No successful leader is ever an island. It is very rare and practically unheard of for a successful entrepreneur to survive as a solo operation even in the age of the Internet. Eventually, often sooner than later, you will need to call in support in order to grow your business. This can be tricky if you haven’t managed employees or contractors before, and the learning curve is steep unless you prepare yourself with some education in the process.
It may take some trial and error to find people who are reliable and willing to work as hard for your business as you are, as well as to let go of your need to control every detail. The best way to ensure you are building the kind of team that will improve and inspire your brand is to follow these steps while you are in the process of creating your dream team.
1. Listen to your gut.
First impressions really can be everything. You may find yourself not wanting to judge your prospects based on this, but especially when you may have a lot of applicants you want to be crystal clear about the image you want your team members to portray. For you it may not mean appearance as much as attitude, depending on your business priorities. Listen to your gut when you meet with your interviewees and use your intuition to give you that extra edge when the resumes are equally as qualified. What energy do you want to be surrounded by day in and day out?
2. Focus on character first.
Skills can be acquired and nurtured far more easily than character. The truth is that integrity, honesty, loyalty and all around good character are harder to come by than skill or talent. This is certainly not the quick and easy way, as it may take you longer to find someone who is a fit. You will save yourself time and frustration in the long run when you hire a qualified individual based equally on their character.
3. Consider culture a high priority.
Former Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh’s bestselling book, Delivering Happiness, speaks to the power of business culture to create success. His research shows that companies with a higher sense of purpose outperform those without by 400 percent, noting more retention, increase in sales and productivity, fewer sick leaves, less burnout and more. One need only look to Google and Apple for further examples of how culture creates success. Will a potential teammate embody your culture and purpose? Lay the cultural foundation from the beginning.
4. Advisors are a necessity.
You absolutely need to add advisors to your team if you haven’t found them already. Business veterans, old and young alike, who have “been there, done that” can save you a lot of money and heartache along the way. Invest in coaches and mentors whose experiences can enrich your perspective.
5. Don’t be afraid to let go.
Firing people sucks -- it just does -- especially if you have a heart, which hopefully you do. Be sure to invest in some emotional intelligence training and compassionate communication. When it becomes apparent that you have made a poor choice in your hiring, you will need to let go of those who just aren’t working out on the team. At some point it will probably happen and, rather than be dragged down by a poor team member, do what’s best for the company.
You are in charge of leading your team. Step up to the challenge and seek out advice from those who have been there before while taking 100 percent responsibility for breakdowns. You will thrive with the right team behind you and so much more will be possible for your business and your life.