Opinions of contributing entrepreneurs are their own.
Business leaders young and old face the same problem: how to form a solid team that will work hard to drive the company’s success. Whether it’s a new business or an established one, the people you recruit are critical to your survival. If you select them strategically and consciously, your company should in theory be stronger and more prosperous. But what exactly does that mean? In my case, it means surrounding myself with people who have different skills than I do – a strategy I highly recommend in any type of business.
There is no place for ego in business
From an early age (and without knowing it), I started to form a habit of surrounding myself with people with different skills. In high school, I worked at Dunkin’ Donuts from six in the morning until noon on weekends. It was a hectic shift, but I loved it because it went fast and there were a lot of hands on deck. I usually worked with one other person at the window, and I always chose a partner who had a strength I didn’t. At this particular Dunkin’ Donuts, there was no intercom before you got to the window, so all orders were taken at the window. I was very good at remembering orders and fulfilling them quickly, so I always worked with someone who was good with money, as I wasn’t as quick at changing money as some of my colleagues.
Fast-forward to when I was in college. We had a lot of team projects and I would take a similar approach to choosing my group. I would work with people who were better writers and not great at presenting, strategizing, organizing or thinking big.
I have carried this habit into my career and it is what makes my relationship with my business partner so solid. He and I have the same ethics, values and philosophies, but our strengths are very different. He is more analytical and methodical. I am more creative and strategic. He digs into the finer details, while I tend to focus on the big picture. We trust each other and are open about our strengths and weaknesses. Neither of us is shy about what we need. We leave our egos out, and that can be a problem for so many leaders who find it hard to admit they are weak in certain areas. So instead of asking for help, they “fake it until they make it.” I’ve never been the type of person to do that because I recognized early on that pretending to be good at everything will only lead to disaster.
Related: 6 steps for hiring the right people to build effective teams
You never want to be the smartest person in the room
It may be a cliché, but it’s good advice. Looking for people who know more than you enriches your own experience. When my partner and I started our marketing agency, we made it a point to hire people with specific strengths and surround ourselves with people who are smarter than us. Some leaders are intimidated by people who may be more able or knowledgeable than they are, and their egos just won’t allow them to see the benefit of having friends and colleagues who can contribute more than themselves. We actually seek out these people and we are open about our goals and why we want to add them to our team.
I specifically hire people to poke holes in my strategies. I need people with different skills to make me and the agency better. This benefits our customers and ultimately our business because we never have to fake anything.
Taking advantage of the knowledge and skills of others is not a weakness – it’s a strength. Your customers will see better results and be more satisfied with the products and services you provide. Your business will build a reputation for being trustworthy and reliable, which can be a rarity in today’s environment. Your team will be closer and willing to work together because every member knows where they fit in and why they are valuable. In general, having a team of people with different skills and knowledge is a winning strategy for everyone.
Related: Want to Build a Great Team? Never be the smartest person in the room
Shreya has been with todaybusinessupdates.com for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider todaybusinessupdates.com team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.