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How to Build a Winning Team 

Knowing how to build a winning team is essential. Whether you are starting a business, building a new team within a larger business or simply trying to improve performance, nothing is more important than the people who make up your team and the way you manage them.

People make a team fly, stall or fail. The right people in the right roles will give you a motivated, confident, efficient team who invest their energies in moving the business forwards. The wrong people, or the right people in the wrong roles, will lead to discontent, demotivation and inefficiency. 

People politics uses an enormous amount of energy for no positive return. It is one of the largest areas of waste in a business. Eliminate it. There is no place for people politics in a winning team.

How to hire a winning team

Many people now rely on recruiters to wade through oceans of applications for them, pre-screening the applicants. Unfortunately, recruiters are often trained to put square pegs in square holes. They are often under time pressure, and are incentivised to fill roles as quickly as possible, so only the most obvious CVs will be sent to you. This can work well, but it means that they miss talent that comes in slightly less usual packages. Some of the best people get overlooked by recruiters, either because they have followed an unusual career path, they’ve had a career break, or they’ve done something out of the ordinary. Recruiters screen mass applications quickly, so they usually reject unusual applicants. If you are working with recruiters make sure you choose highly intelligent recruiters and ensure that they understand what you are looking for. 

If you are not using recruiters, be open minded when reading a CV. Consider what skills someone needs to be able to do your role. For a sales position, you need someone who knows how to sell. You do not need someone who has been Head of Sales for 5 years. Look for the raw skills. For a CMO you need someone who is intelligent, emotionally intelligent, original and gets excited about marketing and technology. This will mean they stay up to date with the latest developments and that they are naturally thinking about how they could improve. You do not need someone who has been a CMO for 10 years. Think about the skills you need for the role, rather than just looking for someone who has done a role of the same name for a number of years. Some of the best thinkers are new to what they do. A person who has already done it for 10 years will likely only bring to your table what they brought to someone else 10 years ago. 

Be intelligent in your hiring choices. Think about them. Analyse them. Have confidence in raw talent and ability over those who have done something before. 

Keeping people in the right roles 

Once you have the right people, you need to be able to position them in the right roles and keep them in roles that deliver the most value and genius to your business. It is easy for good people to be motivated and perform highly in any role, for a while. But to keep people performing highly long term, you need them to be performing naturally. That means you need them to be acting in line with their personal genius. When we are acting in line with our personal genius things flow. Work doesn’t feel like work. It can be challenging and difficult, but it fits so neatly with our own natural skills, talents and brain psychology that it comes naturally. To keep people motivated and highly-performing in the long term you need to make sure that they are in a role that utilises their personal genius at least 50% of the time, preferably more. 

Understanding people to build a winning team

In order to understand their personal genius you need to understand what sort of person they are, and how their brain works. Some leaders can do this instinctively. Those leaders are highly valuable. If it is less instinctive for you, or if you just want to utilise additional tools to ensure that your instincts are correct, there are a number of online personality tests that can be used to help determine this. You can also use a workplace coach which is a service we provide - contact us for more info. The key is to keep dialogue open with your team. Talk to them regularly, watch them and see what tasks excite them and the tasks that don’t. When talking to someone about various tasks and responsibilities, you will be able to see points at which they become more animated. Those are the points where they are talking about something that aligns with their personal genius. Position your team in roles that they will naturally enjoy, because good people will always excel in roles they enjoy. 

Be understanding, compassionate and patient when good people run into challenges - we all face difficult times in life. Those times make us stronger, more empathetic, more compassionate. Support good people through tough times. Equally important in building a winning team is to remove toxic personalities and ensure toxic behaviour is not permitted, as it will kill the motivation of your team. Learn how to spot a toxic personality in our recent blog article.

Winning teams and management styles

winning team and management styles on ludo background

A note on management styles. Some leaders choose to adopt a style that encourages competition amongst their team, pitting team members against one another. They do this because they believe competition will drive people to strive to out-compete their rivals. In a way, it works - this style of management is considered to have successfully driven some of the worst atrocities in recent human history. It clearly has a forceful power - but it also clearly creates so much competition and ill-feeling that it warps objectives. A winning team is about a group of people who are motivated to make the business succeed, rather then further their own personal objectives. Encouraging an almost hunger-games-style competition amongst employees is a destructive style of management. It will eventually drive your best people away and consume your team with politics and point scoring. In the end, all this will do is create a huge amount of lateral movement, at the expense of your forward momentum and achievement of results. It might make you feel important as a leader when everyone is desperately vying to impress you, but it will not lead you to optimum success. Avoid this management approach. 

Instead, encourage people to do what they love and what they are good at. If you want to build a winning team hire people who are confident within themselves and not prone to insecurity. Insecurity in the workplace drives point-scoring and political games. Choose people who will not engage in those behaviours. Manage people fairly. See mistakes as learning opportunities and encourage open conversations around them. Avoid blame culture as this leads to people covering up the truth which causes more problems in the medium to long term. Read more about creating a healthy company culture.

Discover digital transformation and what makes it so vital in our recent post.

Volanto is a strategic growth consultancy specialising in digital transformation and tech driven growth. Building a winning team is one of our specialities. Contact us now to see how we can help you realise your potential

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