Written by: Kelsey Chalifoux

When you conjure up an image of a cohesive team of personalities working together, what does the list of people look like? Developing a successful team is a complex and intricate task that tests managers and executives across the board. How do you alleviate some of the stressors and challenges that being at the helm can present? Stack your roster.

Know your players and what roles they fit into, what traits they bring to the table and how they best serve the team in working toward your common goal. This helps give direction in making hires strategically, while also ensuring that your team is firing on all cylinders and remembering that while it may seem stifling at times, a healthy team strikes a fluid balance between risk-takers and the risk-averse. So, taking into account there will always be differences from one organization to the next, there are still some common threads out there to look for:

  1. The Natural Born Leader. This individual has an innate ability to lead the pack.  They see the task at hand from all angles, understand what needs to be done to get from point A to point B, know their colleagues’ strengths and how to appropriate delegate the necessary tasks, and keeps their eye on the prize. These individuals are often relatable and approachable, well organized, self-motivated, and can answer the question, “tell me about your five year plan” without skipping a beat. They not only have the vision, but the know-how for achieving it.
  1. The Innovator. The Innovator is just that. They are creative and uninhibited, risk takers by nature and always seeking ways to improve upon current processes, ideas and systems. They challenge the norm and don’t just live in anticipation of “the next great thing,” but rather, go looking for it. They ask lots (and lots) of questions, seek to understand, challenge existing ideas, and demonstrate a great deal of unconventional thinking. The old adage, “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it,” couldn’t be less applicable to The Innovator.
  1. The Undying Enthusiast. Every team needs a cheer leader, an excitable ball of energy to boost morale when the inevitable bump in the road arises. They are tirelessly enthusiastic about the project at hand and they know how to put a positive spin on anything. This individual is often times the motivating force and the relief in high stress situations, keeping tension low and frustration at bay. The Undying Enthusiast has an upbeat attitude, an ease in group settings, and is charismatic and eager. You might fail to see this person’s worth on paper at first, but rest assured, they will become an integral part of your work environment.
  1. The Great Debater. You know that guy in your meetings who starts every sentence with, “yeah but what if…” big eye roll coming his way, right? Wrong. He’s actually an essential part of your operation. Every well rounded group needs someone who isn’t afraid to oppose popular opinion. The Great Debater listens to your perspective or idea, considers it quietly, and then challenges it for the greater good of the group. They likely engage in a great deal of observing, researching and listening which allows them to provide an alternative view point – and annoying as it is, it’s healthy and crucial to any team’s performance. This person is intellectual, may come off as an introvert at first, and is thorough in the decision-making process. We should be as appreciative of them as we are annoyed of them!
  1. The Work Horse. The last player every championship team has is The Work Horse. This person is a doer, they may not offer groundbreaking insight or stellar ideas to your project, but instead, they are always willing and ready to get their hands dirty. They follow directions well, they exhibit a dedicated work ethic and are committed to the completion of anything with which they are tasked. As the dependable executor they are, The Work Horse is essential to the function of the group so don’t be too quick to dismiss the “strong and silent type.”

The DNA of your team is the first indicator of your company’s success. Embrace variety and always keep things interesting.

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