I recently moderated a panel discussion on interview skills for college students. The panelists were from top companies in financial services, technology, consulting, and fashion retail. One of the trends that emerged from the discussion was the expectation that entry level employees have strong skills to be part of a team.
The evolution towards team focus parlays to managers: You need to hone what is important in leading successful teams in addition to managing individual efforts. This begins with the ability to assess the strengths and weaknesses of team members.
Skill assessment: You already know the core skills of each of your employees. In more of a team environment, competencies such as interpersonal and collaborative skills become more important. Use a skills assessment to objectively evaluate these and other job-based skills.
Rotate leadership: Rotate the leader role so each person has the opportunity to run projects and develop their leadership abilities. If you have the same team leader all the time, the other members will be demotivated.
Cross mentoring: Team members can mentor each other, either within the team or across teams. Everyone can benefit from mentoring and this is a great way to cultivate team dynamics.
Organization skills: Teams need to stay on target and meet deadlines, so make sure that these skills are emphasized and continually improved. It doesn’t matter what you do with the content of the project if the team can’t manage the pace.
Problem-solving skills: Teams run into obstacles, so the ability to sort through and overcome these is essential. Cultivating problem-solving skills will pay off in every initiative.
You may need to play cop as your teams develop. Human nature will present challenges such rivalries, holding back information, and snubbing other, so be prepared to intervene.
I’m interested in your experiences, so feel free to email me with your thoughts or if you’d like some information on skills assessments.
Have a great week!