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8 Entrepreneurs Share Tips on Building a Strong Team

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Behind every successful business, there’s a strong team that has overcome various struggles. It takes great leadership and an effective company culture to build such a team.  To build a great team, you’ve got to pay attention to various details that start right from the hiring stage.

We asked entrepreneurs and business owners on tips they use to build a strong team and here’s what they had to say.

#1- Stay in your zone

Photo Credit: Lizabeth Czepie

When building your team, it’s crucial to stay in your zone. Your zone of genius is the point where your skills and passions connect, where you’re energized by your work. As entrepreneurs, it’s common to want to, or have to, wear all the hats, especially when starting out. But once you’re ready to build a team, bring on talent that excels in all the areas that are outside of your zone. Anything that de-energizes you is not worth your time, but it is worth the investment.

Thanks to Lizabeth Czepie, Lizabeth Czepiel LLC!

#2- Hire Different Personalities than your own

Photo Credit: Jason Burt

I see many teams at different companies and believe the best approach to a strong team is diversity. Leadership teams can become a reflection of the CEO and essentially lose the ability to challenge the overall culture and direction of a company. When unique personalities and backgrounds come together, they create a healthy environment that challenges each others assumptions and beliefs. Strong teams need to function based on facts and understanding of the business issues in front of them, not blindly following untested assumptions.

Thanks to Jason Burt, Evolve Holdings!

#3- Three tips

Photo Credit: Paige Arnof-Fenn

Here are my top tips to build a great team: Hire people who have complementary skill sets Look for people who are strong where you are weak, make sure you have stars in all areas with great talent so you can cover all the bases. Test for chemistry and cultural fit. It is not enough to be technically competent, the new hire should be someone you enjoy spending time with and can have fun with too, would you want to sit next to them on a cross-country flight? Try before you buy. If you can give them a project as a test (as a paid consultant or side gig) you can see how they work and what their standards are before you get married.

Thanks to Paige Arnof-Fenn, Mavens & Moguls!

#4- Flex to their style

Photo Credit: Jeff Backal

The key to building strong teams is giving team member the tools to flex their personality styles to the styles their teammates. One simple question to ask yourself is Do you communicate to others in your style or their style?. By flexing to their style, you will meet their needs which in turn will meet your needs. This will also help reduce conflict and misunderstandings. We were all taught the Golden Rule at an early age: Treat people how you want to be treated. Now it is time to move on to what I call The Home Rule; Treat people how they need to be treated. There are many personality styles training programs that are great self-awareness programs. My suggestion is to seek out team training programs that go beyond self-awareness and teach individuals how to apply the skills of flexing to others.

Thanks to Jeff Backal, Team Builders Plus!

#5- Two tips

Photo Credit: Stuart Ridge

Don’t Overlook Culture Fit. The strongest teams are high-performing, but they also work together well. Culture fit is sometimes dismissed or looked down on as a hiring factor, but team members are more likely to perform better if they feel like a true part of the team. Some culture fit will inevitably be innate, but work to build rapport and comfort on your team through lunches, happy hours, or other activities like mini golf or a day trip. Let Team Members Take the Lead in Their Area of Expertise. It’s no secret that strong teams have diverse strengths. As a manager, be sure to give team members ownership of the places in which they are strong than others. Defer to the expert on a given task or topic, whether it’s advanced software skills or stellar grammar and spelling. This empowers team members and encourages them in the areas they are strong, while ensuring that the best work is put forward no matter what.

Thanks to Stuart Ridge, VitaMedica!

#6-  Focus on your people more than you focus on your customers

Photo Credit: Shawn Breyer

Taking care of your people will make them happier, more productive, and more committed to your business. Once you get this and the culture right, they will naturally want to build the business with the proper accountability. Focusing on the customers over your people will cause resentment over time, increasing turnover, and people not caring how well the company does. You have to care about your employees, and show them. Engagement in work — which is associated with feeling valued, secure, supported, and respected — is generally negatively associated with a high-stress, cut-throat culture. According to Harvard Business Review, organizations with low employee engagement scores experienced 18% lower  productivity, 16% lower profitability, 37% lower job growth, and 65% lower share price over time.

Thanks to Shawn Breyer, Breyer Home Buyers!

#7- Utilise a trained leadership

Photo Credit: Les Kollegian

In most small and start-up businesses, the CEO usually takes on the role of hiring staff. The irony is that the CEO (including myself) usually isn’t qualified to find the best people, as they aren’t trained to hire. Even though we technically have hiring experience, more complex interviewing techniques like combating biases, watching body language, using structured  interviews and avoiding cliché questions come with training. I talk to my trained leadership about what I am looking for in specific positions, both in experience and culture, and trust them to fully vet the potential hire before giving final approval.

Thanks to Les Kollegian, Jacob Tyler!

#8- Several tips

Photo Credit: Lisa Liguori

Intentionally setting out to express appreciation for team members and making that a big part of the company culture, part of every meeting, etc. The clearer the goal, the easier it is to rally support from your team (definition of what winning is and how to do it – as individuals and as a group). The clearer the expectations for each member’s contribution, the better the teamwork. Structuring compensation and incentives so if the company wins, the team wins, is helpful. Never allow politics within a team environment and never reward lack of teamwork or politics. Have fun! Remembering to play together is important to building a strong team!

Thanks to Lisa Liguori, ChefsBest!

What are your tips for building a strong team? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below. Don’t forget to join our #IamCEO Community.

About CEO Blog Nation

This is a post from a CEO Blog Nation writer. CEO Blog Nation is a community of blogs for entrepreneurs and business owners. Started in much the same way as most small businesses, CEO Blog Nation captures the essence of entrepreneurship by allowing entrepreneurs and business owners to have a voice. CEO Blog Nation provides news, information, events and even startup business tips for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners to succeed.

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