Don’t hire an entire team in one go
It’s difficult to build a team around your weaknesses, and mistakes will be made! Instead, build slowly, and work on establishing firm foundations with the people you hire early on before you move on to finding the next ones.
Test out different methods of communication
Don’t dismiss shyer characters. If an individual team member isn’t speaking up, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are not thinking. They might be better at writing down their thoughts. Give everyone an opportunity to be heard through different means of communication, not just in team meetings.
Early in your approach, you will find yourself wondering how to structure your team. This question is most often answered by one of two hierarchies — flat and traditional. We know that a lot of companies find the flat hierarchy approach more modern, but there are also benefits to the traditional route. It all depends on your expectations for your team. We break it down here.
For teams with flat hierarchies
Some teams work in a flat structure, meaning that no one is the “boss” of anyone else. This can be beneficial in that it allows specialists to pursue their work and make their own decisions, but it can also have the drawback of less experienced team members finding themselves in the deep end.
Keep regular meetings
Teams in flat hierarchies lean heavily on great communication. This can be extremely difficult if one side is a poor communicator, so to avoid roadblocks we recommend keeping the structure you would usually find in a hierarchy through regular meetings where everyone talks about their part of the project.
Keep everyone moving towards a common goal
Keeping everyone moving towards a common goal is so important in this type of team. If you’re in a single office, we recommend keeping the goal and individual milestones up on a whiteboard, which you can tick off and update as tasks get done. If you’re not in a single office, try to set up a shareable document in which team members can check in on a weekly basis.
For teams with traditional hierarchies
Traditional hierarchies have a simple structure that can keep work monitored and moving. These are also good options for training people to move up in a company. However, a hierarchical structure can dampen an entrepreneurial spirit among your team members, and you may find that it breeds resentment among those at the “bottom” of the ladder who may feel that those at the top are getting all the credit.
Aim for an organic approach
One of the benefits of traditional hierarchies is that they give people room to grow. One of the biggest reasons employees leave for other companies is when they feel that they have reached the limit of their career options with you. Once you have selected team members, then, make sure you support their growth within the company and set aside monthly call-ins to check their progress.
Keep coaching options available
Don’t forget about the people who are rowing the boat as well as those calling out the commands! Coaching your more junior colleagues will establish and build their trust in you, and ensure them that you are helping them to succeed and not thinking of them as a mere cog in the wheel.
Share work experiences
A great team will share information, be a part of the decision-making process, and can actually make the speed of making decisions much faster. And yet hierarchies can make it difficult to do so, because the same people tend to be present at the same meetings. It might not be possible on a weekly basis, but you can avoid this power differential by arranging monthly troubleshooting sessions so that everyone throughout the hierarchy gets a chance to talk about their work.
Choosing between traditional and flat hierarchies
Flat hierarchies demand trust and a wide range of talents. Even though they might sound better suited to the modern world than a traditional hierarchy, such structures where everyone takes equal accountability can make moving a project forward much more difficult to manage.
Leadership is a full-time job, and it rarely ends the moment you turn off the office computer! Aldrich & Co can help you to build a strong, supportive team. We’ll help you identify the strengths you need for your project and which ones need prioritising. If you’re an executive and would like help defining your requirements for your next team, call us. We’ll help you find the skills you want among our talented, London-based candidates.