AdviceHiring

21 Entrepreneurs Share Advice on Building a Team

Building a team involves more than just the right hiring and effective management. As a business leader, you have to build strong working relationships with each member of your team as opposed to instilling fear. Consider their feedback to show you value their input and work on communication within and between you and the team. It’s not easy but it’s workable.

Here’s how entrepreneurs and business owners build effective teams.

#1- Consciousness about existing gaps

Photo Credit: Allison Lancaster

Building an effective team takes time, as well as patience and a bit of trial and error. You have to be very conscious of where you are seeing gaps within your company. For example, is social media marketing falling through the cracks? You need to hire a social media strategist, not a generalist. Finding where those gaps are, and then working to fill those with team members who not only are experts in that position but also who fit within the culture of your company are two huge pieces of the puzzle of building an effective team.

Thanks to Allison Lancaster


#2- Always recognize and celebrate success

Photo Credit: Chane Steiner

When a team member does an amazing job at something, whether it be wrapping up a project, or scoring a new contract, be sure to celebrate it. Take the time to recognize how the goal was accomplished so the entire team can improve. This is a powerful tool for boosting morale and creating an atmosphere that encourages learning and hard work. An effective team leader does not try and grab credit for him or herself, but acknowledges credit where credit is due. After all, if the company is moving in the right direction, that is indication enough that the team leader is doing their job well. This strategy works even better if the celebration is turned into a genuinely enjoyable break for the team.

Thanks to Chane Steiner, Crediful!


#3- Project management softwares for remote teams

Photo Credit: Reuben Yonatan

Building a team is one of the most important aspects of leading a company. I make sure that every new hire is a fantastic fit for our company culture. In the past, I must admit, that meant that I thought everybody had to be in the office. Today, I realize that we can also incorporate remote team members into our workflow without creating a disruption to our company culture. I have thoroughly enjoyed onboarding several new remote-based team members over the past six months and will continue to be open about doing so in the future. If you go with a remote-based team, I highly recommend incorporating both a kanban-style project management software, as well as a communication platform such as Slack. All the better if your project management software includes workflow automation, so that when their task is marked complete, it’s automatically added to the task list of the next team member in line.

Thanks to Reuben Yonatan, GetVOIP!


#4-Consider partaking in team building and training activities

Photo Credit: Murray Seward

Organizations can either plan activities internally or outsource a team building and training business to implement fun and interactive activities that can nurture relationships between colleagues, boost staff morale, and help them develop relevant skills. For instance, scavenger hunts, charitable group activities, and hands-on creative activities do very well to improve collaboration and bring teams closer together. From a training perspective, programs that focus on emotional intelligence (EQ), positive team dynamics, and performance management fundamentals can help leaders build and lead a structured, cohesive team.

Thanks to Murray Seward, Outback Team Building & Training!


#5- Assemble a good team

Photo Credit:  Nicholas Christensen

Team building, whether for business or sports, is built on the same principles. A successful business or sports team is only as good as its players. Assembling your business team is like draft season in football and basketball. You recruit for specific positions based on specific skill sets. Spring training or group brainstorming sessions are the perfect opportunities to watch them in action. Observe strengths and weaknesses and be on the lookout for potential personality clashes. Best to nip this stuff in the bud from the get-go. Don’t forget that in the beginning, all team members are rookies. They may have loads of experience from their previous job but they are new to your team. Help them set their personal goals and guide them to success – the hope is that they will meet and rise above not only your expectations, but their own also.

Thanks to Nicholas Christensen, Lottery Critic!


#6- Take Ownership

Photo Credit: Robin Miller

To build great teams, leadership first has to take ownership of things that go well and things that go sideways. When our team sees that we’re able to own the good and the bad, then it’s more likely they’re going to be willing to take ownership as well. With this approach, when we fail, we fail forward. Rather than wasting time trying to excuse or place blame, we think about how we make it better -how we make it efficient and how we make it effective. We are all acting with a leadership mindset. This builds trust and trust builds teams.

Thanks to Robin Miller, PhD, ARTiculate Real and Clear!


#7- Avoid “Groupthink”

Photo Credit: Niraj Rout

My company builds collaboration tools that help teams at more than 1,000 companies of all sizes work more efficiently with each other, so I probably think about teamwork more than most people. When people work together on a team, you always need to be cautious of “groupthink” which can cause teams to lose sight of the bigger picture. A famous example of “groupthink” is the Chernobyl disaster–the team of engineers involved in running the nuclear project became so overconfident in their team’s overall strategy that they broke the rules. So I encourage each employee in my company to voice their opinion EVEN (and maybe even especially) when they disagree with everyone in the room. I have made sure this is a cultural value that is woven into the fabric of my company. I also encourage all teams at my company to debate problems out. When there is a team that disagrees, the team should always question things to see if there is a better way to do something or to solve a problem. At the same time, I make clear that if you disagree with a team member, you should ALWAYS make sure to bring data to the table to argue your point. And as a team, the goal must always be to focus on the issue, rather than on the people involved.

Thanks to Niraj Rout, Hiver!


#8- Hire smarter and better people

Photo Credit: Rob Doone

You can’t be good at everything, so hire people smarter and better with a diverse skill set. Encourage and empower employees to have the ability to innovate, create new ideas and new concepts. I am always looking to hire bright individuals who are passionate about their work and driven by innovation, then I get out of their way and let them contribute. At my company, everyone is encouraged to speak up, share their ideas, and make a meaningful impact on our customers. We don’t fill positions, we hire people. We’re a team, period.

Thanks to Rob Doone, Vantage Point Logistics (VPL)!


#9- Three tips

Photo Credit: Rune Sovndahl

In the early days of the business, we didn’t have the resources to hire experienced workers, so had to think outside of the box to build a fantastic team. We adopted a practice, almost out of necessity, that became one of the foundations on which our later success lied. These are my top three tips on building an effective team: “Hire young, vibrant, dedicated people that are not only determined to succeed but also excited about your company and where you’re heading. “Train them fast and test what they could do. Because the culture of training and support you foster is going to lead them to become invested in your joint mission.“It’s vital that you build a company culture which keeps employees happy. Experience shows that the more you care for your employees, the better they perform.”

Thanks to Rune Sovndahl, Fantastic Services!


#10-Deep human understanding

Photo Credit: Tony Xu from Perfocal

This is fundamental in two respects. Firstly, the importance of ‘culture fit’ cannot be underestimated, particularly within a small team. A harmonious team will always be more productive and garner better results. If you understand your current team, you will have a much better idea of the challenges they might personally face and what solutions are needed. Secondly, your perceptions of the team informs how you, in turn, communicate with them. If you’re looking to hire developers – speak to them as a developer, use ‘their language’. This ultimately breeds greater trust and removes a lot of the initial barriers in discerning whether they are the right fit. One tool I use is the MBTI (a tool also championed by the likes of Ray Dalio). Although not the ultimate authority on hiring decisions, it is a useful signpost as to what their communications needs are. Not all hires will work out, but the bigger the picture of the person you are hiring, the more likely it will. There’s nothing wrong with things taking time.

Thanks to Tony Xu from, Perfocal!


#11- Give each person freedom

Photo Credit: Jesse Crow

Every person on the team should be given the freedom to work in a manner that best suits them. This is especially true for projects that require research or creativity. Just as we each have individual strengths, we each know how we can achieve our personal best results. My process looks very different from that of others on my team. While establishing deadlines is important, micromanaging doesn’t produce the best outcomes. I find that allowing each team member autonomy more fully engages them in what we are doing. It allows everyone to do their best work which instills a sense a pride in the results. I don’t consider myself a team leader because we each take leadership of our respective contributions. Everyone on the team is in charge of their own work and how it is accomplished. Then at the end of the day, we can all share the credit for success.

Thanks to Jesse Crow, Rest Right Mattress!


#12- Empowering cultural change

Photo Credit: Humphrey Ho

Traditionally culture is owned by operations – instead, successful companies at doing this might include those at Google, where individuals are able to create groups, hobbies, habits, and other culture building hobbies with the company’s approval (and sometimes unapproved). This provides tribes of employees, especially organizations where 50 or more exist, to diversify their culture given nobody is the same, but also delivers an experience of cohesiveness in organizations where physical proximity may be the only understanding of culture around them.

Thanks to Humphrey Ho, Hylink Digital Solutions!


#13- Put the right people into the right positions

Photo Credit: Dr. Elliott B. Jaffa

Although it sounds simple; it is not. It requires a strategy: List the various positions required to produce the desired results. Decide who best fits into each position. You probably have never conducted an Organizational Audit on your staff. Just because someone is a C-level executive, vice president, director, or manager, that person may not be a fit for the team to achieve these results. Allow me to share a best practices case study. A large well-known company exhibits at a major trade association each year renting a pavilion not your usual 10 x 10 booth. I told the EVP to leave his top two salespeople home. He was aghast, “Those are my best two guys!” I replied, “Yes they are, but they do not want to be there. They rather be making sales calls either in the field or on the phone. At the show, they are on their phones ignoring attendees walking by and totally neglecting your number one objective: Capturing qualified leads.” I recommend you take Maria instead. He said, Maria?She’s our receptionist” to which I replied, “Have you ever heard Maria talk to clients and potential clients on the phone? She speaks with passion about your products. Maria is thefirst person I would want on my trade show team.

Thanks to Dr. Elliott B. Jaffa


#14- Develop “internal internships”

Photo Credit: Stewart Gus

As we built our law firm over the years, we realized that a lot of our staff began developing “tunnel vision” about their jobs and their departments. In essence, they really only knew their job and their department, and didn’t fully understand or appreciate what other employees in other departments contributed to our overall mission. We found this led to some resentment, and a lack of interdepartmental teamwork. As a result, we developed a program of “internal internships” where we would have employees in one department cycle through and spend time in all other departments, learning their functions and getting to know their co-workers. This program has lead to our employees having a greater understanding of “how all the pieces fit together,” and has resulted in boosts in morale, motivation, and teamwork.

Thanks to Stewart Guss


#15- Weed out the culturally unfit

Photo Credit: Beth Tucker

It’s important to recognize when someone isn’t a culture fit or performing at the standards that you need. Having someone like this on board can negatively impact the rest of the team both from morale and a productivity standpoint. So, when someone isn’t performing, it’s important to communicate exactly how he/she can make improvements and ultimately add to a positive and respectful team environment. If that person does not rise to the occasion after you’ve coached them on ways to improve, then as difficult as it may be, that person may be better off moving on in order to protect the happiness of your core team (and likely, that person may be happier somewhere else, too).

Thanks to Beth Tucker, KNF&T Staffing Resources!


#16- Two ways

Photo Credit: Dr. Vince Repaci

Group training is a simple way to achieve this, and we’ve gotten really good results teaching teams the skills of communication and using experiential learning to build synergy, but it shouldn’t be the only way it’s done. Put 5 minutes aside at the beginning of group meetings on Monday to talk about peoples weekends have a general coffee time and encourage the whole team to attend. Off campus activities are especially useful for this, particularly ones where people have to work together outside of their regular groups, Friday afternoon soccer in the park once a month has been used as a very effective team building tool.

Thanks to Dr. Vince Repaci, LOVR Atlantic!


#17- Encourage engagement

Photo Credit: Liselle Regueiro DeGrave

Advice on building effective teams: Building effective teams involves a process of first assessing the needs of the organization or project. By understanding the needs you can then determine who will work on the team. The strengths of the team members need to compliment each other in order to create a synergetic connection and accomplish goals. When people working together know one another well they feel comfortable and work most effectively. By encouraging engagement between coworkers teams form a bond that can create effective output.

Thanks to Liselle Regueiro DeGrave, DeGrave Communications, Inc.!


#18- Diversify your team

Photo Credit: Tyler Horvath

Building a good team is super important to having a successful business. Without the right team, you will most likely fail. The key to building a good team is diversity. Diversity in strengths, weaknesses, backgrounds and skill levels. If you are good at sales but a newbie when it comes to tech, then you should have someone on your team that specializes in tech. Build out your team with people who are experts in the things you are not. This way, you can put all of your strengths together as a whole to make decisions and take action.

Thanks to Tyler Horvath, Tyton Media!


#19- Leverage a strength-based system

Photo Credit:  Milissa Claire Rosberg

My biggest AHA coaching moments come when folks learn that they’re not supposed to be great at everything, but their collective team should be. Gallup data shows that 87% of all employees are unhappy at their current jobs because they crave greater satisfaction, achievement, fulfillment and happiness. The key to building team success is to leverage a strength-based system to articulate what makes them most valuable in the working world, and set a 90-day game plan for putting big ideas into action. Armed with ammunition and accountability, team members can best utilize their natural strengths and talents to excel faster in their careers while enjoying a life that they love.

Thanks to Pat Roque, Rock On Success!


#20- Listen and build a relationship with the team members

Photo Credit: Samanda Marshall-Sawyer

In order to build an effective team, it is important to first build a relationship with individuals on the team. This helps to create the know-like-trust factor before a specific goal or task has been given. It is important to establish a two-fold means of effective communication so that each individual develops a level of respect for one another. Team members are more likely to be transparent and open to communicate when they have the opportunity to speak as well as be heard.

Thanks to Samanda Marshall-Sawyer, Motivus Momentum Agency, LLC!


#21- Hire team players with a can-do attitude

Photo Credit: Deborah Sweeney

Build a team that has a positive, can-do attitude and approach to everything they do. This is key in the early days in business where all hands are on deck and everyone must be ready and willing to wear a lot of different hats. Hire and surround yourself with team players that come into work excited to be there and ready to work hard so the company, as well as their own selves, may learn and grow!

Thanks to Deborah Sweeney, MyCorporation.com!


 What advice do you have on building a team? Tell us in the comments below. Don’t forget to join our #IamCEO Community.

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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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