someone with a long commute
  • A long-term employee that is technically at retirement age, but still wants to work and has the ability to do so
  • A person with special needs kids
  • Introverts and extroverts

All of these people and more have unique needs, and thrive in different settings. For example, the extrovert may thrive in an open workspace setting, and an introvert will thrive in a quieter and more private workspace. If you're aware of that, you may choose to have an open workspace, with a few quiet places.

Depending on the job requirements, the person with the long commute may benefit from working different hours, so they aren't on the road during rush hour. Or they may be able to work four longer days per week so they commute one less day per week. Another alternative is to allow them some work from home time, combined with time in the office.

The long-term employee who is older may still want to work, but may want to work only part-time or transition into a less demanding position.

The point is that while you have to keep the needs of your own business in mind and make sure that each team member contributes to the overall mission of your company, if you keep the unique needs of individuals in mind, they'll likely perform better AND stick with you longer term.

If you'd like to learn more about how to nurture your dream team, check out these videos from the archives:

How to Deal with Negative Team Members

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