How A Great Leader Builds A Strong Team For The Future
A good leader knows how to lead, but a great leader knows and acknowledges their shortcomings and weaknesses and plans for these gaps. Here are a few steps in which newly onboarded leaders can build a better team for the future.
Step 1: Assess
New leadership represents change across the organization at every level. Typically, a new leader will settle into their role in the first few months and be able to experience and observe firsthand not only the responsibilities of the role but also the wider team. Within these first few months, a new leader should also be assessing and considering what changes (if any) need to be made within the team. Assessing internal team members will help a new leader understand more about the core team including,
Learning and Communication Styles
Work and Behavioral Attributes
Overlaps In Knowledge or Responsibilities
Personal Values and Professional Goals
Taking all of this information into account, a new leader can identify the strongest and weakest team players, redundancies, and opportunities for growth within the team. Conducting this initial assessment when building your team for the future is critical because you may uncover the root of a problem or issue, discover a completely untapped skillset, or identify new pathways of success for team members.
Step 2: Promote & Plan
Now that you have done your due diligence and carefully assessed the wider team it is time to create a roadmap for building out your team. First, start by examining your shortcomings and identify any team members that are high performers and possess these skill sets or are exceptional in any areas you may not have much experience in. Ask yourself:
How can I partner with this individual and how can we leverage their strengths?
Should they be reporting to a different manager or on a different team?
What blindspots can they fill in for you?
What is their path to success within the organization?
This will lay the groundwork for planning to build out your team starting with the talent immediately available to you. Set out a plan for where these individuals can contribute more effectively, help support your leadership goals, and drive success. In some cases, these stakeholders may simply need to be promoted or placed on a different team to deliver better results.
Step 3: Support
For a great leader, part of the process beyond promoting or reorganizing teams is succession planning for employees that are no longer a good fit. Many new leaders will quickly uncover the team members that have exhausted the potential or value they bring to the position. It is always critical to maintain a positive relationship with these contributors for several reasons including:
They will be responsible for knowledge transfer and a clean handover
Your company’s reputation is at stake
You can be seen as an industry resource or mentor instead of an enemy to them
Set this individual up for success by having transparent and open conversations with them. If they begin to look elsewhere for work, start planning for who can fit into the role in the interim, be supportive of their transition and be a resource for them. This is the hardest part of being a great leader, but a critical part of building a strong team around you.
Step 4: Reframe
Regardless of whether you need to replace a team member that has left or backfill for an internal promotion, there is always an opportunity for improvement. Good leaders will replace an individual promptly, but great leaders will see the chance for strategic realignment and creativity. Sometimes the processes, responsibilities, and reporting structures around a role will adapt and change dramatically over time. Before you consider hiring for this role, carefully look at the wider team and ask yourself:
Are there others already doing this work?
Can this role report to a different leader?
Can this role stretch across two departments to drive success and collaboration?
What skills are severely lacking across the entire team?
Should this role be more support or execution-based?
What current or future products or services can this role develop and grow with?
Why are we hiring for this role?
All of these steps are part of the journey a great leader should take or consider when building out a stronger team for the future. Some of these can be supported by internal talent acquisition and talent management teams, however, in some cases bringing in an objective third-party to serve as a trusted advisor can yield better results than working within the confines of your organization.
About The Author
With over 10 years of experience in search and business operations, Julian is a highly diligent and efficient marketer and operations manager. He is a proven leader who combines creative thinking and strong communications with operational strategy, business development, recruitment operations, and digital marketing. Julian joined Chapel Hill Solutions to modernize the recruitment industry’s approach. He is passionate about creating a transparent and collaborative relationship with his clients.