Two critical parts of building a great team

Ask a successful leader about factors to his success, and “his team” will always be high on the list — guaranteed.

If only it was as simple as that. Of course, a leader wants a great team, but many in power are poor at selecting the right individuals for a team and/or are horrible at building smart cohesion and teamwork. Too often we select like-minded people rather than complimentary skills. They strive for quick consensus and non-confrontational environments, which are not necessarily traits of a good team.

Other times leaders promote strictly based on domain expertise. Does a “rain maker” salesman always make a super sales manager? Does a super software developer really always know how to build a great team of developers? In resumes we stress domain expertise, not true leadership or “latent” skills.

Effective leaders know how to pick team members that compliments each other. Initially these people may not get along or see eye-to-eye. It is then that the leader really needs to build a foundation for the team on trust, productive conflict, commitment, accountability and results. And to make sure that the vision is clear and understood.

Here’s a great tweet by Jeff Raikes (CEO of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) about how a good functional team should work.

A leader who has a great team around him has picked the right people AND has worked hard at building the right team foundation. Then, as a successful leader you can honestly thank your team.