"Casting" Your Team

Thinking Outloud: Musings and reflections from our adventures in succession and leadership coaching.


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"Casting" Your Team

Building a successful team can be much like casting a film – you can have all kinds of talent on the set, but if they don’t connect with each other, or if there is no chemistry igniting a creative spark between your players, your project will most likely fall flat of expectations. When you have individuals competing for control, to be the star player, or simply not interested in collaborating to reach solutions, you will be setting yourself for potential disaster. In Hollywood this is commonly referred to as “A Flop.”

How can you make sure you are building a synergistic team?
One way to help guide the selection process is by using a personality styles assessment tool that will create a baseline for understanding each individual’s communication, leadership, task orientation and decision making styles. For example, in a demanding sales environment, you can increase success by looking for high extroverts who are energized by personal interaction and are very adaptable. They need to be self-motivators who can think on their feet and close the deal. Some assessments, like the ProScan® Personality Styles Survey, also provide insight in what is currently causing energy drain or stress, which will reduce satisfaction and detract from their performance.

What are the signs your leadership team isn’t gelling?
Every personality is valuable and dynamic; and self-awareness is the first step in self-management. For example: If you hire a control-oriented, reserved communicator to lead a collaborative team that is accustomed to brainstorming, the indirect ‘teller’ style of the new manager will most likely be perceived as unfriendly and bossy. Team members will feel less valued, become disenfranchised and frustrated, leading to increased tension, absences or resignations. With proper feedback and coaching, this manager can be more aware of how she is communicating to her team, being conscious of soliciting feedback and discussion before making decisions, and remembering to let others take responsibility when appropriate. Conversely, the team can be made aware of their manager’s natural styles, which will help them to be more understanding and not interpret her reserved demeanor to be anything more than what it is.

Unleashing the power within your organization
Now your team is put together and ready to go. The diversity of perspectives from various parts of your management team always brings fresh creativity to problems and issues being addressed. A group of strong willed, independent managers who may be good as independent leaders are often initially marginal as followers and team players. As teamwork is not typically a natural trait for ambitious personalities, they are usually an outspoken group who at first may struggle to operate like a team. Combining the individual personality styles assessments into a team analysis to help your team learn how to work together, communicate effectively and understand what behaviors can lead to conflict will help get them off to a positive start.
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