There’s a lot to consider when it comes to building a perfect team for your company. On an individual level, of course you have to hire people who are beyond capable of doing the job. Yet there’s always more to it than that.
A team is made up of more than just a handful of individuals thrown into a room together. They have to be able to cooperate, synergise, solve problems, and add value beyond what they can achieve alone.
Let’s take a look at the qualities and subtleties that make a great team player, one that uniquely fits your company.
Strong Personal and Professional Traits
First of all, it’s important to focus on personal and professional qualities. Even though we are eventually constructing a coherent team, the foundation for this lies in the strengths (and weaknesses) of each individual.
There are certain team member qualities that an employer will nearly always look for when hiring. These include a high degree of self awareness, mastery of certain skills that are relevant to the job role, reliability, commitment, honesty and good communication. The list could go on, but I’m sure you get the picture.
Hiring a team of individuals with strong core traits will always help. Neglecting the basics in favour of more abstract ideas like company culture could land you in bother when workers fail to turn up and get the job done.
Before we do jump down a more abstract path, let’s just be out with it: results matter. Of course they do. Your company wants to hire people who will produce measurable, meaningful impacts on key company metrics, such as website views or conversions, product development or sales.
Take the example of James LeBron. As one of the picks for the NBA Futures Most Valuable Player, a team led by LeBron nearly always makes the NBA playoffs. Although he can’t be the whole team, LeBron makes a strong foundation to build from and drastically impacts the results of any team that he plays for.
Ironically, you wouldn’t want a full team of superstars. This would likely lead to massive ego-clashes and maybe even unhealthy competition within the company. Here we are touching on another point: balancing the team with different roles and personalities.
Having said that, team players should strive for excellence on an individual level, understand their role, and deliver consistently positive results.
Results do matter, and it’s often possible to measure metrics of both individual and team performance
Works Well With Others
A team is made up of more than the sum of its parts. It is the connection, creativity and spark between members that really generates extra value, as well as contributing to a more harmonic atmosphere in a team.
To draw on sports again, Trent Alexander-Arnold was one of the top players in the Premier League 2018/19 season when it comes to assists. Without him, Liverpool forwards like Salah and Mane wouldn’t have been able to score as many goals. The glory often falls to the team members who make the final touches, but a well functioning team works from the back.
Great team players understand their role in the team, whilst still being dynamic and adaptable enough to switch it up when needed.
Company culture is also important here. As well as getting along with teammates, a candidate should be the right fit for your company culture. Every company should have a firm understanding of its missions, successes and challenges, values and ethics. The more aligned the team is with the company culture, the more naturally motivated they will be in their work.
Paradox Of Individuality
As we have discussed, being a great team player is a lot to do with working well with others and aligning with company values. Yet to make a real contribution to the company, each member of the team, when and where appropriate, should be willing and able to bring in their own influence.
Otherwise, valuable team members risk dissolving completely into the group. This leads to a more static outcome overall.
Information needs to flow freely in as many directions as possible so that each individual can have an impact on a project, actively offering inputs and ideas, speaking out when needed, and working in ways which maximise their own output.
Therefore, being a great team member is something of a paradox. It is a fine balance between cohesion and individual impact.