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Moving from one man show/entrepreneur to actually managing a team (or even one employee!) is a big deal. There are a lot of pitfalls to avoid, and lessons to be learned from those who blazed the trail for you. Growth and scale can be nurtured here or totally destroyed. Unfortunately, a lot of entrepreneurs don’t invest in this part of the process. In fact, the 2012 Allied Workforce Mobility Survey found that 35 percent of new companies spent a dismal $0 for onboarding. Not training, grooming or welcoming your new team is a horrible mistake.
A business’s team is its most valuable asset, either working together to move the organization forward or slacking in a way that causes it to lag behind. To remain competitive, it’s important that businesses not only recruit the best talent, but foster an environment that encourages team productivity and high morale.
As a business grows, a strong team of managers is essential to meeting deadlines and growing a client base. Good leaders can inspire employees to learn and grow within their positions. Bad managers can contribute to poor employee retention and damage a business’s reputation. Recruiting talented managers can be extremely challenging, however, with research finding that only one in 10 people possess the talent necessary to manage people. There are a few things leaders can do during the hiring process to locate the perfect candidates. Here are seven ways you can spot the standouts during the interview process and bring superstars into your organization.
Promote from Within
The best way to build your management team is internally. Keep a close watch on your employees and look for signs of leadership skills among them. Be creative. The best person to head up your sales team may not be your top salesman. It may not even be someone on the sales team. Look for someone who has confidence, good communication skills, and the ability to work as part of a team. If you can promote from within, you’ll send a good message to the entire staff that upward mobility is available within your organization.
Create a Corporate Culture
Good workers are naturally drawn to companies with a good culture. This is especially true at the leadership level, where professionals often thoroughly research a company before submitting a resume. Whether your business employs one person or 100, you already have a culture, whether it’s a professional, straight-laced one or a more casual, eclectic one. Create a culture that attracts the type of management team you want in place.
Look for Management Experience
One mistake hiring managers often make is in hiring for skills relevant to the position. A business hiring a team leader for its applications developers may isolate its search to those who have extensive experience in programming using a specific language. In actuality, you should look for signs that the person will be a good leader of your existing staff, rather than whether the person beats the rest of the team on coding experience.
Chances are, the best person for your management team is already employed elsewhere. Even if you aren’t hiring a manager right now, begin looking for great candidates at networking meetings and industry functions. If you see someone you think would make a great fit, don’t be afraid to discuss your business and get a business card. File it away and refer back to it once you’re ready to grow your management team.
Focus on Soft Skills
In recent years, businesses have begun to prize hard skills over soft skills as they’ve become more results oriented. Soft skills like communications skills, goal setting, and the ability to effectively delegate are essential to success as a manager, however, and can often be much more important than skills specific to the work itself. Consider those things that can be easily learned with a little training and balance that against things that are intrinsic to whom a person actually is. The latter can’t be changed.
Hire for Diversity
If you build a team of people who think exactly like you, you’ll likely stunt your own business’s growth. Instead, consider cultivating a team of managers from different backgrounds who will each bring a different perspective. When you sit down for a brainstorming session, you’ll get a wide variety of ideas that will help you choose the best direction.
Expand Your Search
Often geographic boundaries can limit a business’s search for a talented management team. If you’re limiting your search to a sixty-mile radius of your business, consider expanding that search. The cost of paying relocation expenses for a talented team member will be well worth the value they’ll bring to your organization. As you expand your search nationwide, you may even find someone who was interested in relocating to your city anyway. With the right management team in place, there’s nothing your business can’t accomplish. By working hard to recruit the right people and finding ways to retain those employees, you’ll build a team that can continue to lead your business in the right direction. Finding the right people to lead your team can be an intensive, time-consuming process, so be sure to allow yourself plenty of time to put together a great management team.