So You Want a Kick-Ass Staff?

Create your own kick-ass staff—start by reading this.

The biggest challenge to assembling a kick-ass staff is lack of patience—in your own abilities and in the process. Thankfully patience can be learned, even if passion can’t. As awful as it may sound, process can be a good thing, and it can give you a way to harness your passion for the business and find people who share it. 

Look in the Mirror

To start, we as leaders need to admit we have weaknesses. Know that your greatest strengths can also be your greatness weaknesses. 

For me, I’m a top-line growth guy, so I tend to plow ahead with new ideas and initiatives, and not spend a lot of time on meetings and committees. However, experience has taught me that testing ideas before their rollout can save a lot of time and money. 

I now try to surround myself with people who are a little more conservative than I am to balance out my intensity. In my last leadership role, I had a partner who was more reserved and plotting, which was a perfect match to my “let’s just go for it” attitude. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses, as well as those of your team, means you can search for individuals who fill in the gaps.

Manage your Weakest Links

Once you pinpoint chinks in the armor, talk to other leaders in the industry or a related field to identify prospective employees who have the skills to shore them up. You’d be surprised at how many people want to be matched with the right team and culture, but they’ve never been reached out to or offered the right opportunity. 

Once you find a potential future rock star, be sure you like him or her. Sure, that sounds a bit basic, but it’s so true. If you don’t like someone emotionally, ethically and morally, it’ll be hard to charge the mountain with that person, let alone work with him or her day to day.

Encourage Initiative

Once hiring and training are complete, your job is to coach and counsel, not spoon-feed your staff daily duties. Give them space to work through projects and issues. Guide, question and suggest, but don’t do the work for them. In fact, I would recommend you stay hands off. If you’ve hired the right person, this individual will be self-disciplined, self-motivated and appreciate not being micromanaged. 

Don’t be afraid to challenge your team members. If you’re bringing on an accountant, have him spend a month or two on the operations side learning how the numbers actually come together. Have your new saleswoman spend some time at the home base to get a feel for what it takes to keep outselling. Push employees out of their comfort zones, and ask them to stretch their bandwidth.

Repeat Yourself Repeatedly

Lastly, consistent communication cannot be undervalued. 

It’s your job to ensure everyone understands the overall goals and mission. Review them weekly, monthly or quarterly. 

You may feel like a broken record sometimes, but to build a kick-ass team, you constantly need to remind everyone of the end game. 

Staff must be invested and believe in the goals and culture of the company. Otherwise, they won’t invest their time and energy into it. Work will simply be a job and not a mission.  

Perhaps most importantly, praise your staff members and thank them for their daily contributions.