Get to know your team to build opportunity

Whether you are recruiting candidates for a specific team project or you are inheriting an existing team, you’ll need to assess individuals. You’ll want to know that they have the skills to develop within the group, and can work toward a common goal. Passive candidate recruiting techniques can be invaluable when building a cohesive, coordinated team.

In today’s modern business environment, cross-cultural management challenges will be a familiar leadership issue. Yet it is the evolution of organizational culture which is inherent in attaining strategic goals. And key to developing a winning culture will be your people.

In this article, you’ll read about passive candidate recruiting techniques, which are essential when developing teams capable of taking advantage of market opportunity. These soft skills also provide different employee selection methods when recruiting either externally or internally. Many of the best leaders use these skills as a matter of course in a variety of situations.

1.      Learn what makes your people tick

It’s imperative that you understand what makes your people tick. What drives them forward, urging them on to personal and team success?

This is not simply about the business situation. Discover what your people enjoy doing outside of the work environment. Get to understand personal motivations, and you’ll learn much about your people’s values and beliefs. This knowledge could inform your approach when seeking to better engage your people. Team members are naturally more engaged in projects to which they have a personal connection. Knowing what those personal connections are gives you a clear advantage when building teams and utilizing individual skills.

2.      Sell yourself, too

While getting to know your team, take the opportunity to let them know what you are all about, too. As a leader, your personal brand is important. Leave no one in any doubt as to your strengths (and weaknesses), and what your role is. The value you add is likely to be questioned – reinforce your personal brand and value to the team from the very beginning.

Be passionate about what you do and who you are, and be passionate about others. This connectivity between you and your colleagues is key to creating passive knowledge-gathering conversations. Connections between you and your team and between individual members within your team will prove itself as an enabler of opportunity. When people connect, they are more likely to identify the potential to collaborate.

3.      Be an in-person leader

It’s extremely difficult, if not impossible, to truly connect as a people person without being an in-people person. There are strategies that can be employed to keep team members engaged, even when they’re remote and overseas. But whenever possible, take the opportunity to meet face-to-face.

Group meetings allow you to explore team dynamics, either actively or passively. They also provide the opportunity to exhibit your knowledge and your passion. Remember, though, that these meetings are opportunities to allow others to evidence their credentials. Ensure that you are more interested in your people than you are in you.

Build trust through open and honest conversation, encouraging people to voice their concerns without the fear of recrimination.

4.      Engage the insight of experience

Speak to previous team leaders to gain insight into personalities, characteristics, values and beliefs. Ask about previous performance, and who they consider to be good team players, and who prefer to ‘fly solo’.

5.      Use team building sessions and ice-breakers

Team building exercises and off-site events allow you to get to know your team, and enable team members to gain a greater appreciation of their own abilities and those of their colleagues. Use question and answer sessions that combine knowledge-gathering with project work.

Encourage open criticism, but ensure it is constructively given. Observe those who become involved, and use these sessions as learning processes; equally, watch for those who become isolated and withdrawn from the group. It will be people in this last group whose behaviors and attitudes create a negative environment that disrupts harmony and distracts the team effort.

6.      Interview your people passively every day

Some of the best leaders I’ve met have interviewed their people passively every day. Take twenty minutes every morning to interact with your people, asking them about what is happening in their lives as well as their work. This is a relationship building exercise, and as these relationships strengthen, so too will team effectiveness. You’ll instill belief, confidence, trust and togetherness. Exactly the organizational culture that will propel your team to its goals.

In The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni describes how a new CEO used many of the above strategies to identify team players and individual personalities. The CEO, Kathryn, used off-site meetings to encourage exploration of strengths and weaknesses.

By listening to the interactions between team members, she uncovered deeper knowledge of personalities than traditional question and answer sessions could have given. Equally importantly, so did her team. Perhaps the real advantage was the voyage of self-discovery this passive approach to team recruitment produced.

By encouraging greater self-awareness, an open and honest environment, and a sense of togetherness, Kathryn turned around a dysfunctional team. Instead of a complacent team that had no follow-through, within a year its new sense of purpose had permeated throughout the company as it moved toward ever-stretching goals.

Contact Forward Focus today to discover how an Emotional Intelligence course will develop and embed effective personal skills in the workplace, for leaders, managers and employees.

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