Two giants are set to face off--each champions in their own right battling for the ultimate title. What will it take to win? A team that thinks systematically, makes best use of their talent and executes is an obvious choice, right? Then why is this truth easily forgotten when building teams at work?
I get it: "cultural fit" is a big deal. However, hiring based on personality alone is risky. It can create homogenous teams that are unbalanced and inflexible. Imagine a whole team of quarterbacks - who would catch the passes?
To address this concern, assessments and behavioral interviewing methods can be leveraged to address gaps and create well-rounded teams. (The insights below were discovered through the use of the Predictive Index.)
Here are five focus areas to create a winning team:
1. Autonomy vs. Harmony
This comparison addresses the concept of an "A" type personality - those who tend to be more independent, competitive, ambitious and adventurous. While "A" types are not a blast to pick a movie with (it will usually be their choice), they are vital to your team's stability. "A's" are goal oriented and take control when things need to get done.
To complement the "A's," however, every team needs the harmony seekers. They naturally encourage, empathize, and collaborate. They do not 'rock the boat' and work cooperatively with assertive employees.
When a balance is reached, teams will be self-starting and momentum-sustaining.
2. Task-Focused vs. People-Focused
Your team needs a balance of introverts and extroverts. Introspective employees are natural researchers, imaginative, and analytical. These are the "to-do" list masters that do their best thinking in private. They are task-focused and intentional about their priorities and their time.
Conversely, your people-oriented employees will be more conceptual and social - the natural connectors. They do their best thinking out loud when they can interact with others. They are influencers with the ability to persuade and generate enthusiasm.
When you have the right mix, teams are better positioned to take ideas from concept to reality.
3. Speedy vs. Steady
There are times to grab the bull by the horns, and times to be patient. Employees who work at a faster pace are wired for multitasking. It is easier for them to juggle priorities and deal with time pressure. Because they are "drivers," employees with a high sense of urgency will proactively embrace change and find ways to convert variety into opportunity.
Your steady employees are more tolerant, calm and thoughtful listeners. They welcome familiarity and have an easier time focusing on methodical work. With time, steady employees build steadfast processes.
In balance, teams achieve both versatility and consistency.
4. By the book vs. What book?
Are you "by the book" or do you demand flexibility? Employees who crave formality are naturally detail oriented. They have a need for certainty and clarity - aka rules. They make sure things do not fall through the cracks by focusing on precision, caution, and organization.
This does not mean that employees on the opposite end of the spectrum are rebels. It means they have an inherent tendency to think outside the box, to challenge the status-quo, and to put a personal touch on whatever they are doing. These employees embrace ambiguity and view rules as guidelines as opposed to laws.
Balance in this area ensures that teams operate within parameters and have the ability to innovate.
5. Subjective vs. Objective
There are people who make decisions with intuition and those who need empirical evidence. Objective thinkers will seek precedents and logic for validation. With supporting details, they will make choices swiftly and without fail. They will let you know when a decision "makes sense."
Subjective thinkers have an easier time relying on instinct. Whoever said there is no room for emotion in business forgot that we are all human. (We all know that certain situations require compassion.) These employees will let you know when a decision "feels right."
NERD ALERT (Star Trek reference): Picture Captain Kirk and Spock. Kirk makes many 'gut' decisions. He is passionate and at times irrational. Spock is emotionally detached. He is calculating and robotic. The point is: without Spock, Kirk would be dead and vice versa. They make a great team because together, they make balanced decisions.
When team building, seek diversity and cultivate transparency around varied work styles. A "super bowl" caliber team has top talent, but more importantly, they understand how to maximize it and play together in service of a common goal. A well-balanced team in which members know and understand their roles and are celebrated for their unique contributions can win together - on the field or in the workplace.