Tanveer Naseer

Leadership Coach, Speaker, and Writer

How To Build Your Team For Success

No matter what industry your business is based in, all entrepreneurs and small business owners share one thing in common – the desire to see their business grow and become more profitable. In most cases, this drive leads to a focus on looking out for new markets or finding new ways to attract new customers. And yet, few business owners consider the importance that growing and developing their team of employees plays in helping their company to achieve greater prosperity and stability.

Indeed, in a recent survey among owners of the fastest growing small businesses in North America, over 77% of respondents said that “hiring the right people” played a significant role in their company’s ability to grow. Of course, many entrepreneurs and small business owners don’t start their companies so they can be in a position to lead others. Instead, most embrace the entrepreneurial spirit in order to ‘be their own boss’ and not to become someone else’s.

This is probably why many treat the hiring of new employees as if they were securing another vendor in their product supply chain. In other words, business owners tend to simply look for someone to pass off some of the issues they face in getting their products/services out into the hands of their customers. While this approach can help provide some short term gains, it prevents business owners from understanding the value employees offer to the future growth of their company.

So how can business owners develop a team of employees that will help propel the growth of their companies? Here are some tips on where to begin.

1. Find people that compliment your company’s strengths
Let’s face it – one of the things that makes it enjoyable to go to work everyday is being able to roll up our sleeves and collaborate with people we share a common bond with. This could be liking the same kind of music or movies, being able to relate to the same life experiences, and so forth. As the owner of your own business, it’s only natural that we’d like to find that common bond in those who we wish to hire as a member of our team.

However, what’s equally important is making sure you find people who can fill in the existing gaps found in your organization. As much as we all enjoy having others approve or support our viewpoints, we also need to make sure that we have people in our team who are able to see issues that remain outside our field of view and advise us accordingly of how our plans might be failing to address them.

Don’t forget that the most effective way to encourage innovation and gain access to unique approaches to product/service development is by fostering a diversity of voices in the make-up of your team.

2. Hand off responsibilities instead of micromanaging
Recently, after listening to one of my clients talking with pride about the current rise in revenue their company was achieving, I commented how this would be a great time for them to look into hiring some people to join their team. My client looked at me with dread and said “I have too much work already that I don’t have time to worry about making sure someone else is doing this work”. Unfortunately, my client’s impression about bringing new people into your team is a common one.

When you hire someone to join your company, you shouldn’t be thinking – or worse, expecting – that this person will need your constant supervision; in other words, the proverbial looking over their shoulders bit. Instead, your goal in expanding your team is to transfer responsibilities to others so you can turn your attention to the ever-changing needs of your growing company.

As such, when problems come up, entrust those you’ve hired to handle these issues instead of jumping in to put out the fires yourself. That should be, after all, the reason why you hired them in the first place.

3. Treat their position as more than just a job
While you might be viewing these new hires as team members who are there to help take some of the workload off your shoulders, it’s important that you consider the situation from their end if you really want to develop a strong team to help your company move forward.

For your new employees, these roles shouldn’t seem like mere jobs that need to be filled; instead, you need to create an understanding that these are career positions, with opportunities for professional growth as the company further develops and prospers. Although your employees might not have the same level of personal investment in your business as you do, you can still encourage that desire in them to see the company succeed by providing them with coaching and resources to grow so that in the future they can help with leading the new teams/divisions that will be created as your company grows.

Remember, employees are not just motivated by money. They spend almost half of their waking time working for you. They want to feel like that time is an investment, not just a necessary evil needed to pay the rent. Employees want to enjoy their work and their work environment. They want to feel good about their work and the company they work for. Filling these needs can go a long way to fostering a team of long term, loyal, and productive employees.

With this in mind, start making plans demonstrating a career path for your employees. Talk to them about what is required to grow from one level to the next and provide them with training opportunities in order to move up to these next levels. Be sure to also set up clear, measurable goals and expectations right from the start so that both your new employee and you can track their progress and see where they might need some additional help or training.

Although our objective might be to seek opportunities for our company to grow, it’s important that we recognize the change this will bring to our role in the business, as we move from being solely in charge of developing our company to helping with the development of others who we bring into the team to help our organization mature and prosper.

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11 Comments » | Tags: , , , , , , , , | June 1, 2010 by |

11 Comments
  1. On June 1st, 2010 at 8:58 AM Mary Jo Asmus said:

    Tanveer,

    Regarding "Employees are not just motivated by money" brought to mind a senior leader talking to a number of employees at the company where I worked; it was an early lesson in what motivated me (and others). He was making the case for us to be loyal to the company, to be more productive, and describing all of the things the company did for us. At that point in my career, I was quite "green" (and young!), but remember him saying that by the time we retired, we would have been paid a seven figure amount in salary and benefits – as if that would motivate us to be loyal and work harder! His declaration remains vivid to me as I remembered my reaction – anger. I, for one, didn't work there for that seven figure amount; I worked there because I enjoyed the work and was treated well by my manager; yet he never mentioned that.

  2. On June 1st, 2010 at 11:49 AM Tanveer Naseer said:

    Hi Mary Jo, I think this is an important point for all employers to remember because it really does affect a company's ability to grow and innovate. Yes, we all want to be suitably compensated financially for whatever efforts we contribute to the organization. But it's important that we understand that this is only the first step; that to take employee involvement to the next level – to really get that involvement that we see in the more successful companies out there – we need to show employees that their contributions matter to reaching the organization's objective. And by extension, the employees themselves matter to the organization as well.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this, Mary Jo. I'm sure we all entered the workforce rather green under the gills. I like to think that this is simply part of the journey to helping us figure it all out.

  3. On June 1st, 2010 at 2:13 PM Gwyn Teatro said:

    Another great post, Tanveer.

    I think too, that part of the selection process needs to include a look at the alignment of core values between the company and the individual.

    I hazard to say that many companies spend so much time looking for technical strengths and abilities, they forget to look at how a prospective employee might fit into its culture.

    It can be tempting to overlook this when a candidate is particularly well qualified. And yet, a misalignment between what's important to the candidate and what's important to the company could turn something potentially positive into a negative.

  4. On June 1st, 2010 at 10:18 PM Tanveer Naseer said:

    Thanks Gwyn; I appreciate that.

    And that’s an excellent point you bring up about taking into account whether a prospective employee will fit in an organization’s culture. I think you’re absolutely right that there is a tendency to focus on the technical abilities a new hire would bring to the business, especially when employers are simply looking for someone to help take some of the workload off their plate. That’s why I think it’s important for employers to determine what’s the potential for growth in these positions as it will help develop a clearer understanding of their organization’s future needs and focus, and how potential hires can fit into such plans.

    Thanks again, Gwyn, for bringing this point up in this discussion.

  5. On June 2nd, 2010 at 2:18 AM Amanda Martin said:

    How not to build your team

    Was a recent post I wrote reflecting some bad things that were happening to friends at work.

    As always Tanveer you've gone to the key of the issue. That we increasingly work to feel part of something bigger than just money (money is still great).

    This means that we also have become far more aware of how we and others are treated at work – the culture, the leadership and thinking that inspires us or brings us to despair.

    I've been reflecting on the Enron "smartest people in the room" issue and what this means for all types of organisations. I often work with the public sector and have been assessing ways to deal with the drive for some leaders to be the only one with the ideas which can be incredibly disabling for staff.

    On a positive note, I believe that our interest in where we work and what it stands for is beginning to shape much more interesting, dynamic and creative organisations (yes, even in the public service).

    Amanda

  6. On June 2nd, 2010 at 7:30 AM Tanveer Naseer said:

    Thanks Amanda; I'm glad you enjoyed this piece.

    In regards to your point about the approach some leaders have of thinking they should be the only one to generate ideas, I think this is often a result of our offering positions of leadership due to a person's technical aptitude, as opposed to their ability to empathize and motivate those around them. Obviously, in these cases the offering of a leadership position is done to reward talented individuals in their organization. Ironic how in those circumstances, businesses appreciate that money is not enough to motivate their team members.

    In any case, just as hiring someone new to join an organization's growing team, the selection of someone to lead others shouldn't be limited to addressing some short-term issues, like coming up with a tactic to reward talent among the ranks. Instead, the focus should be on who will be serve both the team, and consequently the organization, in reaching their shared objective.

    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts on this, Amanda. I'll be sure to check out your piece detailing the experiences of your friends dealing with a poor team setting.

  7. On June 2nd, 2010 at 7:44 AM Jim Matorin said:

    Tanveer:

    My apologies – I am rusty in this area since my business model entails outsourcing/crowdsourcing, whatever the latest buzz is. However, flashing back to my days in Corporate America:

    Alignment of core values key, but building on Gwyn's input, I think it is critical for a leader, once the team is assembled, to take time out and go through the exercise where everyone shares their core values. Tough exercise, but it builds respect and trust long term amongst team mates.

    Timely stuff.

    Jimmy

  8. On June 2nd, 2010 at 3:42 PM Tanveer Naseer said:

    No apologies are necessary, Jimmy. I welcome the opportunity to hear the thoughts and ideas from people from all the different circles of business out there. Regardless what the initiative, when humans are involved, there is bound to be overlaps in concepts and ideas with other areas.

    A sense of shared core values among members of a team is very important as it goes a long way to making sure not only everyone has the same objective, but that they’re in it together. It’s vital that businesses move beyond looking for mere technical aptitudes and evaluate whether potential employees will really fit in, that they’ll have a sense of belonging and sharing the team’s shared goal.

    I saw that video showcasing one of Dan Pink’s talks about his book “Drive”. Thanks for sharing it with my readers, Jimmy, as well as for adding your thoughts to this discussion.

  9. On June 2nd, 2010 at 9:22 PM Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach said:

    Hi Tanveer,
    Your list is spot on. I will RT your post on Twitter so all can use what you have written.

    All the best!
    Kate Nasser

  10. On June 2nd, 2010 at 10:38 PM Tanveer Naseer said:

    Thanks Kate; I’m glad you enjoyed this piece and it’s nice to see you here. Thanks also for the offer to share this piece with others in your Twitter stream. I’m looking forward to reading your piece to learn more about your thoughts on the issue of fostering a successful team.

  11. On February 2nd, 2017 at 2:01 AM Achal Ghai said:

    An Entrepreneurs understands the best ways to handle risk, They understand what it implies to take threat. They see their challenges as success as well. You as an entrepreneur should know where your level fits in due to the fact that if you do not know, you are just wasting your time in the entrepreneurship world.

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