Do You Have the Right People on Your Team?

It seems like the question/issue that continues to be as crucial as any is this:

“How do I hire the right people?”

You can ask it any number of ways:

How do I find the right people?
How do I put my teams together in the best way, with the right mix of the best people?

But, any way you ask it, it boils down to this:  the wrong people are disastrous, to not-good, for the organization.  The right people provide great promise and hope, and then effectiveness and progress and increasing productivity.

I see some hint of this challenge in nearly every business book I read.  I have written recently about Jeff Bezos’ view (from The Everything Store):

Hire smart people (and, who are smart people? — people who “get to the answers first”)
Hire people who will make the team better (never hire people who will make the team not-as-good)

So, recently, I was taking to a group about the “how do you get work done effectively” challenge for teams in an organization.  And as we talked, I realized that there are basically five types of team members.  Take a look:

The Good
The “Makes Everyone on the Team Better” Team Member
The “Right Kind of Ambitious – Always Striving to Get Better, Constantly Improving his/her Skills – Yes, for his/her own Career, but Also to Help the Team as a Whole Get Better” Team Member
The “Reliable Worker” Team Member – always gets his/her work done well, thoroughly – is execution personified!

The Bad
The “Slacker” Team Member – does not do his/her work thoroughly, and other team members have to make up the slack.  Other team members do not like or appreciate the slacker among them!  They grow to resent the slacker.

The Ugly
The “Underminer” Team Member – literally undermines the work of others on the team, thus harms the entire team in the process.

Now, if every team had zero underminers, and zero slackers, then such teams would be far more productive, and effective, and profitable for the company overall.

But, the bad ripple effects of underminers and slackers can be devastating.

So, three simple questions:

#1 — Are you a good, a bad, or an ugly team member?

If you are a bad team member, or worse, an ugly team member,!

If you are a good team member, you are, and will continue to be, in great demand.  I definitely want you on my team.

#2 – Do have any good team members on your team?  If so, encourage them, nurture them, thank them, respect and appreciate them….  You want to keep them happy, because they are valuable indeed.

#3 – Do you have any bad team members on your team? If so, understand quickly that the morale of the entire team is in great jeopardy.  Either “fix them,” of “get them off the team!”  A slacker, and especially an underminer…  well, not good for any team.

Assuming that the team is working on the “right thing to work on” (that is another challenge, isn’t it?) it really is all about the people on the team, isn’t it?


Randy Mayeux

Contributed by:
Randy Mayeux
Professional Speaker & Writer
Co-founder, First Friday Book Synopsis

3 responses

  1. A very revealing and helpful interview question is “Tell us about your last 3 jobs and your last 3 bosses.” Then listen for whether the applicant’s answer is positive or negative in tone. Hire the “positives”.

    1. That’s a great idea, David. No need in being the next “worst boss” that person ever worked for, right? Thanks for your comments!

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