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  • Writer's pictureUlrika Gustafson PCC LL.M

Building a Balanced Team: Leveraging Individual Strengths and Overcoming Challenges

Creating a balanced team, where each member excels in different areas, is a key responsibility for leaders. It requires a deep understanding of each individual's strengths and challenges, and the ability to orchestrate these diverse talents towards a common goal. In my role at HAMILTON THERRELL Executive Advisors, I've supported leaders in developing such teams. Here's a practical guide on how to build a team where diversity in skills and capabilities is not just recognized, but strategically leveraged:

Conduct Thorough Individual Assessments

Start by conducting comprehensive assessments of each team member. This involves understanding their skills, interests, personality traits, and work styles. For instance, working with a leader in a tech company we used a combination of personality tests, skill assessments, and performance data to gain insights into each team member's strengths and areas for improvement.

Foster an Environment of Open Communication

Creating an atmosphere where team members feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas is crucial. A healthcare executive I worked with encouraged open dialogue through regular team meetings and one-on-one sessions. This helped in understanding each individual’s perspectives and creating a culture of trust and respect.

"Great teamwork is the only way we create the breakthroughs that define our careers." - Pat Riley

Utilize Skill Mapping

Skill mapping is an effective tool for visualizing the competencies within your team. A finance sector client mapped out the skills of each team member, identifying areas of strength and overlap. This visual tool helped in identifying gaps and planning for skill development or recruitment to fill these gaps.

Assign Roles Based on Strengths

Assigning roles based on individual strengths ensures that each team member can perform at their best. A retail industry manager I coached reallocated tasks based on this principle, leading to increased efficiency and job satisfaction within the team.

Provide Tailored Development Opportunities

Offering personalized development opportunities is key to addressing individual challenges. With a manufacturing firm leader, we implemented a development program where each team member received training tailored to their specific needs, enhancing their skills and confidence in areas where they were less strong.

Encourage Cross-Functional Collaboration

Promote collaboration between team members with different strengths. An e-commerce leader facilitated projects that required cross-functional teamwork, allowing members to learn from each other’s strengths and develop a more holistic skill set.

Set Up Mentorship and Coaching

Mentorship and coaching can help team members grow and overcome personal challenges. With the foundation from a strategic development plan that we created, a leader in the education sector paired team members with mentors who had complementary skills, facilitating knowledge transfer and personal development.

Regular Team Reviews and Feedback

Conducting regular reviews and providing constructive feedback is essential. A services industry executive I worked with held quarterly performance reviews, focusing on individual contributions as well as team dynamics. This ongoing feedback helped in continuously aligning team efforts with organizational goals.

Recognize and Celebrate Diverse Contributions

Acknowledging and celebrating the diverse contributions of team members is vital for morale. A non-profit leader implemented a recognition program that highlighted various types of achievements, from creative problem-solving to leadership and technical skills.

Building a balanced team where each individual's strengths are leveraged and challenges are addressed involves thorough assessments, fostering open communication, utilizing skill mapping, assigning roles based on strengths, providing tailored development opportunities, encouraging cross-functional collaboration, setting up mentorship, conducting regular reviews, and recognizing diverse contributions.

As a leader, understanding and strategically aligning these individual attributes can transform a group of individuals into a cohesive, high-performing team. If you would like to know more, feel free to reach out to our team at HAMILTON THERRELL Executive Advisors for a confidential dialogue.

Ulrika Gustafson LL.M PCC is a Certified Executive Coach, former C-suite leader and partner of HAMILTON THERRELL Executive Advisors, an international advisory group of experts in leadership and organizational transformation. She advises CEOs and coaches senior executives on succeeding in demanding environments.


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