The Biggest Mistake Leaders Make When Building a Dream Team

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Every leader wants to build a dream team. But there’s a common mistake that prevents some teams from ever getting there.

Imagine what your ideal team would look like. What are the strengths of the team? What are its characteristics? What are its values?

Now look at your present team. Chances are some of the team members already embody these qualities you want, some are ok, and some are not even close.

Your job is turn this present team into your dream team.

The mistake many leaders make is to begin by focusing on the weakest links.

The key to building a dream team is to start by building on the qualities of your strongest team members.

For example, I took on a new leadership role soon after the economy collapsed in 2008. My first challenge was to begin building a dream-team, in a very tight economic reality. In fact, we would need to lay off staff.

I met with some senior staff and the first question I was asked was “How are we going to determine who gets let go?”

“Wrong question.” I answered. “We begin by focusing on the strengths of the best team members.”

In our case there were three specific qualities I wanted to embed in our team:

–      A great, positive attitude,

–      A hard work ethic

–      Versatility; I wanted people who could fill multiple roles.

I said to our senior leaders, “Start by identifying those team members who best embody these qualities. They will form our new core.”

I must stress that those we laid off were great people, but to build our dream team required relentless focus on those who already possessed the qualities we wanted.

There is a real temptation to build a team by putting disproportionate time and energy into shoring up the weakest links.

But putting your energy there is the wrong starting place.

Instead, to build a dream team,

  1. Create a clear picture of your dream team’s qualities,
  2. Identify the team members who possess those qualities,
  3. Pour your leadership energies primarily into their growth,
  4. Don’t ignore the others, but don’t be sidetracked by them either.

Focus here, and watch what happens.

A dream team could emerge right before your eyes.

How do you build your dream team?

the author

Scott Cochrane

Lifelong learner, practitioner and coach of leadership, across more than 50 countries. Follower of Jesus, husband of Nora, grateful parent and grandparent.

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