Building a high-performing team involves hiring people with technical, functional, and cultural skills.
As the leader of a high-performing team, you’re personally responsible for making sure your team has the required set of skills to succeed and execute against all the initiatives that you have on your prioritization list. You need to evaluate your team’s mission. You need to look at the key initiatives. And then, you need to map out the skills and capabilities required to succeed.
You have to assess your existing team and see which skills you have, which ones you don’t, and which team members might be detractors from what you’re trying to achieve. You also have to think about and understand your team’s culture, which is driven by the vision of what you’re trying to achieve as well as the broader organizational culture. Do your team members fit within that culture? We’ve all seen people who are great performers and can get the task done, but they don’t work well with the other members of the team. Your job as a leader is to either help them fit in or find resources who are going to be more appropriate fits for the broader team. So you have to think about several types of skills that are required as you build this high-performing team.
First, technical skills. Perhaps it’s coding, or doing analysis, or writing, or creating documents. These are technical skills required to turnout the products and services your team is responsible for.
The second type of skill is functional skills. These are skills like problem-solving, strategic planning, decision-making, communicating, and presenting. These are soft skills that people need to bring to the table to execute against the initiatives on your prioritization list.
The last type of skill is a little bit different than we traditionally think about, which I call role-based or cultural skills. Things like, is this person a leader? Or can they fulfill the role of being the devil’s advocate? Are they your team optimist, the cheerleader?
Once you’ve identified the different types of skills you need, you then need to assess your team. List out what each of those people bring to the team.
Next, look at some of the skills or characteristics the person might bring that are detractors from performance. For example, if you have a creative team that’s trying to churn out a bunch of new ideas, but you have a balance that is focused more on task masters who are saying, “Great ideas, but let’s focus and let’s get stuff done,” the team might be out of balance with that set of skills. And those things can be detractors that will prevent that team from being high-performing.
Last, look at that list of required skills. Go back to the initiatives you’re pursuing and figure out which of those skill sets do you have. Then, identify the gaps. Your job as a leader is to identify the types of people you need and hire them. By understanding the technical skills, the functional skills, and the role-based skills required to deliver on your team’s mission, you’re going to be able to create the right mix of people with the right skills that will help that team succeed.
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