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Building a Great Team — A Lesson

Here are the 10 most important learnings from this journey

Photo by Clark Tibbs on Unsplash

This story is based on my experience working with a lot of amazing people in the content marketing team at iPrice Group. Here are the 10 most important learnings from this journey:

#1 (Really) Teach what you preach

People will directly or indirectly replicate how their leaders behave. If we want people to read, we need to read. If we want people to be creative, show what creative behavior looks like. If we want people to put their heart into their work, put ours.

“Monkey sees, monkey do”.

#2 Build, develop, and reward a learning behavior

Learning is one of the biggest factors for people to join or leave a team company. It’s also one of the most crucial skills in any organization. If it’s done well, the team can be really-really effective and performs really well.

Everyone wants people to learn. But to learn we need to have a supportive environment. We need to build + continuously develop + reward the behavior of learning.

Give people a chance to learn something new or level up their understanding of a certain topic. And when people learn, reward their behavior. As simple as saying “Good learnings!” or until the extent of asking them to do a sharing session with the rest of the team.

#3 Put extremely high standard on the hiring

IT’S THE PEOPLE. “People are the foundation of any company’s success”
via Trillion Dollar Coach

  • Make an easy to digest + compelling job description in any openings in your team
  • Do a passive search and ask for a recommendation from “high performers”
  • Provide pre-screening questions in the application form. This is to help you to do an early check of the applicants. Highly recommended as this saves a lot of your time.
  • Prepare a set of questions to check all aspects from the candidate: behavioral + technical
  • Form a case study to understand more detail about their understanding of the topics and ability to produce something
  • Give chance + encourage the candidates to ask you questions 
  • (If possible) Asked your other team members to have a chat with the candidates.

The process might be slightly longer, but it’s really worth it.

#4 Genuinely care with your team & invest time to coach them

One of our main responsibilities as a manager is to develop our people. Spending time with them so they can learn the most important skills they need to have to be really successful in their role now (Technical & Behavioral)

To do this effectively, we need to genuinely care about their personal and career growth. Always ask questions and clarify what areas they are really interested in + need to learn at their stage now. Never assume. Whenever you see progress, congratulate them and let them know they are progressing. It’s important because people want to know whether they are progressing or not.

#5 Create a safe environment for people to discuss, debate, and disagree

High-Performing Teams Need Psychological Safety” via HBR.

Be super-super explicit to everyone in the team that it’s totally ok to openly share their opinion (even if it’s different); it’s okay to disagree (as long as they have a strong reason), and it’s okay to debate on a topic (as long they are being respectful to each other). As a manager, continuously remind people about this. Show an example of how to do it right, and reward people that promote this value.

#6 Proactively ask for feedback from team members + act on it

Naturally, people hate feedback. But at the same time, we know it’s super valuable.

Make people understand why it’s extremely valuable to have this mentality in the team (Why?). Once they understand the why, give them a regular example (day to day basis) on how to give good feedback + how to openly receive one. The top recommendation when it comes to this is the Book by Kim Scott Radical Candor. You can check their blog here.

#7 Encourage & trust your team to try and do an experiments 

Most of you who read it probably work in tech companies, or if not working in a company that wants to be successful. So one of the keys is to continue innovating. Coming up with new ideas + testing them out.

Observe any problem or challenges you have in your team and ask people “So do you guys think we can do about it?” Really listen to all the ideas and let them own it and test their solution.

#8 Be very clear and explicit with what we expect from the team

Never ever assume people know what’s in our minds. They are not mentalists. Want people to be punctual in a meeting? Tell them. Want people to be respectful with each other? Tell them. Being explicit sometimes is not easy. But it’ll save a lot of time for everyone.

#9 Celebrate wins and learnings

Whenever people learn something new or achieve something (small or big) celebrate in a team. Let people know that their hard work is important and people are aware of it. Especially you as their manager.

Few ideas (During this Covid 19 period) 

  • Create a chat group to “celebrate wins & achievements”, 
  • Publicly mention the work + the person on social media (LinkedIn/ Twitter)
  • Send small gifts (food)
  • Have a dedicated session to thank other people

#10 Learn to tell jokes

The rationale is to bring fun elements into your team. You don’t need to be a stand-up comedian. Just learn to tell a few jokes and be fun in the team! 

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Written By

Andrew is a Regional Head of Content Marketing at Revou. Follow him on LinkedIn.

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